Five Must Have Linux Games Jeremy LaCroix 04/18/07
Ubuntu is one of the most popular distributions of Linux not only due to its ease of use, but also due in part to the number of and diversity of the many software packages available. I could write about applications such as Open Office which helps make me more productive, or Evolution for making it easy for me to keep in touch with my contacts, but all work and no play would be a very boring.
Today I'm going to talk about how to have fun with your new OS. Since Ubuntu is full of applications, available with just a few clicks, you have access to a large number of programs and among them, even games. Here is a list of the greatest Ubuntu games. I decided to only list the free games that are available to you. There are many great PC games out there, and a good number of Windows games are already compatible with Ubuntu or compatible with some hacking, however the games on my list are native to Linux and require nothing special to get working that you aren't already familiar with if you're a gamer.
Applications in Ubuntu are primarily installed via Synaptic or Add/Remove programs (Both available in the menu). You can use either method to install the games on this list. I will designate the names of the packages to look for.
In order for these games to come up in your search, you may have to enable extra repositories as explained here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/Ubuntu In addition, if you're using Add/Remove programs, you may have to select “all available applications” before some of the games will show up when searching.
Note: Some of the games on this list require accelerated graphics. I will designate this in their descriptions. If you are unsure how to enable acceleration, please see the links below. https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BinaryDriverHowto/Nvidia (For Nvidia based video cards). https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BinaryDriverHowto/ATI (For ATI based video cards).
Title: Frozen Bubble Genre: Puzzle Homepage: http://www.frozen-bubble.org/ Official Description: “Frozen-Bubble is a clone of the popular "Puzzle Bobble" game, in which you attempt to shoot bubbles into groups of the same color to cause them to pop. It features 100 single-player levels, a two-player mode, music and striking graphics. ” What Makes It Good: There's nothing like penguins to brighten up your day. Frozen Bubble, a puzzler similar to SNK's “ Puzzle Bobble” back in the arcade scene, remains to this day one of the most popular Linux games of all time. There's a good reason, too, because it's also the most addictive. The goal is to break all of the colored orbs hanging from the ceiling. You do so by shooting more orbs at them, trying to match the colors. If the orbs touch the bottom, you lose. It sounds simple, however its very challenging. Ubuntu 7.04 includes Frozen Bubble 2 available for download, which includes some nice new features, such as extended network play, and chain reactions. Installation: Install the package “frozen-bubble”.
Title: Battle For Wesnoth Genre: RTS Homepage: http://www.wesnoth.org/ Official Description: “Battle for control of villages, using variety of units which have advantages and disadvantages in different types of terrains and against different types of attacks. Units gain experience and advance levels, and are carried over from one scenario to the next campaign.” What Makes It Good: Battle for Wesnoth is a real time strategy game that can be played online against other players or online against the CPU. There are even fan-made campaigns you can download right from Ubuntu's repositories, extending the game even further. In most campaigns the goal is to defeat your enemies leader. Take control of villages to earn money, and summon troops to aide you. When you have a formidable army, position your troops in as strategic a way as possible to ensure victory. Installation: Search for wesnoth in add/remove programs, or choose individual features to install via Synaptic.
Title: Chromium Genre: Shooter Homepage: http://www.reptilelabour.com/software/chromium/ Official Description: “Chromium is a top down fast paced high action scrolling space shooter which uses the SDL libs. In this game you are the captain of the cargo ship Chromium B.S.U., and responsible for delivering supplies to our troops on the front line. Your ship has a small fleet of robotic fighters which you control from the relative safety of the Chromium vessel.” What Makes It Good: Stunning graphics, kicking music, and shooting action. What more could you possibly want? Chromium has some easy controls too, as everything is controlled by your mouse. Chromium, even in its easiest difficulty level, is a very challenging game. Its been said in a sense that the goal of Chromium is to relieve anger from a stressful day, not necessarily to win. Losing has definitely never been so much fun! Installation: Install the package chromium.
Title: Planet Penguin Racer Genre: Downhill Racing Homepage: Unknown Official Description: “Planet Penguin Racer, or ppracer as it is called for short, is a simple OpenGL racing game featuring Tux, the Linux mascot. The goal of the game is to slide down a snow- and ice-covered mountain as quickly as possible, avoiding the trees and rocks that will slow you down. Collect herrings and other goodies while sliding down the hill, but avoid fish bones. This game is based on the GPL version of the famous game TuxRacer. You should have working 3D acceleration for your X or this game will run quite slow.” What Makes It Good: Planet Penguin Racer is a fully 3D racing game, is a blast to play and looks absolutely gorgeous. Its based on Tux Racer, however this version adds much more content such as new courses and features. Please note that hardware acceleration for graphics is recommended for smooth game play. Installation: Search for Planet Penguin Racer in Add/Remove Programs, or install the packages planet-penguin-racer, planet-penguin-racer-data, and planet-penguin-racer-extras in Synaptic.
Title: Neverball Genre: Other/Puzzle Homepage: http://icculus.org/neverball/ Official Description: “In the grand tradition of Marble Madness and Super Monkey Ball, Neverball has you guide a rolling ball through dangerous territory. Balance on narrow bridges, navigate mazes, ride moving platforms, and dodge pushers and shovers to get to the goal. Race against the clock to collect coins to earn extra balls.” What Makes It Good: The interesting thing here is that your keyboard or mouse controls the platform the ball is on, instead of the ball itself. When you tilt the platform, the ball will respond and roll around, and you must collect enough coins without falling off the platform or running out of time. The graphics are full 3D and as such, hardware acceleration is required for this game to run properly. Installation: Install the package neverball.