As you probably know by now, I have gone completely Linux. I am using Linux as my main operating system on both my personal computer and in my home. We do not have a single computer running Windows in my house (my wife’s computer runs Ubuntu Edgy). I have Windows running a VMware on my box for some development reasons, but other than that it is all Linux.
One of the biggest complaints people give about not switching to Linux is gaming. There is a major misconception that you can not use a Linux computer to game. Contrary to what you might have heard, Linux can be used to game. Either by using WINE or playing Linux native games, gaming on Linux just takes some research.
Lets begin by looking at some strictly open sourced games:
Frozen Bubble: This game is like the old Bubble Bobble based “Bust-A-Move” game, or the more recently popular Snood. You have bubbles, 3 kinds of the same color bubble will cause those bubbles and any connected bubbles to fall.
Billards-GL: Image 3D pool, but utilizing OpenGL exclusively. While the controls are a little wonky, the game is rather fun once you become accustom to them. Also, the game looks gorgeous.
FreeCiv: Do you like the ever popular Civilization title? Well this game is based on it. This completely open sourced Civilization like game follows the concept of creating a civilization and then conquering other civilizations to be the ruling class. This game includes some beautiful graphics and online play. For the price of free, it is definitely worth a look. What do you have to lose?
But Linux is not left to solely open sourced games. In fact, many of todays most popular games work under Linux utilizing WINE. The acronym WINE stands for “Wine Is Not an Emulator” and the reason that you should not confuse WINE with an emulator like VMware is because it actually attempts to use the windows libraries to run windows applications. You can use the libraries included with WINE or transfer files over from your Windows installation to get the best benefits. Games that run under WINE include:
World of Warcraft: The ever popular WoW. This Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game has broken records for online gaming and you will be hard pressed to meeting someone who has a computer and has not played this game (except me, I have not played it).
Unreal Tournament: Pick your version, it works under WINE. My current game addiction works pretty well under WINE and does not require a lot of hacking around to get up and running. Kill them all, let God sort them out.
Quake 4: Quake 4, yep it runs.
Basically, you just need to check the WINE Application Database to see if the game you want will run under WINE and what steps (if any) need to be taken to get it to work.Â Most games out today work just fine under Linux using WINE.Â Brand new games can take some time to get working and how long is directly related to how popular the game is.
I hope that you have learned that gaming is not something one has to give up on Linux.Â In fact a Linux desktop can be used for gaming as much as a Windows box can.Â Granted, not every game is going to work and some might not even work 100%, but this is the case in Windows as well, it is just compounded a little more in Linux.