Parallels, Vista and gaming on a Mac

Halo 2I picked up a copy of Parallels a couple of weeks ago at the Apple Store up in Buffalo at Walden Galleria, so that I could play my PC games when I go left for Christmas. I was excited about getting Vista up and running and playing Halo 2 against my bro. The excitement soon faded into pure, unadulterated disappointment.

Parallels was a walk in the park to get running, no problems at all save one – it didn’t play nice with ShapeShifter, so I ignored this app and don’t skin it. After that, it was running in no time. This didn’t really come as a shocker, since ShapeShifter doesn’t play nice with other apps; like iTunes for one. Any way, I get Vista installed, updated and churning right along. Halo 2 went onto the machine just as easy and I had no problems during install. The specs wizrds tossed out a couple of warnings, but I forged ahead. This is where the good feelings get gone.

Right off the bat Halo will not run. At all. Nothing. Initially I figured it was a Direct X thing, and checked around and saw some posts saying that Parallels supports only DX 8.x, but that’s not true – after running dxdiag, I discover I have version 10 installed. Some additional poking around leads me to the answer in that Parallels doesn’t support the 3D video drivers the same way that they are supported natively, and they have their own special video driver. This is what kills me. I can run Quake II Arena, but nothing else so far. I have tried Delta Force Xtreme, and it bombs out saying the video driver is incompatible. So I tried an older version of Delta Force; Black Hawk Down and it won’t start either; even though it only requires Direct X 8. So I figure it might be Vista, and since I can’t run Halo 2 any way – I ace the Virtual HD for Vista and now I am installing XP Pro. Right now in fact.

Games are always a real pain in the jar – especially when you are using them outside of the normal scope of how they were developed. What’s weird though is the Quake II runs perfectly…. So I figure that XP surely can’t be any worse, and in fact will certainly run leaner and meaner on my MacBook Pro than Vista. I have heard tell of folks running Halo 2 on XP Pro with Direct X 9 too – so who knows, I may still get there….

Worse comes to worse, I have Halo for Mac – so I can tool my bro in that for a while before it gets old…..