on Wednesday announced the release of a new version of its software to enable Intel-based Macs to play games originally made for the arcade and video game consoles.
GameTap is an online service that lets you play, in emulation, games originally made for coin-op video game arcades and consoles. The service originally came out with a “Lite” player earlier this year that let Mac gamers play a limited number of titles that were available for free play via an ad-supported model.
This announcement marks the release of an expanded player that provides Mac users with an expanded library, if they choose to go with GameTap’s “Gold” service, which incurs a subscription fee starting at $9.95 per month. Users don’t have to pay anything, however — the free version remains available, which lets players play up to about 50 games per month (the selection changes periodically).
The updated player software is faster and lighter, according to GameTap, launches more quickly and features a reworked interface to make it easier for users to search for and play games. Updated community features enable users to find, talk to and play with friends online using the “Buddy Hub.”
The expanded “Gold” features provide Mac users with access to additional games they didn’t have before, including GameTap’s selection of titles originally developed to run on Sega’s Saturn and Dreamcast video game consoles — Crazy Taxi for Dreamcast, for example, and Saturn’s Panzer Dragoon.
GameTap hired TransGaming to manage the Macintosh deployment of their software, so GameTap runs on the Mac using Cider, a translation layer technology which lets Windows software run on the Mac. As a result, GameTap is limited for use on Intel-based Macs, but it will run on MacBooks and Mac minis — Macs that have Intel integrated graphics chips. This is a bit of a departure from most Cider projects, most of which require a discrete graphics chip.
While the new GameTap Mac release brings many new games to the Mac, it’s not on perfect parity with the Windows client for GameTap. That product also enables GameTap player to play games designed for Windows PCs — that component is, at this stage, not available to Mac users.