Monday, May 10, 2010

Crossover Games

I own an Imac so that means my gaming choices are limited. Since Apple has switched to Intel chips, it is possible for most games to be ported via a wrapper program that mimics a Windows environment. Yes, of course if gaming is that important to a computer user they could use the Bootcamp program and then load in Windows. And I've thought about doing that, and I may still become a bootcamper. However right now, I don't want to drop upwards of $200 for the Windows system.

On Massively, a commentator mentioned that he/she played Lord of the Rings Online via a wrapper program called Crossover Games. That idea intrigued me so I looked into the software. The Crossover suite of programs are offered by CodeWeavers. These programs mimic Windows using a wrapper based on the open source Wine project.

Crossover games is the "official" version of the Wine opensource project. It is affordable at $39.95 (the fee supports the Wine opensource programmers) and the installation is simple. What isn't simple is getting the subsequent windows games to work properly. Since this option is rather arcane no matter how easy Codeweavers has made it, you will probably need to know a little something about programming to get anything working.

To use Crossover Games, the user must create a mini-windows shell called a bottle. You can pick which flavor of windows you want this bottle to mimic (vista, winxp, 98, 2000). A bottle must be created for each game you want to play. Then you can load the games into the bottle via disc or downloads. Theoretically, it should be easy.

However I could get nothing to work with it. The LOTR instructions were easy however the program doesn't recognize the official game install file. I tried to download the free to play Uru Online. The installation progress was successful. However the site registration is no longer available so I can't log in to the program. As a lark I also tried to install Blue Mars. However there was an error that had something to do with the install aware program. I was at wit's end and wondered if I could use the software for anything. Finally I managed to see the program in action with the game Wizard 101(review later). And I can say that Crossover works very well for what it is.

This solution is very ad hoc and is in no way a substitute for Mac Bootcamp. But if you can't afford to spring for the Windows software at the moment, this program will do for the time being. I recommend it.
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