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Confucius says: "A person who prefers Linux on their home computer is like a person who prefers to be under the hood of their car instead of driving it." This is probably why /g/earheads prefer Linux, but we're abo/v/e that. Linux has been a favorite of neckbeards everywhere since the 90s, but now it's really been catching on: when people do a 360° and moonwalk away after seeing the unholy abomination of Windows 8, yet realize they can't afford an iComputer, they look at Linux and say, well, why the fuck not.

But you may ask: "What about the vidya?" True, Linux has fewer games than Windows. Other than a short porting fad back in the 90s, it just didn't seem commercially viable. But things have changed: with the rise of smartphones and consoles, engine developers realized that supporting multiple platforms was a smart move, so now ports are very easy and cheap to do. Digital distribution also helps, and even Valve pushes hard for Linux gaming because they got afraid of Windows 8's bundled app store.

Although the amount of commercial games is still modest, there's a bunch of online stores that offer them:

Other than native games, there is WINE, a compatibility layer to run Windows applications.

As a sidenote: free software purists tend to call it GNU/Linux, but really, that's a minority in what's already a minority.

Stuff that comes with your Linux distroEdit

The "Distros" column in this section is for known good packages, mostly so you know which repositories to hit up for a copy of the game. If you have a different flavour of Linux, even a different package management system, you can still port the package over but you might need to puzzle out some missing dependencies. For those of us who love to tinker on the engine more than driving the car, you can get the source code for each of these and compile it by hand.

Picture Title Genre Description Distros
Wesnoth-1.6-4 Battle for Wesnoth Turn-based Strategy Fantasy strategy game where much of the game's units, music, artwork, and campaigns are player contributed. The game plays on a hex based system, with terrain affecting the accuracy of attacks and unit movement. Six well-balanced factions are available for play at the start. It makes you really feel like you're commanding an army by having you level troops into hardened veterans, which you can recall for future battles. Dozens of custom units are available for single player and multiplayer by downloading player mods known as "eras". Fantastic quality considering it's freeware. Download stable version if you just want to play the game without too many bugs. Debian
Fedora
Gentoo
SUSE
Ubuntu
nearly every one
Beneath a Steel Sky Beneath a Steel Sky Adventure/Point 'N Click Classic adventure style game that follows Robert Foster on a journey through a cyberpunk-esque metropolis. Requires ScummVM to be played, but that is also a free install from your local package repository. Fun fact: the background art is drawn by Dave Gibbons of Watchmen fame.

