The Best Native Games For Linux

Apr 6, 2011 by

Many people will tell you that there is no end to what you can do with a copy of WINE and a spanner, but many of us simply don’t have the time or energy to wrestle with compatibility layers, and would prefer a simple and straightforward way to play great games created with love, that aren’t just badly modified versions of Quake Arena with far too much bloom, unhindered by our choice in Operating Systems or hardware. So here are the best native Linux games I have come across:

1. Minecraft (Mojang Specifications)


If you haven’t heard of this absolute masterpiece of game design, you must’ve been living under a cobblestone for the past year or so. Created by the inhumanly talented Markus Persson and his team, this is a game that revolves around both creativity and survival, pitting you against the elements and all manner of bizarre creatures as you collect hundreds of blocks, and then build Death Stars with them. Stellar.


2. Darwinia (Introversion Software)


Ever wanted a game that combined vector graphics with real time strategy and god game elements? Me neither, but it bloody well works! Here you take control of your brightly coloured army of Darwinians, and pit them against others in either singleplayer or multiplayer modes, all in varying degrees of surreal 80’s video game colour. Astounding both visually and mechanically, fans of vintage games, real time strategy, or seizures will not want to miss this one.


3. Uplink (Introversion Software)


Another sublime offering from the blighters over at Introversion, but this time the player sees themselves take on the role of an elite hacker, siphoning large quanitities of money into their bank accounts, framing the innocent, creating apocolyptic computer viruses, and various other dasterdly tasks. Grab a copy now, just don’t get any ideas, you sneaky buggers.


4. Defcon (Introversion Software)


Introversion Software pleases again with this excellent global nuclear warfare simulator. Neat gameplay and lovely graphics as always. Not quite as good as Darwinia or Uplink, but certainly worth picking up a copy of.


5. Cave Story (Studio Pixel)


Easily one of the best 2D platform games ever made, created over a period of 5 years by a man called Pixel (who, on a related note, I would donate all of my organs to upon request), and then later re-written for Linux by a bunch of hardcore fans. You simply cannot talk about retro gaming with any conviction until you’ve played this. Get it now.


6. Dwarf Fortress (Bay 12 Games)


Something of an aquired taste, Dwarf Fortress is a game of extreme complexity and low graphical polish (like REALLY low graphical polish, believe me when I tell you this thing is bloody ugly), but one that rewards the player immessurably for ignoring its many shortcomings. Create your fortress and help your Dwarves to thrive, conquering new lands and reaching new levels of social adoration. Well, perhaps not the latter.


7. Digital: A Love Story (Christine Love)


Featuring some of the very best narrative and and design I have ever seen in a game. Find your way through the immersive and wonderful world of the internet in 1988, discover love, a conspiracy, and much more.


8. Oolite (Giles Williams)


A wonderful reincarnation of the classic game “Elite”, a space exploration sim in which you explore a procedurally generated universe, fight pirates, trade, and much more. Because the universe is created upon start-up from a set of complex algorithms, no two players will ever have quite the same experience. Another fantastic (or annoying for some) feature of this game is the extent to which it simulates interstellar travel; all journeys are made in real time with only a map of the current system to aid you. Sometimes journeys between planets and colonies can take half an hour or more. The game can also be expanded and improved hugely with free community made content, one expansion in particular, made by a player called “Griff”, updates the textures and shaders of the game to an astounding degree, and really makes it a joy to play on beefier machines.


9. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)


A beautifully crafted horror game with astonishing graphics and fantastic puzzles. Rather than following the easy path of scaring the player visually alone, huge care has been taken to ensure every aspect of the game will terrify. From the sound, music, gameplay, and graphics, this is stunning, and simply cannot be described as anything other than a masterpiece. Buy a copy now, if you dare.

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