Games

Games

Robbert Haarman

2010-12-11


Introduction

Occasionally, all of us like some diversion. This page links to some games I have enjoyed playing. Most of them will run on any UNIX-like system, such as GNU/Linux.


Battle for Wesnoth

Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based strategy game that takes place in the fantasy world of Wesnoth. There are different campaigns with different story lines, and the difficulty level is adjustable. The game can be very challenging.


bsdgames

bsdgames is a collection of text-mode games originally developed for BSD UNIX. I haven't played all of them, but one I particularly liked is adventure, a port of the Colossal Cave Adventure, which I think is the first text adventure game.


Corewars

Corewars is a game where one writes programs that aim to eliminate other programs. The programs are written in some sort of assembly language and executed on a virtual machine. The program that survives longest wins. Competitions are organized and rankings are maintained for the most successful core wars programs.


Digger

Digger is one of my old favorites, one of the first games I got totally hooked on. I played it on DOS, but a remastered version is now available for a plethora of operating systems. I don't recall ever making it past level 6…


Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem 3D was, during its heyday, one of the greatest first person shooters. Although not as technically advanced as its contemporary Quake, it had lots of interactivity, good graphics, and many in-game jokes that made it, in my eyes, the more fun to play game. Originally a DOS game, 3D Realms has since released the source code, and Duke Nukem 3D now runs on a variety of platforms.


Freeciv

Freeciv is a clone of the Civilization series of games. It is a turn-based strategy game where you build up a civilization from the stone age to modern times and even the future. You win the game by either conquering the entire planet, or being the first to reach Alpha Centauri by spaceship. Research, diplomacy, war, and internal politics are all elements of the game. You can play against computer opponents and human opponents over a network.


Frozen Bubble

Frozen Bubble is a fun simple arcade game. The games consists of levels filled with colored bubbles, and you operate a cannon that fires bubbles. If you cause enough bubbles of the same color to connect together, they will disappear. You win the level once all bubbles are gone, and you use the level once it fills up with bubbles.


Pingus

Pingus is a remake of the classic game Lemmings. You are to guide the penguins to safety, digging holes, building staircases, and making sure your penguins don't fall to death.


PlaneShift

PlaneShift is a 3D MMORPG. Players enter the world of Yliakum, an underground world illuminated by the Crystal and inhabited by humans, elves, dwarves, and various less commonly heard of races such as Kran and Enkidukai.

The reason I started playing this game (besides it being open source and running on Linux) is that, if I were to design a fantasy role-playing game, it would have game mechanics very similar to this one. Rather than using a system like D&D, where you pick a class at the start of the game and then gain levels, in Planeshift, you can improve any skill you want at any time by training and practicing.

I played the game while it was in a relatively early stage of development and there weren't too many quests and other activities provided by the game itself. This has pushed me towards role-playing with other players, an experience which, it turned out, I massively enjoyed and which has brought me many new friends.


Quake

Quake is a first-person shooter with a dark fantasy theme. It was widely acclaimed at the time for being the game that brought full 3D worlds (as opposed to the 2D-with-height worlds that were common at the time) to the genre. The game offers levels with a dark, gothic beauty, and a soundtrack by industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. Many versions of the game engine have been released, particularly after id Software released the engine as open source.


Supertux

Supertux is a platform game that closely resembles Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. You play Supertux, a penguin whose beloved Penny has been kidnapped by the evil Nolok. Your quest is to rescue your beloved, avoiding Nolok's minions who are out to kill you.


Warcraft II

Warcraft II is a real-time strategy game originally developed for DOS by Blizzard Entertainment. The game takes place after the prequel (WarCraft: Orcs and Humans) and starts with the evil Horde invading Azeroth once again. You can take the side of the Horde, or you can help the Alliance drive out the invaders. In the expansion set Beyond the Dark Portal, the Alliance uses the same rift that the Orcs had used to invade Azeroth to invade the Orcish lands to put an end to the Horde once and for all. The Wargus project allows this game to run on the Stratagus engine, so that it can be played on platforms other than DOS.


Wargus

Wargus (formerly known as FreeCraft, formerly known as ALE Clone) is a project that allows one to use the data files from the DOS version of WarCraft 2 to be played using the Stratagus engine. This provides a number of features not found in the original game, and also allows it to run on operating systems other than DOS. Note that Wargus is not a stand-alone game; you need the original Warcraft II: The Tides of Darkness and/or Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal CD-ROMs for Wargus to work.


