Gaming in Linux

Although I’m not a big gamer, I feel that I should write a post about gaming in Linux because that is one of the main reasons why people choose not to switch over from other operating systems.  Of course, this is not actually too much of a problem.  There is an excellent thing called WINE (which stands for ‘wine is not an emulator’) that acts as a windows compatibility layer for Linux computers.  This means that many games built for windows computers can actually be played on Linux as well.  Unfortunately, there are a few games that do not work or only work after lots of suffering and configuration-changing that seem to ruin Linux’s reputation as a platform for gaming.

Windows compatibility aside, there are a host of games that run natively on Linux.  Although they are not all as elaborate as the expensive PC games people buy, they are still fun and free.  I figure I’ll share a few of the games that I enjoy having around as well as a couple others that may hold some appeal.  First off, there is nethack.  Nethack is perhaps the original role-playing game.  It allows for expansive gameplay and hours of suffering (it is notorious for the infinitely many ways you can die).  It is played in the terminal and everything is represented by different characters, an indication of how old it is.  It has something of a learning curve getting started, but once you learn how to use it, nethack becomes one of the most fun and addicting games around.  Did I mention that if you die, you actually die?  Yup, no restoring save files without cheating (maybe I’ll briefly explain how to keep nethack progress in a later post, it’s rather simple).

Another game, and the one that most sources will designate as the best game available for Linux, is the Battle for Wesnoth.  This is a turn based RPG based in a fantasy world, but you can download many additional campaigns and themes, allowing for phenomenal replay value.  Another strategy game you could try is Freeciv, an excellent clone of civilization II (build an empire, conquer others, etc).  If you are a fan of shooter games, the US government (that’s right) has developed a game called America’s Army.  I’ve never played it, but I hear its pretty good.  It appears right behind Wesnoth on many top 10 linux game lists.  A more lighthearted RPG game is FreeDroidRPG, a game in which you play as a member of a penguin-esque species tasked with saving the world from evil robots.  The game is still under heavy development, but what they have so far allows for a couple hours of fun.

Some other notable linux games include SuperTux, a super mario bros imitation featuring tux, the linux penguin.  On that same theme there is Supertuxkart, a mario-cartish game featuring tux and his other open source mascot friends.  On a distinctly non-mario-poser line, there is LiquidWars, a unique game in which you control a big blob of what looks like colored sand, and you try to conquer all of the other sand.  It’s very difficult to explain, but quite a bit of fun to play, especially with friends.  Finally, Neverball and Neverputt are worth trying.  The first is a game in which you roll a ball and try to pick up coins without falling off a platform (like Mojo, if you ever played that on the PS2), and the second is a mini-golf game.

There are many, many more Linux games, but that’s all I have time for right now.  Granted, these are not quite as complex as some PC games, they are definitely satisfactory for me (I don’t play much video games, although I do keep an old PS1 attached to my desktop monitor for whenever I get bored).  If you are simply unwilling to begin using Linux but still want to try out the Linux games I’ve mentioned, don’t despair.  Most of these games are also available for windows and sometimes mac users as well.  Happy gaming!


2 Responses to “Gaming in Linux”

  1. My Indispensable USB Toolkit « Dabbling in Technology Says:

    […] Dabbling in Technology One man's quest to conquer knowledge and convenience in Linux « Gaming in Linux […]

  2. Addicting games Says:

    Very Interesting article will make sure I check your posts more often! Really interesting articles. If anybody has an interesting articles you can share with me. Thanks,

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