When I saw this topic, I thought it's some kind of comedy thread.
People here are SERIOUS when they say a Macintosh version is better? Really?
I have played quite many versions of many of those games on the list, and I would say it's at least _HIGHLY_ (!) debatable, whether Mac versions of some of those games, like the 'Prince of Persia' games are better or not, or often, even on par.
Just because Mac has 'naturally higher resolution' doesn't make the game itself better. Someone mentioned some 'scaling filters' that can be applied, but that also does NOT make a game better.
Furthermore, if you really think a game is better on a given platform, surely you can easily write some REASONS and back up your pretty blanket-statement-like claim and not just write a list. I could write a list of all the games that are better on the C64 than Arcade, Amiga, Atari or any other platform, and just leave it at that, but don't you think there would, and indeed SHOULD be a bit of debate or at least conversation about it on a, I don't know, discussion forum? Maybe?
Prince of Persia's Mac version doesn't strike me as all that impressive. The higher-resolution stuff on Mac was often done in a 'cheating' way anyway - they left a lot of 'low res graphics chunks' thinking no one will notice, they upscaled from the lores instead of re-doing the graphics for hires, they used dithering to mask the fact they're actually lores graphics and so on.
Especially a game like Prince of Persia has so many versions made, it might be the 'most cloned game ever'. This means that no matter how good you think the Mac version is, there's bound to be a better version somewhere.
For example, Atari ST version added some kind of visuals, so it's 'better' than the Amiga version. But is it, really? Macintosh version didn't even add that color, and in fact, it REMOVED color by making the stones more uniform and less colorful, removing the atmospheric blue and the contrast between the shades, so now it looks more pale and flat.
The other point is, everything is suddenly cartoony, with a black line around everything, even the torches on the wall! Also, they 'redrew' everything, so the original style is gone, and the torches look like they're made out of glass, which is not only unrealistic, but distracting and uglier in my opinion.
The background bricks meant to create an illusion of a brick wall with only showing a few spots of bricks have weirdly shiny bricks, which is also distracting and ugly to my eye. The original has more uniform shade, which fits better.
What kind of sense does it make that a prisoner would have luxurious-looking clothes like a blue turban and that expensive-looking shirt? The original graphics make more sense.
I am only saying all this to point out that you can't just slap 'high resolution' and call it better. You would have to DEFINE what 'better' means. You could mean gameplay, you could mean 'experience', you could mean just visuals (and then it becomes highly debatable again, because gameplay should be king, shouldn't it?) and so on.
Look at Super Famicom's version of this game for an interesting example of 'lower resolution but generally considered a better experience'. It's more colorful, it has more interesting level design, it has less dull 'monotonous brick wall' asethetic, and it has different story and ground textures and such. It would be perfectly logical to call _THAT_ version the best, so 'better on a Macintosh' (better than where? Again, not defined) doesn't make sense and is just wrong.
Sure, if you enjoy 'cartoonified higher resolution', if you enjoy this type of 'improvements', you are free to think the Mac version is better, but don't think it won't be debatable, because there are other thing to consider. The lower-resolution versions actually do look more realistic, because they're not a big cartoon.
As a sidenote, why DO so many people make things 'cartoony' when they get the opportunity to raise the resolution? The same thing was done a long time ago with Worms. The original (and perhaps the best version of that game being the 'AGA Director's Cut', because it contains everything possible, and in the most luxuriously glorious graphics ever with AGA's color amount and beauty, plus the smooth, sub-pixel scrolling that Amigas can do - see, I at least explain my viewpoint when I call something the best) looks cool and cute at the same time, without being cartoonish.
When I heard there's going to be a higher-resolution version of this game, I was excited, imagining the same as Worms (or the AGA Director's Cut), but in higher resolution! To see this hand-crafted, talented pixel-magic done in a higher resolution - well, you don't often see that (not even in Mac games, sorry to say), so it was really exciting.... until I saw what they did.
You don't even have to guess, you know - they presented us NOT with the beautiful results of some talented artists' midnight oil, but some easily-done cartoon crap with thick black outlines and no artistic value whatsoever.
I am not saying Mac version of Prince of Persia has no artistic value whatsoever (it does), but I am saying there's -something- similar about them doing this. Some people just can't raise the resolution without making everything outlined, without creating a 'cartoon-look' for some reason. It's a pity, as what could have been done would've been... well, we'll never know.
I wouldn't call The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge particularly 'better', either. I don't think 'how you load a game' has anything to do with what game actually is better. It's easy to load all these games on DOSBOx or even real DOS PC (I have done both without any hassle), it doesn't require that much configuring. Try loading these Mac versions on a real Amiga, you need a dedicated harddrive partition, at least 030@50MHz (preferrably something faster), lots and LOTS of configuration and tinkering, all kinds of cumbersome file transfering...
.. is typing XMS=TRUE really that much MORE of a hassle than what I just described?
You can always find difficulties in configuring or running things, emulating a Mac is just much of a hassle than running games on a real DOS PC. If you have the right hardware and know what you are doing, it's really not a problem at all.
We can also talk about music, sound effects and such, and while I do value samples and such things for sound effects, as basically a sample means 'unlimited sound', I do think something charming is lost when analog, live synth, or other live sound (play Falcon Patrol I and II on a real C64 to hear what I mean) is abandoned in favor of samples. General Midi music sounds a bit 'dead' to my ears compared to, let's say OPL3 or even some OPL2 compositions that 'try to sound like an instrument' - there's an incredible charm in a live sound that never ends but constantly changes, or an instrument that tries to sound like a real one but doesn't quite sound like a real instrument. It's like someone beatboxing - no way would anyone confuse a beatboxer with real drums, but it sounds charmingly similar.
It would be boring if a beaboxer could produce 100% replications of some drum samples and then just repeat those forever.