Debian
Ubuntu
Fedora

200px-Freeciv-2.1.0-beta3-sdl_slack11.0.png Freeciv Empire Building The awesome that is Sid Meier's Civilization, now with multiplayer that isn't hot-seat, custom tilesets, and you can tinker the hell out of the rules. It's been upgraded since to play more like Civ2. If you preferred the sort-of sequel "Colonization," check out FreeCol. Debian
Fedora
SUSE
Ubuntu
Frogatto Frogatto Adventure/Platformer Old school adventure platformer with RPG elements like quests and buying powerups. Debian
Ubuntu
Frozen Bubble Frozen Bubble Puzzle It's Bust-A-Move, that game that's like Breakout plus Bejeweled where you break the walls by adding more bricks. Every Linux magazine from here to India puts this in their top ten list. Casual gamers can't get enough of this on Linux or any other platform. Debian
Fedora
Gentoo
Mandriva
SUSE
Nethack Nethack Roguelike Imagine Dungeons and Dragons in a very difficult, video game form. Death is permanent, the dungeon is always randomly generated, and you aren't going to win for a very long time. A spinoff of "Rogue," so it's a Rogue-like game, but everyone had a go at the source code to add everything including kitchen sinks. You can check out the game's wiki Here. Default interface is ASCII graphics in a term window, but you can download extra packages for a tileset or even isomorphic interface instead. every distro ever
Nethack Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup Roguelike This game is a modern take on the roguelike genre that doesn't stray too far from its roots. It keeps the randomly generated environments, turn-based gameplay and punishing difficulty of classic roguelikes. But reduces the amount of keystrokes to learn, replaces the ASCII with more descriptive tiles and improves the interface to the point it is playable by using a mouse. It also focuses on reducing the amount of spoilers required to finish the game without sacrificing its inherent complexity. Definitely one of the best modern roguelikes (others are ADOM and TOME4) around and probably the easiest one to get into that doesn't dumb things down too much (Dungeons of Dredmor) or is barely a roguelike (FTL, Spelunky, Binding of Isaac). You can get it here. Many distros
Oolite.ubuntu.8.10 Oolite Space Combat, Trading The classic 8-bit galaxy-on-a-single-floppy space game Elite lives on. Better graphics (duh), a mod community and a wiki proves that Elite ain't dead. Debian
Ubuntu
.rpm
Tatham-Puzzles Simon Tatham's Puzzle Collection Puzzle, Casual Futoshiki, Lightup, Loopy, Nonograms, Sudoku, Untangle... all those Japanese puzzles that people install on their Blackberries and iPhones and buy cheap books of at Barnes and Noble, Simon Tatham already ported them to Linux and you can make each one as hard or as easy as you want. Also available on Android (which is Linux under the hood, so no surprise.) ALTLinux (rpm)
Debian
Ubuntu
SpringRTS Spring RTS Engine Realtime Strategy It's Total Annihilation re-implemented to use OpenGL and more computing power. When the kids in high school were pissing themselves over the strategy of StarCraft, the TRUE neckbeards-in-training were playing Total Annihilation. The game mods have taken on a life of their own, so you can use Spring Engine for real-time strategy games with rules (not just re-skinned units!) for WWII, Gundam, Star Wars, sci-fi, necromancers, or even a Tron game if Darwinia isn't crunchy enough for you. Debian
Fedora
Gentoo
Mandriva
Slackware
Ubuntu
Torus Trooper - over ship Torus Trooper SHMUP Another shooter from Kenta Cho. Remember Tempest? This is Tempest on steroids. You're racing down this tube, sometimes at over 4000km/h blowing shit up. The graphics and music help to put you in the mood too, kind of has the same feel as Rez. It's not a game with a whole lot of depth, but it's fun to play every now and then. Debian
Ubuntu
UrQuan Masters sshot3 The Ur-Quan Masters RPG Star Control 2. Adventure across the stars, recruiting other aliens that got the shit kicked out of them since the previous game, or fend off the aliens that decided to kiss ass to the new murderous-squid overlords. Between exploring distant stars and doing mineral scans (Hmmmm...) you get into ship-to-ship action combat against different vessels with a rock-paper-scissors balance of abilities. Debian
Fedora
Gentoo
Mandrake

Distro-Agnostic PackagingEdit

These are still typically free software (or at least freeware), but do not use your easy-peasy package manager to install itself deep in your system. Most of the time, they are just binaries (or executables in Windows parlance) in downloadable tar.gz archives (which work like .zip files). Though, in some more rare cases, these may also include games that come as source code only -- you need to hunt down the right libraries through your distro's package manager, compile, and install manually (while trickier, this has the added bonus of increased optimization for your computer hardware, however marginal).

Picture Title Genre Description Link
Heroes of Newerth screenshot Heroes of Newerth Action-RTS It's DotA by S2 Games. Need I say more? Just run the shell script in terminal to install and you're good to go. Went F2P model because of competition from LoL. Some heroes are original, while others are ported from DotA. This'll hold you over until Gaben decides to port every Valve game (DotA2) to Linux. Official site
Katawa-shoujo-act-1-05 Katawa Shoujo Visual Novel The story tells of a young man who, after suffering a heart attack upon hearing a confession from the girl he loves, is diagnosed with cardiac dysrhythmia and sent to a school where he meets several lovely and charming teenage girls who each suffer from a different disability. Official site
Marathon 1 Aleph One screenshot Marathon trilogy FPS The predecessor to the Halo series. The year is 2794 and you are a security officer aboard the UESC Marathon, a large, multi-generational colony spacecraft (converted from one of Mars's moons). As the ship and the Tau Ceti colony are attacked by hostile extraterrestrials, you find that something is amiss with the ship's artificial intelligence - one of which having gone quite insane after figuring out a secret greater than universe itself. Sourceforge
SDL port
Revenge of the Cats Ethernet screenshot Revenge of the Cats: Ethernet Team FPS Tug-of-war style territory fight with an unusual travel/heal/respawn mechanic. Official site
Typhoon 2001 screenshot Typhoon 2001 Tube shooter Fan remake of Tempest 2000, one of the trippiest shooters ever. Mirror
Padmam World of Padman Arena FPS Wacky colorful cartoons and cleavage. Spray your color and run around on bookshelves. Official site
Xonotic Linux screenshot Xonotic Arena FPS This is very much like Quake (its engine actually is a massively improved version of the original Quake engine), but with even more jumping around; you'll see what I mean once you play it. Includes game modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, "Keyhunt" and more, both in Singleplayer and Multiplayer. Has about 10-30 people playing for any region at their respective daily "peak times", but hopefully there will be more once version 1.0 is released. Official site


