When it comes to emulators, Linux is right up there. It might not be able to run Crysis or World of Warcraft, however you can surely run various free old school games like Mario, Popeye, Contra, etc.
Here is how you can play those old, free games on your Linux machine. There are various emulators available for Linux, let us look at them one by one.
Simply put, DOSBox is a DOS-emulator and lets you re-visit the good old days when DOS used to rule the roost. Using DOSBox you can play all those DOS games that you loved.
Just install DOSBox, download the game you want to play, run DOSBox from the terminal and execute the game you just downloaded for a trip back in time! The best way to download your favorite game is to Google it.
Check your distributions package manager, Ubuntu users can sudo apt-get install dosbox.
ZSNES emulates the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (NES/SNES). You can thus play almost all of the popular games that made their way onto the NES.
You can install ZNES using your package manager. Once installed you would need to download some of those old, free games. These are generally called SNES ROMs. These are freely available across the Internet and specially on various p2p networks.
PLEASE NOTE that downloading ROMs may be illegal, so you might want to re-consider your decision before you go in for the download.
Fire up ZSNES emulator and you can play the game you just downloaded by loading it via the Game > Load option within the ZSNES emulator.
gnuboy emulates the GameBoy console. So if you are interested in playing some of your favorite GameBoy games on the PC, give gnuboy a spin. It has great compatibility with almost every free old school game you might want to play.
As with other platforms, you can find games floating around on the Internet, you just need to put your head down and search! You need to install gnuboy-sdl or gnuboy-svga or gnuboy-x depending upon which libraries you want to support. Again, as above, gnuboy is generally available through the package manager.
Where to get the free old games
Are you still into old school games? Tell us about the emulators you use and your favorite games in the comments section!