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GNU/Linux: do we have games at all?   (Searching games)

Some good games for GNU/Linux

...and how to use wine in order to play some non linux-native games
(by fravia+, first published at searchlores in February 2008 - work in fieri)

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Version 0.05: April 2008


The aim of this small section is to help my own three kids and the many GNU/Linux user that began to dispair after having seen the extremely poor quality of most "linux games" (see the poor linux gamescape below). In fact we will divide the list of hopefully good games into two sections: a (unfortunately quite short) list of native (or ported to) linux games and another, a tag longer, list of good windows games you can run through wine (once wine has been correctly configured).

The poor gamescape of GNU/Linux

What is a good game? It is a program you will use for YEARS, not for a couple of weeks. It must have a deep strategical and tactical content. It must offer (almost) infinite variations. It must be clever. Least AND last, the better the graphic, the better the experience. Unfortunately, this order of priorities has been completely -and perversely- reversed on the marketplace. Games are sold for their frills and graphic splendour, the game engines themselves are so poor (and often so buggy) that after a couple of days users lose any interest. This is exemplified by the dire gamescape of almost all consoles: first person shooters, almost all of them, but with prima-rate graphic, almost all of them. Note also the total absence of games with in-built EDITORS in most consoles. An editor that allows users to implement their own ideas is the sine qua non for the longevity of a game. When thousand people write their own scenarios or mods, you get a huge base of supporters and the game survives the short market "pitch".
But most "frills" games rely only on graphic, and have no depth whatsoever. Yet graphic is so unimportant that we can see many happily playing -in 2008!- awful prehistoric "gwbasic" games, or simple java games, on their GSMs (granted: most of such unwashed also "buy" ringtones and happily exchange -at high connection price- useless MMSs... and since we are by GSM zombies: Why would anyone in the world want to "rotate wallpapers" on his GSM defies my comprehension).

Back to games. Truth is that there are not many games that deserve to be played. Here a completely personal (YMMV: additions and suggestions -and critics- are welcome) short list of "long term" games, some of them quite old, that you should find, because you could, and probably will, play them for some years:

Note that there's no first person shooter whatsoever in my list, they are all the same game anyway: once you have played Quake or Openarena, you have played them all.
To the above list we could add Fact is, as we will see below, that GNU/Linux still offers very few satisfying games. I mean: games à la "tux racer" are a joke (how anyone can advice such things as "good games for linux" without blushing goes completely beyond me).
Wine, a windows "non emulator" (wine is not an emulator) comes to the rescue and allows us to play some good games until we'll have enough "critical mass" to compel the game producers to reserve to the growing mass of GNU/Linux users the attention they should reserve to their own future.

Good native (or ported to) linux games

A short list I am afraid (additions and suggestions -and critics- are welcome):

Good games using wine

A short list I am afraid (additions and suggestions -and critics- are welcome):

Well, let's see: train simulators, rail simulators, some strategy/tactic, RPGs, even FPSs, and chess and cards... after all the list we had prepared above is quite fullfilled through linux native games and through wine-enabled games. Unfortunately Combat Mission and flight simulator 2004 and X (i.e. flight simulator 9 and 10) do not run through the current version of wine... but soon or later they will!

The really nice thing with GNU/Linux is that it improves al the time!

(c) 3rd Millennium: [fravia+], all rights reserved, reversed, revealed and reviled