I bitch about MacOS a lot, complaining about the rough edges in what is mostly a good product. But MacOS really is bad at one thing: desktop gaming. Some times I’m tempted to switch back to Windows just so I can play game. This week I was desperate to play Civilization: Beyond Earth before the Mac port is finished. So I booted my Bootcamp partition into Windows for the first time in two years.
Wow, what a terrible experience. Pretty much all the badness centers on software management, installs and upgrades. I was prepared for the initial thing to take forever; it was a two year old Windows 7 image, after all. Some 60+ updates and a few reboots later and all was set up. That wasn’t so bad really.
What was bad was installing software with Steam. In particular, the way you have to “install VC redist”. Steam makes the wise choice to require a separate install for every game, basically the 2014 solution to the 1995 problem of DLL hell. But the installers are fucking ridiculous. It takes 30+ seconds to do the install. What the hell is it doing? Copy a few files, maybe update a registry key or two, and you should be done. And for some reason I had to install like 15 of these for Steam the first time, then another 4 for Civ:BE.
The Bootcamp experience is not good either. The display drivers don’t work perfectly, for instance the sleep mode doesn’t shut the back light off. And I’m scared to try updating the 3 year old driver. You can’t use the vendor display driver, you have to use Apple’s, and all Apple ships is one giant install disc every once in awhile. Two, actually, you have to pick the release based on knowing what model iMac you own. Only iMac’s don’t have model numbers, so you have to remember the year you bought the thing instead.
Windows itself is still mostly, well, Windows. It’s funny how much I’m used to the Mac way of doing things now. I miss my menu bar. I can never tell if Chrome is running and just has no windows, or what. I even hacked the registry to enable reverse mouse wheel. And the stupid system is still prompting me for urgent reboots by switching me out of my full screen game, interrupting me with a popup dialog.