Are there many high quality commercial games available for Linux? That’s one of the frequently asked questions we receive in our mailbox every week.
It is true to say that the number of commercial games released for Linux each year remains small compared to other platforms. Nevertheless, we faced lots of difficult choices compiling a list of 42 of the best commercial Linux games. The selection we have finally chosen covers a wide range of different game genres, so hopefully there will be something here that will interest all.
To be eligible for inclusion in this list each game needed to be:
- Released under a proprietary license with a fee required either to purchase the game, or a monthly charge
- Not require Wine to run. Wine is a compatibility layer for running Windows software
Probably the best known game developer in the industry supporting Linux is id Software. They have ported many of their star titles to Linux, including Quake 4 and Doom 3. The other major innovator in the video game industry is Epic Games. They produced one of the all time classics, Unreal Tournament 2004, which we agonised over whether to include, but the list was already heavyweight in quality action games.
In any feature on Linux commercial games, there also deserves to be a special mention for Loki Entertainment Software. Between 1998 and 2001, they ported a number of games to Linux, almost all to an extremely high standard. Classic titles that spring to mine include Heretic II, Quake III Arena (featured below), Soldier of Fortune, Tribes 2, Myth II: Soulblighter, and Heavy Gear II.
Following in Loki’s footsteps, Linux Game Publishing was established in 2001 to port commercial games to Linux. Their first port was Creatures: Internet Edition.
Advocates of free software may dislike the presence of commercial games. However, having Linux games released commercially sometimes indirectly benefits gamers who prefer, or can only afford, to play freeware games. The most notable example of an awesome commercial game that was subsequently released as freeware is Wolftenstein: Enemy Territory.
Please appreciate that the list below is constantly evolving, and only represents a snapshot in 2008. There are some very exciting games to be released shortly for Linux. Watch out for Rage, Unreal Tournament 3, Sacred Gold, Jack Keane, X3: Reunion, and Celetania in particular. It’s highly probable all of these games will feature in a later ‘Best of 42’ article.
Now, let’s scrutinize the 42 games at hand. For each game we have compiled its 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.
|Cold War||Real Time Strategy Action|
|Darwinia||Similar to the classic Cannon Fodder|
|DOOM 3||Science fiction, survival horror, first-person shooter video|
|Enemy Territory: Quake Wars||Multiplayer first-person shooter mixing Enemy Territory and Quake 4|
|Eve Online||Massive multiplayer online game set in a persistent world|
|Medal of Honor: Allied Assault||First-person military shooter|
|Quake 3 Arena||Multiplayer first-person shooter game|
|Quake 4||Fourth title in the series of Quake first-person shooters|
|Savage 2||Fantasy and science-fiction; Sequel to Savage: The Battle for Newerth|
|ThinkTanks||Tank combat designed to be a blast|
|Toribash||Ragdoll-physics, turn-based fighting|
|Penumbra: Black Plague||First person horror adventure|
|Penumbra: Overture||Focuses on story, immersion and puzzles|
|Droid Assault||Top down fast paced high action scrolling space shooter|
|Galcon||High-paced multi-player galactic game|
|H-Craft Championship||Futuristic 3D racing|
|Marble Blast Gold||3D arcade action game with simple yet addictive gameplay|
|A Tale in the Desert 8||Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying set in ancient Egypt|
|Ankh 2||Adventure game set in ancient Egypt|
|Neverwinter Nights||Set in a huge medieval fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons|
|Penny Arcade Adventures||Episodic video series based on the webcomic Penny Arcade|
|Vendetta Online||3D space combat Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game|
|Wurm Online||Community-centric Massively multiplayer online role-playing|
|Ancient Empires Lux||Play as all the great ancient civilizations|
|DEFCON||Online multiplayer strategy global thermonuclear war|
|Dominions 3||Turn-based fantasy strategy|
|Gorky 17||Turn-based tactics mixing elements of strategy and RPG gameplay|
|Knights and Merchants||Medieval-time based real-time strategy|
|Northland||Adventure-Strategy; solve enigmas|
|Robin Hood||Guide a team through missions by avoiding the sentries|
|Uplink||Immersive "computer hacking" simulation|
|Creatures Internet Edition||Supervise the upbringing of a simulated AI creature|
|Mindrover||Intelligent Robot Simulation|
|X²: The Threat||Space trading and combat simulator set in the fictional X-Universe|
|X-Plane||Comprehensive, powerful flight simulator|
|Shredder Chess||Extremely strong chess program|
|SmallRockets BackGammon||Backgammon for the beginner and the experienced enthusiast|
|Professor Fizzwizzle||Platform based mind-expanding puzzle with over 230 levels|
|Runes of Avalon 2||Puzzle game with a twist|
|Spandex Force||Create your own hero to clean up Vigilance Valley|
|The Amazing Brain Train||Brain-boosting adventure|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.