10 Best Games for MacBook Air/iMac M1 (2021)

Apple computers are not necessarily known for their gaming prowess. However, that is about to change. Many people have spent the last few months talking about the business applications of Apple’s M1 laptops. 

They haven’t stopped to consider the fact that the M1 chip will also turn Apple’s laptops into decent gaming machines. But what kinds of games can you expect to play on Apple’s M1 chip. Well, the list is far longer than you think. It includes:

List of Best Games to Play on MacBook Air, iMac M1

Borderlands 2

1. Borderlands 2

If you want to get the most out of Borderlands 2, you should download the game from the Epic Games Store. The stories surrounding the Steam editions are not promising.

Borderlands 2 is an immensely popular game renowned for its explosive action and comedy. The characters are wacky and the players have a variety of customization options. 

System Requirements

  • Processor: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Dual-Core) and M1
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • HDD: 13 GB
  • Video Memory: 256 MB
  • Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 2600 / NVidia Geforce 8800/ Intel HD 3000

2. Fortnite

Fortnite is one of the first games that most people will download when they acquire their first M1 laptop. After all, it is one of the biggest games in the world. 

People that have tested the game say that it performs quite well on the M1 chip. You can raise the resolution to 2048 x 1280 without facing any significant challenges. A lower resolution will allow you to play at 80 FPS. Some people complained that the game occasionally froze. But the occurrence was rare. 

System Requirements

  • Video Card: Intel HD 4000 on PC or Intel Iris Pro 5200 or equivalent AMD GPU on Mac
  • Processor: Core i3-3225 3.3 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • OS: Windows 7/8/10 64-bit or Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6

Related: How to play PUBG mobile on PC Windows/macOS (2021)

 Cities: Skylines

3. Cities: Skylines

This is the perfect city builder for anyone with a lot of time on their hands. It is far more taxing than people realize. Gamers are expected to build the perfect city.

That means insert amenities like public transport. No one expects this title to present a challenge for the M1 chip. You can expect a smooth performance. 

System Requirements

  • OS: OS X 10.11 (64-bit)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo, 3.0GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: nVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, 512 MB or ATI Radeon HD 5670, 512 MB (Does not support Intel Integrated Graphics Cards)
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
Shadow of the Tomb Raider

4. Shadow of the Tomb Raider

If you have neither the interest nor the patience for smaller, simpler games, and you’re determined to put the M1 chip to the test with a big AAA game, you should experiment with Shadow of the Tomb Raider. You can run it at resolutions as high as 1920 x 1200. It won’t disappoint.

A sequel to ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the final entry in a trilogy that began in 2013. It follows the adventures of Lara Croft as she begins her search for the legendary city of Paititi. Along the way, she takes on a paramilitary organization. 

System Requirements

  • OS: macOS 10.15
  • Processor: 2GHz Intel Core i5
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 2GB AMD Radeon R9 M290 or better, 1.5GB Intel Iris 540 or better
  • Storage: 40 GB available space

5. Civilization VI

Civilization VI

Civilization VI doesn’t want players to build cities. It expects gamers to conquer the world. But it isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. You have the option of using diplomacy to win the hearts and minds of your detractors or forcing the world to surrender to your military might.

The game allows players to explore unique cultures, traditions, and philosophies, and it will work beautifully on the M1 chip. 

System Requirements

  • OS: 10.12.6 (Sierra)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2.7Ghz
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1 GB GPU Minimum – GeForce 775M | Radeon HD 6970 | Intel Iris Pro
  • Storage: 15 GB available space
Dota 2

6. Dota 2

Dota2 plays very well on M1 laptops. The people that have tested it concluded that it was one of the smoothest games they had played on an M1 laptop. It was as glitch-free as they come, capable of booting without any issues and closing without complications. 

It doesn’t freeze during gameplay or shut down randomly. Gaming sessions in higher resolutions were just as impressive. The game can consistently sustain 60FPS. Admittedly, it isn’t the first game that people think about when the incredible performance of the M1 chip is mentioned. But it has a multitude of fans that will appreciate the fact that it can work on Apple’s M1 laptops.

System Requirements

  • OS: OS X Mavericks 10.9 or newer
  • Processor: Dual core from Intel
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA 320M or higher, or Radeon HD 2400 or higher, or Intel HD 3000 or higher
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 15 GB available space
Divinity: Original Sin 2

7. Divinity: Original Sin 2

You can use Rosetta 2 on an M1 laptop to play this RPG. The game puts players in the shoes of a collection of misfits that are determined to attain godhood. Tactical combat is one of the game’s biggest draws, not to mention the expansive world.

You can spend hundreds of hours playing this RPG on an M1 laptop without getting bored. The opponents are challenging and the lore is surprisingly engaging.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra
  • Processor: Core i5
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: HD Graphics 5000 or Radeon R9 M290X
  • Storage: 20 GB available space
Empire of Sin

8. Empire of Sin

This is another game that you can play on an M1 laptop using Rosetta 2. The title, which you can find on Steam, allows players to inhabit the life of a mobster from the 1920s. The M1 chip is more than capable of contending with the rigors of running this game at 60 frames per second. 

The people that have played it on Apple’s machines haven’t reported any latency problems.

System Requirements

  • OS: High Sierra (MAC OS X 10.13.6) Metal required.
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-4690
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD® Radeon™ R9 M290X (2GB)
  • Storage: 10 GB available space
Football Manager

9. Football Manager

This game attracts people who think that they can manage their favorite soccer teams better than the experienced managers they see on TV every day. The game is as delightful as it is frustrating. You can choose a team to manage from one of several clubs from 52 different countries.

That gives you thousands, if not tens of thousands, of athletes to develop. Once your team is ready, you can prove your mettle by pitting them against other teams. 

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: 10.13.6, 10.14.6, 10.15.5, 11 – 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo – 1.8 GHz +
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel GMA X4500, NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT or AMD/ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 – 256MB VRAM macOS 10.14 and later requires Metal API: Version 1 macOS 10.13 requires OpenGL: Version 2.1
  • Storage: 7 GB available space
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

10. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor is somewhat complicated. On the one hand, the gameplay is quite smooth, even in the midst of combat. Lag and stutter are not problems here. However, the frame rate isn’t that high.

You can keep it at 60FPS in the beginning. But the moment the fighting begins, it will fall to 30 FPS. Nonetheless, the gameplay is still smooth. If the FPS decline doesn’t bother you, use Rosetta 2 to play Shadow of Mordor on your M1 laptop.

Related: Best Android Emulator for playing games on M1


The list of games that can work on the M1 chip is quite extensive. It includes World of Warcraft, Desperados III, Firewatch, and Subnautica, to mention but a few. 

It is worth noting that Apple’s M1 laptops are a new addition to their catalog. They are going to become more powerful with each passing year, which means that the issues surrounding titles like Shadow of Mordor will eventually fade. 

Apple has succeeded globally because it is always innovating. They won’t stop any time soon. Give enough time, the M1 laptop may become the device of choice for gamers around the world. 

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