Commercial games Edit

Picture Title Genre Year Released Description Where to acquire
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri screenshot Alpha Centauri Empire Building 1999 FreeCiv IN SPAAAAAACE. There's some story that gets revealed, and landmarks you can make use of even on a randomly generated world. More diplomacy and culture-changing options too.
Amnesia The Dark Descent screenshot Amnesia: The Dark Descent Horror & Survival 2010 You play as Daniel, an amnesiac who must investigate the mysterious Castle Brennenburg, with only two goals in mind: Find your memories, and kill the castle's owner, the mysterious Alexander of Brennenburg. VERY loosely based on Lovecraft's "The Outsider" (So loosely based that you will only understand the similarities after you beat the game). TL:DR; Decently hard puzzles. Loads of NOPENOPENOPE
Aquaria screenshot Aquaria Action-adventure 2007 Massive award-winning indie title created by Spelunky programmer Derek Yu and Crayon Physics Deluxe composer Alec Holowka. Aquaria features huge underwater environments with an emphasis on exploration, challenging-but-not-stupid boss battles and an absolutely phenomenal soundtrack. Before you ask: yes, there is a nude mod.

An absolute must-have for any Metroidvania fan.

Cave Story Plus screenshot Cave Story+ Action-adventure 2011 A robot boy awakens in a dark cave and soon comes across a village of rabbit-like creatures being attacked by a mad scientist. A vast and rather challenging game, originally free but this paid version has upgraded graphics and improved gameplay. Steam
Cities Skyline screenshot Cities: Skylines Simulation 2015 Love Sim City? Looking for something that was not ruined by developer incompetence and publisher greed? Say no more. Steam
Darwinia Darwinia RTS 2005 Get your RTS on with 8-bit troops in a 32-bit terrain. Very hacker atmosphere, terrific soundtrack, simple interface that focuses you on the fights and resources instead of min/maxing and spreadsheets. You'll be cheering every time your blocky little guys defeat a wireframe evil spider.
Defcon 2 DEFCON RTS 2006 You remember the movie WarGames? With Matthew Broderick? It's EXACTLY like the game that he was supposed to be playing, only this time there's no namby-pamby AI that tells you it's a bad idea to throw nukes at the Commies.
Drunken Robot Pornography screenshot Drunken Robot Pornography FPS 2014 Get your jetpack and laser blaster ready: you made the mistake of giving free will to your robot bartender and the son of a bitch built an army of giant robots to destroy the city! Unique indie mix of FPS and bullet hell, perhaps a bit "fluff" but still very fun. Quite unique in the FPS genre for having extremely vertical stages. Sadly, it in fact does not contain any pornography. From the creators of AaAaAA!!!. Humble
Steam
Dust An Elysian Tail screenshot Dust: An Elysian Tail Platformer / Action-RPG 2013 A mysterious warrior wanders a fantasy land with a magical talking sword and a little flying sprite companion, trying to regain his own memories. A beautiful furry-themed indie 2D platformer with RPG and beat 'em up elements. Stunning painted backgrounds, top notch animation, great voice acting. Hard to believe one guy did most of the game all by himself. GOG
Humble
Steam
Half-Life 2 screenshot Half-Life Complete FPS 2008 An experiment goes terribly wrong, and everyone's favorite crowbar-wielding MIT Ph.D. has to deal with a ton of aliens invading and the black ops trying to cover up the whole mess. Come on, it's the goddamn Half-Life series, you can't not play this! Steam
Lux Delux screenshot Lux Delux Strategy 2005 Risk done right. Over 700 maps, and you can make your own, SDK for hacking the ruleset (like having naval units, or canals, or remember playing nuclear Risk?). Comes with LAN and Internet play too.
Neverwinter Nights screenshot Neverwinter Nights RPG 2003 Do you like third edition Dungeons and Dragons? Well, this game is basically that, but in computer form. Play as whoever you want, read nice big blocks of text, and enjoy slow, somewhat lengthy turn-based battles. Plenty of mods out there for those who want them and tons of persistent worlds (mini-MMORPG's, ranging from action PvP to deep DM-heavy roleplaying) still online.
Papers Please screenshot Papers, Please Dystopian Document Thriller 2013 You are the immigrations inspector for Arstotzka, a Eurasian communist shithole. It is your job to inspect the papers of everyone trying to enter the country, turning away any and all who do not qualify.

