How to Tell When a Game Has Been Optimised for M1 Macs

How to Tell When a Game Has Been Optimised for M1 Macs
Photo: Jake Peterson

Apple’s M1 Macs are fast. It’s not just the hardware that’s responsible for that performance, however — part of that speed comes when apps have been properly optimised for Apple silicon. If you want the best gaming experience on your M1 iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or Mac mini, you need to know which titles are designed to take full advantage of the tech.

We’ve covered how to check if the apps on your Mac are M1 optimised. We’ve also covered how to check if popular apps are designed for Apple silicon. This time, the focus is really on gaming. That’s not something that the Mac is really known for, but if Apple’s computer is the only hardware you have, you likely want to know how best to game on it.

How to find out which games are M1-native

Enter AppleGamingWiki. This convenient wiki compiles all the games that can run on your Mac right now. It lists titles from The Sims 3 to The Witcher 3, and from Tomb Raider to Terraria. As of this writing, there are 792 games listed, 678 of which are at least playable on your M1 Mac.

But beyond just being “playable,” AppleGamingWiki also breaks down how well each title performs on M1. Categories range from “Perfect,” “Playable,” “Runs,” “Menu” (in which only the menu can run), and “Unplayable.” “Perfect” is the ideal, obviously, while “Playable” should give you enough performance to enjoy the game.

More than just M1 titles are listed here, since only 32 games are M1-native. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, well, it isn’t. Like we said, the Mac really isn’t a gaming platform. Hopefully that will change as Apple continues to develop Apple silicon, but, for now, the titles native to M1 remains rare beasts.

In the interim, AppleGamingWiki’s list breaks down the performance of games that are designed for Intel chips, which need to be run through the Mac’s Rosetta 2 emulation. You’ll also see iOS and iPadOS games listed here that can be played through macOS Big Sur, as well as any Windows titles run through CrossOver or Parallels software. You should find just about any game you could theoretically run on your M1 Mac, in fact, along with information about how playable it is.

By default, the website shows you the master list of games that run on M1, but you can filter that list to you liking. Under “All lists,” choose from any of the categories provided to see just those games. For example, you can click “List of Apple Arcade Games” to see all six Apple Arcade titles that can run on your M1 machine.

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