Last Updated on December 10, 2018
Linux has a raft of open source games. The vast majority of these games are atheistically pleasing. Popular games often have full motion video, vector graphics, 3D graphics, realistic 3D rendering, animation, texturing, a physics engine, and much more. Computer graphics have been advancing at a staggering pace. At the current rate of progress, in the next 10 years it may not be possible to distinguish computer graphics from reality.
Early computer games did not have these graphic techniques. The earliest video games were text games or text-based games that used text characters rather than vector or bitmapped graphics.
Text-based games are often forgotten and neglected. However, there are many ASCII gems out there waiting to be explored which are immensely addictive and great fun to play. The developers’ works featured in this article focus on content and fun gameplay.
The idiom ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ can be extended to ‘don’t judge a computer game by its graphics’. While the games featured in this article have extremely basic graphics, they have many redeeming qualities beyond evoking fond memories of the early days of computer gaming.
The purpose of this article is to identify our favourite ASCII based games. There are no fancy graphics here, just great gameplay coupled with the urge of always having just one more play.
Now let’s scrutinize the 21 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.
|ASCII Linux Games
|Curse of War
|Fast-paced action strategy game
|Roguelike variant of Wing Commander: Privateer
|Think NetHack, but faster and with fewer keys
|Intergalactic exploration, warfare, and economics
|Game of competitive puzzle-design
|Enter the test chambers for a non-euclidean good time
|Fast and furious coffee-break Roguelike game
|Direct descendant of Rogue
|Extremely addictive rogue-like ASCII game
|"Unmake" of the popular Blizzard game Diablo 1
|Remake of XOR by Astral Software
|Classic dungeon crawling
|Quality variant of NetHack 3.4.3
|Bloody 2D action deathmatch-like game in ASCII-art
|Single-player dungeon exploration game
|Simulation of a full-scale war
|Multi-player, client/server Internet based war game
|Sudoku on the terminal
|Inspired by Namco's Pac-Man
|Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds 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.