Playground Battles, Playground Wars

March 03, 2006

The minds at Penny-Arcade have a new comic dealing with their newfound feelings at having switched to the flamboyant Apple lifestyle. While they joke about the dangerous path they have set down, I saw the announcement that the two authors of the comic were switching to Macs from PCs to be groundbreaking, and a signal of a big victory for Apple in general.

Here’s some background. Penny-Arcade is the most widely read webcomic around, and they primarily deal with the topic of video games. They have a rabidly fanatical fanbase, and are treated by video game manufacturers as journalists; they have access to sneak previews of new games and consoles, they have been commissioned to make supplementary material for big video games such as Rainbow 6 and World of Warcraft. In addition to this, they have traditionally had a strict anti-Mac attitude; a character in their strip Charles, is typically ridiculed for his love of the Mac platform in general. This has made sense, as they are gamers, and there are… exactly one game (s) available for the Mac that are worth a crap. So I was pretty surprised when they announced over a month ago that they were both looking into buying Apple machines, spurred by the switch to the Intel processors. Though as a Mac fanatic, I am pretty happy about this, it had me a little confused. The switch to the Intel platform has very little impact on the immediate availability of games for the Mac. In fact, due to Rosetta issues, there are reports that some games that worked on old Macs will not work or will run slower on the faster powered Intel Macs.

So… These people were unconvinced by Apple’s switch to BSD, they were unconvinced by Ellen Feiss, and they were unconvinced by Tiger. Why switch now, when nothing has changed from their perspective? How could two users so defiantly anti-switch be swayed by a change of architecture, and the announcement of minor improvements to the basic hardware that they offered before? I have a theory, natch.


Written by Will who lives and works in New York. You should follow him on Twitter.