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How to play Quake 1 on Linux

The developers behind Quake have a love-hate relationship with Linux. In the past, they’ve made it possible to use their games on the platform, by releasing the code (and Quake 1 game files) for Linux. As a result, Linux users are able to play the game on their favorite platform. In this tutorial, we’ll show you exactly how you can enjoy the first Quake game, Quake 1 on Linux!

Quake 1 – Quakespasm

The first Quake game is easy to run on Linux, via the Quakespasm engine. Better still, Quake 1 is freeware, so you don’t even have to purchase it to play. To get your copy of Quake 1 working on Linux, open up a terminal and follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Using your package manager, install the Quakespasm program. It’s very important that you install Quakespasm because it’s the only way to get this game working on Linux.

Note: If you own the Windows version of Quake 1, skip the step in the guide that goes over downloading FreeQuake and instead get your own Quake 1 Pak files and set them up in the id1 sub-folder in Quakespasm.


sudo apt install quakespasm


sudo apt-get install quakespasm

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S git base-devel
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/quakespasm.git

cd quakespasm
makepkg -sri


There isn’t a Fedora RPM file for Quakespasm available, and it appears that the project doesn’t want to create one any time soon. Instead, grab the generic one.

wget https://sourceforge.net/projects/quakespasm/files/Linux/quakespasm-0.93.1_amd64.tar.gz/download -O quakespasm.tar.gz

tar zvxf quakespasm.tar.gz


zypper addrepo https://widehat.opensuse.org/opensuse/repositories/games/openSUSE_Leap_15.0/ games

or, for Tumbleweed, do:

zypper addrepo https://widehat.opensuse.org/opensuse/repositories/games/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/ games

Install with:

sudo zypper install quakespasm

Generic Linux

Using a lesser-known distro? Grab the standalone Linux version.

wget https://sourceforge.net/projects/quakespasm/files/Linux/quakespasm-0.93.1_amd64.tar.gz/download -O quakespasm.tar.gz

tar zvxf quakespasm.tar.gz

Step 2: Now that the Quakespasm application is working on your Linux PC, it’s time to download the game files. The only legal way to get the Quake 1 files is with FreeQuake. Sadly, it’s a Windows file.

Head over to our tutorial and set Wine up. Then, use wget to download the FreeQuake file.

wget https://www.quakeone.com/q1files/downloads/quake-shareware-setup-beta099a.exe -O quake.exe

Step 3: Run and install the Windows FreeQuake game. Keep in mind that you won’t be using this. It’s only to get access to the game files for Quakespasm.

wine quake.exe

Step 4: Copy the Pak files from the Wine directory and place them in the correct directory. Keep in mind that these directories change, depending on what distro you’re using.


mkdir -p ~/id1
cp ~/.wine/drive_c/quake/id1/pak0.pak ~/id1

Arch Linux

mkdir -p /usr/local/games/id1
sudo cp ~/.wine/drive_c/quake/id1/pak0.pak /usr/local/games/id1

Fedora/Generic Linux

mkdir -p ~/quakespasm-*_amd64/id1

cp ~/.wine/drive_c/quake/id1/pak0.pak ~/quakespasm-*_amd64/id1


Run the quakespasm command in a terminal and read the output. It should tell you the directory you need to place the id1 sub-directory in.

mkdir -p /location/of/quakespasm/folder/id1
cp ~/.wine/drive_c/quake/id1/pak0.pak /location/of/quakespasm/folder/id1

Step 5: Play Quake 1 with the quakespasm command in terminal. Alternatively, launch the app via your application menu.

Quake 1 – GOG

Another way to get Quake 1 on Linux is through the GOG gaming platform. The primary reason is that it contains all of the game files (not just the freely available FreeQuake files).

To install the GOG version of Quake 1 on Linux, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Head over to our tutorial and learn how to set up the Wine Windows program compatibility layer for Linux.

Step 2: Download the stand-alone Quake 1 installation file from your GOG.com library, or, buy it here if you don’t already own it.

Step 3: Once the download is complete, open up your file manager and click on the “Downloads” folder.

Step 4: Right-click on the EXE file and select “Open with Wine Windows program loader”. Clicking this option will launch the installer.

Step 5: Go through the GUI installation and set up Quake 1. When it’s done installing, you’ll be able to play it by clicking on “Wine,” then “Applications,” then “GOG.com” in your application menu.

Quake 1 – SteamPlay

Do you already own Quake 1 on Steam? Good news! Thanks to Valve’s SteamPlay, it easily runs on most Linux distributions without needing any additional software . To get it running, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Head over to our tutorial about SteamPlay for Linux. Follow it and be sure to enable the technology for all games, and not just officially supported ones.

Step 2: Search through your Steam library and install Quake 1 to your Linux PC.

Step 3: Click the “Play” button and launch Quake on your Linux PC via SteamPlay and get it going!

Having issues playing the Steam version of Quake 1 on Linux with SteamPlay? Be sure to read the ProtonDB post on it, as it’ll help you troubleshoot any problems that may arise when running the game on Linux in this way.

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