So for these (and some other) reasons, I consider Mac versions 'colder', as they don't have 'live sound' but are always sample-based music, MIDI or otherwise. It can sound good, it can sound pleasant, but if we play Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, to my ear, those funky Yamaha synthsounds just sound that much more charming, cozy, pleasanta nd inspirational than just sampled actual instruments playing the same songs. Something crafted, something artistic, something quirky and uplifting is lost for 'clear, realistic mundaneity' - it's like replacing a beautiful victorian mansion with a dull office block. Sure, it's still functional and you can still live in it, but it's just not the same.
When we consider 'better', we must consider everything I wrote in this post, and more, if we're to be honest about it.
And in doing so, I don't think any rational people that do not have some weird nostalgy or emotions tied to Macintoshes, would agree with the list, or even the concept that Mac versions are better, without some really good explanations at least.
So you have more freedom to resize a window in some game? That could be a good argument, but I am not sure it would make the game better for everyone - maybe some people prefer the more easy-to-handle window with smaller amount of information to take in at any given moment.
So the resolution is higher in some game? Is it REALLY? Did they keep the art intact, while adding resolution, or did they just scale or cartoonify it in some way?
Some time ago, I was under the impression that old monochrome Mac games were always done properly in high resolution, and imagining how wonderful those high-resolution monochrome titlescreen must look, I went for a Mobygames titlescreen hunt to see as many of them as possible. I did find a few nicely done, high-resolution title card pictures, but most of them 'cheated' somehow; they were either upscaled, dithered to a mess, or something similar. All kinds of gimmicks were used instead of doing a proper high-resolution screen. I was very disappointed.
I think this is true for at least MOST games on that list and overall. They did a Mac port knowing they have to accommodate for the higher resolution. Now, did the artists really feel like recreating their possibly hundreds of screens of hard-to-draw pixel art from scratch? Probably not. So what Mac mostly got was exactly these 'cheating' techniques - upscaling, dithering, changing parts for easier scaling and so on. Perhaps they drew some parts in high resolution, but left others in low resolution, a bit like the Arcade version of the really old "Popeye" game that looks almost identical on the C64, at least when it comes to the backgrounds. That version only uses high-resolution sprites.
I would consider a game better, if the GAMEPLAY is improved, if there's something signifigantly better in the game itself. Perhaps more rooms to explore, perhaps more fluid movement, perhaps faster screen changes, perhaps less loading, and so on. Gameplay is hard to define, though, and some of these things sound more like 'GUI' features than actual game being better.
Considering everything I have said so far, can we really just blindly accept the claim that 'Mac versions are better, here is a list of games', or should we actually inspect every game and do the comparisons taking everything into consideration?
If we did, I am sure we would be left with less than a handful of games, and even there, the 'betterness' might be somewhat debated - perhaps the game is better in one way, while being worse in another. I'd rather play DOTT on a DOS PC than a Mac, despite the upscaling effects and the crappy GM musics. Wolfenstein 3D seems more exciting to play on the Macintosh, because the musics are completely different, more energetic, more exciting, and yet, more orchestral and movielike. If I remember correctly, the higher resolution guns also look a bit better.
It's not so easy to define 'better', and even then, you would have to define what you mean by it, and many times, something is not 'completely better', but only 'different in parts' that someone might like better, others might not.
So please be careful with this kind of blanket statements; a game is rarely just 'better', it's often 'partially better', and even that can be debatable.
In my opinion, there's SO few games that are in ANY signifigant way 'better' than other versions (I'd rather play Prince of Persia on Super Famicom than on Mac despite the resolution stuff), and even those can be debated so much, that this kind of thread shouldn't even be able to exist, if people have any sense.
Upscaled graphics or crappy GM music does not make a better game (on the contrary, someone artistically creating pixel beauty in lores can look so much better than coldly upscaled or someone else making their flatter and crappier, but higher-resolution versions of those graphics, just for example). Also, lower resolution can look better sometimes, it can look more charming, it can fit the game's feeling or style better and so on. Sometimes the Commodore 64's low-resolution visuals have a magic to them that Amiga's higher-resolution versions fail to reproduce. Look at the crappy Epyx conversions - even the relatively good 'Winter Games' just doesn't look as good, and how about Wizball or Hawkeye? Maybe Hawkeye is the best possible example - there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the graphics on the Amiga side, but they leave you cold compared to the beauty of the C64 ones.
To my eye, 160x200 or 160x240 can look much better, because for some reason, my eye loves the shape and even size of those old, bricklike pixels, where square is a more boring shape, and higher resolution is RARELY hand-pixelled as much and as beautifully as all the lores-art my eye has seen.
So when we talk about Mac versions, WHAT is actually better? Resolution has been dealt with, music has been dealt with, so what is left?
Gameplay being better because you can resize the screen to be bigger? Sure, I can give you that. Of course the Amiga version of Colonization is fully multitasking and system-friendly, just to mention another similar point about this type of games, to point out things that could be better about a game version.
What else do Mac versions have that PC versions don't?
'Easier to load' (if you have the right drivers, system version, have been able to configure your Mac or emulation properly, have the right expansion card for the supported music, like the Mockingboard or whatevert it was, etc. etc..., and still you don't have proper joystick or two button-mouse, or, or, or.. and you have to stare at that WHITE BAR all the time that can get annoying at night when your eyes get tired of being radiated with the bright, white bar all the time..not to mention other white bits Mac forces you to stare at without a way to get rid of it)?
'Higher resolution' (upscaled or cartoon crap mostly - upscaled with filter is worse than honest fullscreen lores in my opinion)
'GM MIDI musics' (lack of live synth sound is a big minus in my book)
What else? Crickets?
Games that are better on Macintosh? I don't think so.