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Apple plays along.

Mac enthusiasts can point to a number of Apple attributes that they feel trounce Wintel machines: better graphics, more intuitive navigation, and funky design. However, not even the most rabid Apple fan would claim to prefer the games of Cupertino over Redmond. Apple, ever the fighter, isn’t ready to let this line of thinking persist forever. Although it has a long way to go to catch up, the company is trying to make up ground by continually inspiring new games.

No need to wait for the next World Cup final if you have “Kick Off 2002” from Freeverse Software, available for OS 9 or X. The virtual soccer teams are based on their real-life counterparts from around the world. At higher difficulty levels, there are options for changing the weather, where the ball doesn’t move as easily on wet grass, or toying with a player’s ball-handling skills. Not happy with Argentina’s line-up? Design your own team, or download squads created by others from the “Kick Off” fan site.

You can be an army of one with multiplayer game “WWII Online” from Strategy First, available for OS X only. Hosted online by Playnet, the online game brings together players from all corners of the Web to reenact the war, beginning with the 1940 Blitzkrieg. Gamers can pick either the Axis or Allied side and choose from several roles, including infantryman, tank commander, boat captain, and pilot.

If Axis vs. Allied isn’t as exciting as Rebels vs. Imperials, Aspyr Media is now offering an expansion pack for its “Star Wars: Galactic Battleground” game. Dubbed the Clone Campaigns, the expanded game offers two new factions, new combat units and planets, and other gameplay enhancements. The new campaign’s storyline occurs after the events in the movie “Attack of the Clones,” and you can choose the side of either spooky Sith Lord Count Dooku or the hippest Jedi of them all, Mace Windu. The game works on OS 9 or X, and requires the full version of “Galactic Battleground” to play.

If you’d rather fight magic firestorms than escape a hail of bullets or blasts, 3DO offers “Heroes of Might” and “Magic IV” for OS X. Rife with the stuff of fantasy like black dragons, armies of monsters, and women with very tight chain-mail armor, the game pits good versus evil in a variety of terrains. This newest version features an overhauled graphics engine that provides an isometric, bird’s-eye view of each landscape. It also has editing tools that let you design your own campaign and quests. Fare thee well, young knight.

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