Introduction to Linux Gaming

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When you think of Linux, you probably think of open source software and security, but not gaming. Most people think if you are into gaming, Windows is your only option. A few years ago this might have been the case but not anymore.

So, if you are a Linux power user, or just prefer Linux, here are a few of your options for playing games on your Linux box.

Native Linux games

I was very surprised to see how many games there were for Linux. These are games that have a Linux version, no emulation or trickery involved. Of course there are the standard games provided by Gnome and KDE when you installed your distro. However, these are mostly just card, arcade, and board games. These are great but sometimes you want something new and exciting. Here are some native Linux games you should check out:

1) Neverball is a puzzle game where you use the mouse and/or keyboard to tilt the floor in order to move a ball around and collect coins. You have to collect a certain number of coins to move onto the next level. Since there are 75 levels, you won’t beat this game in one sitting.

Neverball

2) Frets on Fire is a remake of Guitar Hero where you use your keyboard as a guitar. If you already have Rock Band or Guitar Hero for your game console, you can even use those guitars (USB versions) instead of the keyboard. One of the best features of this game is you can create your own songs to play or edit your current ones. So, if you find yourself saying, “Why isn’t that song on here?”, you can add it yourself or come up with your own tune. There’s also a huge song list you can download, and most (if not all) are free.

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Frets on Fire

3) FlightGear is a flight simulator, similar to Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X, with 20,000 real world airports. FlightGear is known for its accurate runway locations and markings. The scenery in this game is so realistic, you feel as if you are looking out of the window of an actual cockpit. Being able to fly numerous aircrafts is one of the best features.

FlightGear

Of course these aren’t the only three games for Linux. In fact, there are SO MANY great games designed for Linux, we could not cover all of them. The above is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the different types of games available. Here are a list of sites where you can find more games designed for Linux. If we left any out, please post them in the comments for others to enjoy!

linuX-gamers.net – click a download category to see the games available (Free&GPL Games is a great place to start)

The Linux Gamers’ Game List – a lot of these are free games but some are commercial.

Loads of Linux Links – another great list of top games with a brief description of each.

LiNUXLiNKS.com – 42 of the Best Free Linux Games, Part 1 and Part 2WikipediaList of open source games

Rangit.comTop 25 Linux Games

There are even Linux distributions that are specifically designed for gaming such as Fedora Games Spin and Ubuntu Ultimate Gamers Edition.

Play Windows Games in Linux

1) Wine (free) is a “compatibility layer for running Windows programs.” Wine is made up of a bunch of open source code that replaces the Windows API but does not require Windows at all. Basically, it [Wine] is used to fool an application or game into thinking that you are running Windows.

Wine is getting better and better with each new release. Some applications/games work so well you forget you are running Linux, while other applications/games will not work at all. For a list of compatible applications, check out Wine HQ. Here is a list of applications sorted by compatibility rating.

2) Cedega (pay per month) is a upgraded version of Wine (that’s why you pay for it) that has improved directX support. For those of you who do not know what directX is, it is a bunch of code Microsoft uses in their games. Therefore, improved directX support allows for Windows games to play better (in Linux).

Play Game Console Games in Linux

If you miss playing your old Nintendo64 or Playstation games, you are in luck. There are all kinds of emulators available for these gaming consoles. Once you have the emulator installed you need to download the games (ROMS). There are many sites which allow you to download these ROMS. To find such sites, simply Google the name of the game and add ‘ROM’ at the end of it. You will be surprised how many games from the good old days are available for download. I still enjoy playing the N64 Mario Kart.

For the latest news in Linux gaming, check out LINUXGAMES.

How do you play games in Linux? What games do you play? Let us know in the comments!!!

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