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42 of the Best Free Linux Games

42 of the Best Free Linux Games

"Can I game on it" is a frequently asked question we hear from Windows users toying with the idea of trying Linux for the first time. Well, the simple answer is yes!

To demonstrate the level of sophistication available, we have put together a list of 42 high quality Linux games that all have the virtue of being free to play. To ensure that there is something of interest here for every type of gamer, we have covered a wide variety of computer game genres, including the ever popular First Person Shooters (FPS), Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG), as well as arcade games, board/puzzle games and more.

To be eligible for inclusion in this list each game needed to meet the following requirements:

Free to play (no download charge, no monthly charge)

Does not require Wine to run. Wine is a compatibility layer for running Windows software.

Not in the early stages of development

The only sort of exception we made was to include the game OpenTTD, a personal favorite which we could not see miss the list. OpenTTD needs the MS Windows or DOS version of Transport Tycoon Deluxe. But assuming you already have the game, OpenTTD lets you play it for free natively under Linux.

Our three requirements automatically excluded a whole raft of high quality games that run under Linux. There are a collection of titles where a no-charge client is available for download, but where the game requires a small monthly subscription to play online. Notables examples of games which fall into this category include EVE (a massive multiplayer online game set in a science-fiction based world), Vendetta (a massively multiplayer online role-playing game), and Savage 2 (a fantasy and science-fiction themed game that combines elements of the first-person shooter, real-time strategy, and action role-playing game genres). Subscription based Linux games will be covered in a future article.

Wine has reached a level of maturity that it lets you play a wide range of commercial Windows games. This enables gamers to enjoy classics such as World of Warcraft, the king of the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (which has over 11 million subscribers), Half-Life 2, Silkroad Online, Planescape, Day of Defeat: Source Steam, Call of Duty 2 etc etc. We'll also cover the world that Wine opens up in a separate article together with commercial native Linux games too.

There is no particular reason why the compilation is confined to a mere 42 games. There are, of course, many, many hundreds of other free Linux games that are great fun to play. But we had to stop somewhere. In any case 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything (Douglas Adams, The Hitcherhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

Update - 28th May - We have now published the second part in this series, which is available to read here.

Update - 15th June - We have now published the third part in this series (covering commercial games), which is available to read here.

Now, let's explore the 42 games at hand.  For each game we have compiled its very own portal page, providing screenshots of the game in action, a full description of the game, with an in-depth analysis of the features of the game, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

Action
Alien Arena 2008 Fast paced deathmatch shooter
AstroMenace 3D Scrolling Space shooter
Nexuiz Chaotic and intense multiplayer First Person Shooter
OpenArena Based on the Quake III Arena source, similar to Open Quartz
Secret Maryo Chronicles Two-dimensional, sidescrolling jump-and-run platform game
Tremulous Aliens vs Humans action/strategy First Person Shooter
Urban Terror Total conversion/stand-alone First Person Shooter
Warsow Fast Paced First Person Shooter
Arcade
Armagetron Advanced Enhanced version of Armagetron, a 3D lightcycle game
Critical Mass Space shoot'em up
ManiaDrive Clone of Trackmania: 3D, stunts and skills
Stepmania
Rhythm video game
SuperTuxKart 3D kart racing game, with many tracks, characters, and items for you to try
Wormux Worms clone
Role Play
Crossfire Cooperative multiplayer graphical RPG and adventure game
Daimonin Massive Multi-player online RPG
NetHack Classic dungeon crawling
Strategy
Battle for Wesnoth Fantasy turn-based where you battle for control of villages
Freeciv Turn-based multiplayer empire-building
FreeCol Implementation of Colonization
FreeOrion Galactic Conquest
Glest 3D real-time customizable strategy
Scorched 3D Based on the classic DOS game Scorched Earth "The Mother Of All Games"
Spring Gameplay experience of Total Annihilation (TA) into three dimensions
UFO: Alien Invasion X-COM inspired turn based 3D strategy game
Warzone 2100 RP 3D realtime strategy set on a future Earth
Simulation
FlightGear General Aviation Flight Simulator
Frets On Fire
Musical skill and fast fingers
OpenTTD Clone of the Microprose game "Transport Tycoon Deluxe"
TORCS Racing Car Simulator
Sports
FooBillard OpenGL-billard game with realistic physics, AI-player and many gametypes
Slam Soccer 2006 Comic style football game
Board & Card
Atlantik
Monopoly-like game
KMahjongg Mahjongg Solitaire
PyChess Chess Client
Puzzle
Fish Fillets NG Port of Fish Fillets from Altar Interactive
Frozen Bubble Throw colourful bubbles to build groups and destroy the groups
Neverball
Tilt the floor to roll a ball through an obstacle course
Pingus Lemmings-like game
Game Engines
GemRB Clone of BioWare's Infinity Engine
Sauerbraten 3D game engine
ScummVM Interpreter for 2D adventure games with several integrated engines

Return to our complete collection of Group Tests, identifying the finest Linux software.

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Last Updated Sunday, April 13 2014 @ 09:55 AM EDT


We have written a range of guides highlighting excellent free books for popular programming languages. Check out the following guides: C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, HTML, Python, Ruby, Perl, Haskell, PHP, Lisp, R, Prolog, Scala, Scheme, Forth, SQL, Node.js (new), Fortran (new), Erlang (new), Pascal (new), and Ada (new).


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