Long ago, gaming on Linux was just a dream. Barely anyone in the gaming space paid attention to it, and Linux fans had to resort to using tools like Wine to run Windows games on Linux. These days, there are over 4,000 native video games on Linux via Valve’s Steam store. In addition, several open source game developers have taken to make free Linux games for users to play.
These video games are built on open source libraries and technologies, and run completely native on the platform. They’re excellent projects, and with them, Linux users have an excellent library of games to choose from. In this list, we’ll go over some of the best (and most fun) open source, free Linux games. Each one of these games are completely free of charge, and readily available to install on any Linux distribution!
The first game on our list is none other than Xonotic. It’s a fast-pace first person shooter that takes a lot of inspiration from arena shooters like Unreal Tournament,and Quake.
Xonotic aims to be the quintessential free, open source multiplayer FPS on the market. It certainly is; the graphics quality, and overall design of the game is top notch. The game supports multiplayer via LAN and internet servers, has support for bots, and several different game types (CTF, Team Death Match, and etc).
If you love a good multiplayer shooter, do give this one a go. You won’t be able to put it down. Xonotic is cross-platform and available on Mac, Windows and Linux. Download it here.
FreeCiv is a free, open source clone of the popular turn-based strategy game “Civilization”. Much like the original Civilization series, FreeCiv allows players to start a civilization and advance it from the dawn of the stone age into the future and beyond!
3. Battle for Wesnoth
Battle For Wesnoth is a high fantasy, turn based strategy game that focuses on both single player and multiplayer combat.
Manage your army, and defend your kingdom through the 16 single player campaigns in a beautiful, hand-animated, pixel art world.
4. Super Tux Kart
Fans of Mario Kart will love this one: it’s a hectic go-kart racer starring Linux’s own mascot, Tux! The concept of the game is to race on courses against other racers. Like Nintendo’s Mario Kart, players get to try out various crazy courses and attack others with items they pick up on the track.
Super Tux Kart supports multiple human players on one PC via split screen. Learn more about the game here!
Open Morrowind isn’t a game. Instead, it’s an entirely open source re-implementation of the popular computer game “The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind”.
Using this engine allows users to run Morrowind natively on Linux, with added features, such as: mod support, widescreen resolution support, enhanced texture modifications, improved performance, lighting and etc.
Note: users are required to supply their own copy of Morrowind to play.
If you’re looking for some good cartoon fun, check out Teeworlds. It’s a two dimensional multiplayer video game that makes heavy use of classic 2d game mechanics.
Everything is sprite-based, and done like a side-scrolling platformer with a twist: head to head combat. Players can battle each other either on the local network via LAN, or play on multiplayer servers.
Multiplayer gametypes include death match, team death match, and a capture the flag mode.
7. Open Arena
Open Arena was an open source derivative first person shooter heavily based on the technologies and mechanics of Id Tech’s Quake III: Arena.
Fans of the Quake series will feel right at home with this game, as the mechanics and gameplay are virtually identical. Despite the fact that Open Arena uses the Quake 3 engine, no files from the original Q3 game are necessary to play it. The game isn’t under development any more, but despite this it is still available for installation on all major Linux distributions.
Gametypes include Free For All, CTF, Domination, Overload and Harvester.
Want to play Minecraft but not interested in paying 25$? Try out Minetest instead! It’s an open world sanbox building game.
One of the main selling points for the Minetest game is that it doesn’t run with Java, and instead uses something much more native. In addition, the development of the game is out in the open, and anyone can contribute features, and modes!
Much like the eponymous Minecraft, users can explore a procedurally generated world filled with various types of terrain, harvest resources, as well as survive, build and fight monsters.
Gaming on Linux has come a long way, thanks to dozens of open source developers deciding to make games of their own. Without this kind of passion, who knows if mainstream game developers would have brought their games over?
What’s your favorite free and open source game on Linux? Tell us in the comment section below!