StarCraft

StarCraft is a real-time strategy game from Blizzard Entertainment. The game features an interesting storyline and three different races (Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss), each with their own set of units, abilities, and restrictions. This makes for very interesting gameplay. Originally developed for Microsoft Windows, the game also runs fine under Wine.


Xonix

Xonix is a simple arcade game for X11. Your goal is to build walls and enclose at least 75% of the area, while avoiding the bouncing balls that kill you. It does not appear to have a website; just install it and see for yourself!


Game Engines

Besides complete games, I have also used a couple of game engines; programs that can be used to play various games depending on the game data files provided to them.

Crystal Space

Crystal Space is an open-source 3D-engine. It is used by many games in various stages of development. Of these games, Planeshift is the one I have spent most time with. Crystal Space provides quite an impressive collection of screenshots.

GemRB

GemRB is an open-source clone of BioWare's Infinity Engine. At the time I tried GemRB, it was nowhere near complete yet, but still very interesting to me, because it aimed to make it possible to play games such as Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate 2, and Planescape: Torment, which I massively enjoyed.

ioquake3

ioquake3 is one of a number of projects based on the release of the Quake 3 engine source code by id Software. In the words of the project, ioquake3 aims to be the open source Quake 3 distribution upon which people base their games and projects. Compared to the original release from id Software, numerous new features have been added, bugs have been fixed, and the engine has been ported to various platforms.

A number of games are based on the ioquake3 engine, such as OpenArena, Tremulous, World of Padman, and Urban Terror.

ScummVM

ScummVM is a program that lets you play SCUMM games. There are many such games, but the ones I've played are the legendary Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2.

Nowadays, ScummVM also plays games developed with Sierra's AGI, such as Mixed-Up Mother Goose, a game I have fond childhood memories of.

Stratagus

Stratagus is a cross-platform engine for developing real-time strategy games. It has been used to implement a clone of Warcraft II with some extensions. Other games are under development. The project was formerly known as FreeCraft, but Blizzard was of the opinion that that name sounded to close to ‘Warcraft’, so the project was renamed.


Games I Have Not Played

There are many great games I haven't played, for various reasons. Probably the most important reason is that I am not a very big gamer, preferring to spend my time on other things (for example, developing software or writing essays — what I call improving the world). Still, I think some games deserve mention here, either because I would like to play them one day, or because I think they are great games, even though I don't want to play them.

D2X

D2X is a project that seeks to port Descent 2 to various platforms. Descent 2 (like its predecessor Descent) is a first person shooter, unique in the sense that, rather than a person carrying weapons, the player controls a space ship, and the game provides a full 3D experience to the point where one completely loses track of what is up and down. D2X runs on a variety of operating systems, and can use data files from the shareware version of Descent 2 or from Descent 1.


Metalinks

Of course, I am not the only one to have come up with the idea to provide links to games. Below, I provide links to pages by other people that I think do a good job of providing links to interesting computer games.

Comparison of Free Software Shooters

linuX-gamers.net hosts a Comparison of free software shooters. The article reviews a number of first-person shooters whose engines are open source (the artwork may be under proprietary licenses). The games reviewed are Sauerbraten, OpenArena, Alien Arena, Nexuiz, World of Padman, Tremulous, and War§ow. The screenshots posted in the review look very enticing.

Games for Linux

Games for Linux is (surprise, surprise!) a site that lists games for Linux. At the time of this writing (1 March 2008), the site lists almost 200 games. Each game has an entry with a description and a screenshot. Entries can be sorted by name, ranking, and last update time. Many games not commonly found on other sites can be found on this one.

Kahvipapu

Kahvipapu has written a four-part series about games that run on Linux:

  1. part one: first person shooters
  2. part two: strategy games
  3. part three: strategy games (continued)
  4. part four: massive multiplayer online games

Role Playing Games and Linux

There is a blog about playing RPGs on Linux over at http://linuxrpgs.blogspot.com/. When I last checked it mostly dealt with BioWare games for Windows, run using Wine.


Games Not Listed Here

There are many games that are purposely not listed on this page. Some of them, I simply didn't find very intriguing. Others are not listed because they only run on proprietary platforms, such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, or Mac OS X, or various game consoles. While I don't think there is anything wrong with that, I don't feel like spending my time and energy promoting software that makes you dependent on a single vendor for your operating system or hardware.

Note that some of the games listed here actually were originally developed for a single platform, and are only now available for other platforms because of the availability of emulators, game engines, or other software that allows the game to be used on other platforms. In this case, kudos go to the developers of the software that liberated the game, rather than the game authors, but the result is the same: you can play that game without being locked in to a single vendor.