I was looking at this question today:

Can I play Vindictus on Mac?

And I remembered several other questions like it:

What's the best way to run PC games like RCT3 on a Mac?

Can I run PC steam games on a Mac?

Windows Steam games on a Mac with WINE?

Can I play games made for Windows on a Mac?


Having gamed on a Mac for several years, there's a standard stable of answers (ie, virtual machine, Boot Camp, emulator (wine/dosbox)) to this class of questions. I was thinking it might make sense if I put together a sort of authoritative "these are the options for playing non-mac games on a mac, and the benefits/drawbacks/requirements of each" type answer, but I'm not sure if:

  • Is this a good idea? (Is there something that already solves this problem that I should be referencing instead? Is this type of thing considered on-topic for the site? Would providing a generic answer to this class of questions be helpful, or is the impression that every game deserves it's own "How do I overcome the specific challenges of playing Windows game Y on OSX?")
  • How should I go about doing it? (Answer one of the existing questions? Ask and answer a new one?)
  • What other things am I not thinking of? (Because I am frequently a moron.)

So I am here to seek community input :)


3 Answers 3


The lot of it should be answered by the question entitled Can Mac OS play Windows games?. I would recommend putting your hefty answer there. You might also consider editing the question body to explicitly state your given question "How do I play Windows games on a Mac?", as that's within the intent of the original author while giving us a better hit for that particular search term.

Unfortunately, the author of that question has left, but if we can get a superb answer there, the votes will overcome the lack of acceptance by far.

  • Agreed. If the consensus is that it's worth doing, I will implement this solution. Thank you once again for your consistently high-quality input.
    – agent86
    Jan 12, 2012 at 18:30
  • Would it be wise to close all the other existing questions as duplicates of Can Mac OS play Windows games?
    – fredley
    Jan 13, 2012 at 12:03
  • 1
    @fredley Not necessarily
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jan 13, 2012 at 12:42

I've taken the feedback here and produced a draft answer:


Please review it and let me know where you think improvements should be made.

  • Looking good: seems to alleviate my concerns.
    – user3389
    Jan 13, 2012 at 20:15

Having a nice canonical Q&A pair for most "How can I play X on OS X?" is good, but we do need to be careful to not be overzealous with closing every question that sounds similar as a duplicate to it.

For one, a great many games are now playable on a Mac via various distribution channels like Steam and the Mac App Store, and a great many self-published indie games (not to mention AAA publishers like Activision Blizzard and EA/BioWare) offer Mac versions directly (e.g. Minecraft, Dragon Age, StarCraft II). Telling people they should use a virtual machine or run these games via Wine is hostile and disingenuous.

And for two, there are a number of Windows-only games that don't require Wine or a virtual machine to play: for example, Terraria can be run via a MonoGame wrapper.

Basically, I'm concerned with people who don't understand the Mac gaming scene (and generally write it off) deciding that any time someone wants to play a game on Mac, the correct answer is a glorified or dressed up version of "lol noob Macs aren't for games use Windows."

  • 2
    +1, I think there are enough corner cases here that we should be very very very careful about flagging things as duplicates in this category. While it's good to have the general rules of thumb covered with Good Canonical Answers (How to Use Boot Camp. Best Practices for Playing Games via Parallels. How to Use WINE. etc.), it isn't an excuse to simply get rid of future questions in this category. Jan 12, 2012 at 22:46
  • I agree with these statements and do not endorse closing all questions as a dupe of this one. However, I'd like to consolidate the "use WINE"/"use boot camp"/"use VM software" answers in one place, that we can use as a reference.
    – agent86
    Jan 13, 2012 at 0:51
  • A very strong and important point you've made.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jan 13, 2012 at 12:43
  • I don't follow. "How can I play a <game X that has a Mac version> on a Mac?" is a perfect example of a basic and useless question from someone who didn't do their research. It's like asking how to play Halo on Windows. It shouldn't be closed as a dupe, no, but I also don't see that happening. I also see no reason to believe that the canonical answer shouldn't include MonoGame. Jan 13, 2012 at 19:05
  • @MatthewRead A great many "How can I play X on a Mac?" would not be served by people who have no understanding of the Mac gaming scene directing everyone who asks about to an answer that says "use a virtual machine, boot camp, or Windows." I want to prevent Q&A pairs, or duplicate chains, like this crappy one asked and answered by two people who have no idea that WarCraft III is cross-platform out of the box.
    – user3389
    Jan 13, 2012 at 19:16
  • That question and those like it should be closed, IMO. The answer "It's cross-platform" is the polite way of saying "You're an idiot, either read the box or learn to use Google". It's better off as a comment before voting to close as too basic. As such, I don't think those questions matter here. It's a given that those ignorant of X shouldn't be voting to close question about X if they meet the criteria in the FAQ, whether X is "the Mac gaming scene" or not. Can't do anything about people without common sense. Jan 13, 2012 at 20:08
  • @MatthewRead Fair enough, but that's not the argument being presented in this meta question, which is that we should have a canonical Q&A pair so we can point people who ask such questions to it. If they should all be closed, fine, let's close them all: that'd be preferable than having people who don't know what they're talking about pointing every person who asks "How can I play X on Mac?" to an answer about virtual machines and WINE. Wrong and misleading answers are worse than no answers.
    – user3389
    Jan 13, 2012 at 20:11
  • Yeah, I just don't think we need to worry about overzealousness. Perhaps that's my Windows-gamer bias :P Jan 13, 2012 at 20:17

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