A lot more engrossing than it sounds. Seriously, play this.

Steam
Portal screenshot Portal Bundle Puzzle 2007 Welcome to the Aperture Science Computer-Aided Enrichment Center. It is time to do science or die trying. Steam
Postal 1 screenshot Postal Isometric shooter 1997 Now this is the story all about how some guy's life got flipped-turned upside down, so he cracks and goes out on a shooting rampage. Unlike the sequel, or the movie, this game does not play violence or potty humor for laughs. It is absolutely straightforward in its unabashed depravity. It is disgusting and frightening. And it's also a hidden gem of a mercilessly hardcore game. GOG
Steam
Postal 2 screenshot Postal 2 FPS/Sandbox 2003 One of the most hilariously fucked up games ever. Survive a week in a crazy little hick town plagued by anti-gaming activists, cannibals, terrorists, bank robbers, radical environmentalists, ATF agents, and Gary Coleman! Will you refrain from using force, or will you leave a trail of mangled, charred corpses in your wake? Humble
Steam
Rochard screenshot Rochard Platformer / puzzle 2011 When an asteroid mining crew finds evidence of intelligent life out there, they're attacked by space bandits, and soon find themselves as targets of a nasty conspiracy. Excellent graphics and sound, some nice run-n-gun action, and a ton of crazy physics-manipulating puzzles. Steam
Shadow Warrior screenshot Shadow Warrior FPS 2013 A bodyguard / henchman / hired killer is sent to acquire a very special sword, but when a horde of demons gets in the way and slaughters everyone before he has a chance to, he realizes there's something weird about his corporate overlords.

Remember the 90s classic? Lo Wang was a sort of oriental Duke Nukem, but unlike the notorious DNF, this one is actually a good game... a fast-paced, damn fun, insanely over the top, ultra violent romp. From the same team of the also excellent Hard Reset.

GOG
Humble
Steam
Spec Ops The Line screenshot Spec Ops: The Line TPS 2012 In a near future, Dubai was annihilated by a series of freak sand storms. Months later, a radio transmission indicates that there might be survivors there after all. You lead a Delta Force team sent to investigate, but when you get there, you find there's some real crazy shit going on. Humble
Steam
The Witcher screenshot The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings Action-RPG 2012 The very brutal and rather titillating journey of a badass monster slayer in a gritty, morally ambiguous fantasy world. Think "Zelda meets Game of Thrones" and you'll kind of get it. GOG
Unreal Tournament 2004 screenshot Unreal Tournament 2004 FPS 2004 Skip the first Unreal Tournament and get this one instead. Fast-paced arena FPS, based heavily on acrobatics and aim, recommended for its complexity and variety. Gametypes range from vehicle-based Onslaught mode to football-like Bombing Run. Unreal Tournament 2004 is commended for consistent developer support, and a once-massive mapping/modding community that produces quality content to this day. The single-player is boring but the AI is rather intelligent in all maps, especially deathmatch.
Uplink screenshot Uplink Strategy/Sim 2002 Hack computers. Don't get caught. Decent story, full of intrigue. Bring down corporations and destroy people's lives for money to upgrade your computer while searching for a mysterious virus. Don't let the appearance fool you, the later missions are hard and intense, and the game has quite a few secrets.
World of Goo Screen World of Goo Puzzle 2009 I shouldn't have to tell you what World of Goo is. Yes, they made a native Linux version. Is there a platform this game DOESN'T run on? Steam

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