Since my conversion to Linux, most of my attention has been devoted to the technical aspects of mastering a new operating system. Sometimes I feel the need to just goof off and find myself looking at the games available to play that are written for the GNU/Linux OS.
First, I’ll point out that some success may be had using Wine which is described as a “Windows compatibility layer.” There are other methods of running Windows games on a Linux box, but my goal is to experience Linux in its purest form, and so I’m sticking exclusively to games that were written for Linux.
To my friends in Sosaria, this means I may not return in the near future since Ultima Online is only offered as a Windows application. However, I still have a hankering for “swords and sorcery” type computer games so lets look at a couple of those.
Battle for Wesnoth (ver 1.8)
One of the more prominent Linux games which features turn-based play against computer generated opponents. There are several campaigns available and users can also design their own campaigns and maps using the available map editor. Campaigns are developed by other players, and offer well written narratives with clear objectives. You can also engage in multi-player online campaigns. For Linux Mint, the game was available through the Package Manager which makes selection and installation of the necessary files a breeze.
I’ve played through several campaigns and found this game to be an enjoyable diversion, or even an obsession. When I first started to play, I would spend an entire day working through a campaign and not even realize how long I had been at it.
Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup (ver 0.9.1)
Here’s a game that hearkens back to the early MUDs (Multi User Dungeons). It is described as a “roguelike game.” It is also available using the Package Manager in two varieties. The console version is text only and the “tiles” version offers graphic maps, and inventory displays.
I downloaded this game this week, so I’m still working through the tutorials. The tiles version does allow use of the mouse for navigation and selection so that makes it easier to focus on the fun. You can play against computer generated foes, or online. The website offers more detail on initiating the online game. If you’re a fan of older style games, this is a good choice. I’ll be playing more of this after I master the tutorials and you may even see me online. Perhaps someday, Lord Raven will inhabit every virtual world known to man! Buwahahah!
Now that we’ve taken a look at a couple of swords and sorcery type games, let’s give our Wizard’s hat a rest and look at some other game options for Linux.
Lincity – A city simulation game. (1.13.1)
You are probably thinking of a game with a sim-ilar name and if you ever played the early version of that game, you already have a good idea of what Lincity is like. This game is available using the Package Manager so it’s pretty easy to install and play. There are similar games with “enhanced” graphics but they felt too much like a children’s version for my taste. There are lots of possibilities with this complex game and I admit that I’ve already spend a good amount of time playing it obsessively.
After several failed megacities, I decided to focus on slow growth with a solid agricultural base. I won’t get into too much detail and spoil your fun, but it seemed like I finally found a working model which would grow well. Until it fell into ruin and chaos. Maybe I should withdraw my application for City Manager of Detroit and stick to simulations. On the other hand, how could I mess up Detroit any more than it already is?
There is no multi-player version so when your city fails it won’t be due to Mongrel Hordes, just your own incompetence. This is another game that will appeal to some folks as it has the look and feel of older DOS based computer games. Let’s face it, to some of us 3D graphics are just confusing!
glChess (ver 2.32.1)
One game you will have no trouble finding for Linux is Chess. Recently I decided to return to the game and set up a Chess circle on Google + which is based on correspondence type games. Having decided to dive right in, I also realized that my game might be kinda rusty since I’ve not had any friends… er, I mean “worthy opponents” for many years. It turns out that my precious copy of The Complete Chess Player uses an obsolete and completely baffling version of Chess notation so I also need to learn Algebraic Chess Notation and so I wanted a program that would display the game board and moves this way.
There are several Chess games available using the Package Manager, and I downloaded a variety to test. My personal favorite was glChess as it was simple enough for me to concentrate on my game, while offering the features I was looking for.
Some versions offer more sophisticated features, and there are options for playing against live opponents. Some of the games run in terminal mode, and use text instead of graphics. There are different engines available and it seems that some of the games will automatically recognize what is available on your system. I’m still a bit weak on the technical stuff in Linux so I’m going to avoid going into a lot of detail here. To summarize, just as the game is difficult to master you may also find installing and playing some versions using Linux equally difficult.
Every game I’ve reviewed is probably available from the repository for your favorite Linux distro. They were all available from the repositories I access using Linux Mint. I’d recommend using the Package Manager, or Software Manager to download and install them. However, if you refuse to settle for version 1.2 and insist on having version 1.3 the direct links to the websites are provided as well.