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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Windows gaming on Linux & Macs made easy

Sure, it's handy being able to run Internet Explorer or Microsoft Office on Linux or the Mac thanks to WINE and Crossover Linux and Mac, but you know what's even cooler? Running WoW (World of Warcraft) or Guild Wars on them.

That's why I'm really pleased to see that CrossOver, the company behind WINE, the programs that lets you run Windows programs on Linux and Mac OS, has just released new editions of CrossOver Games for Mac and Linux, version 7.2.0.

At first, you might think, "Are they kidding, you can't run -- seriously run -- a demanding Windows game on Linux or the Mac." You'd be wrong.

I'm not much of a game player, but I'm a hardcore player vs. player gamer in Guild Wars-look for level 7 gladiator characters in Team Arenas with 'Totten' as part of their name-and it works great. Let me put it this way, if I couldn't kick rump and take names just as well while running Guild Wars with CrossOver on Linux as I do on native Windows, I wouldn't be running it. I like winning more than I do operating systems.

The major new feature in this version is that it now supports Spore. Spore, I'm told, is a popular, single-player game where you evolve your species from one-cell organism to interstellar empire builder.

This edition comes with a lot of improvements. The overall effect is to improve speed and stability. That's especially true if you're running Steam-powered games. The most noticeable upgrades are in CrossOver Game's DirectX support. I see a lot fewer artifacts now than I used to.

If you're already a Crossover customer with an active subscription, you can just download the new version. You haven't tried it? You can get a full-featured trial version that will run for seven days. If you like it, you can buy a license for either Mac or Linux for $39.95. I think it's worth the cash, but, with a seven-day trial, you can decide for yourself.

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