Linux Games – Is it time to try them out?

Linux games started as an extension of Unix games and later evolved to introduce its titles in various genres like racing games, sports games, trading card games, and much more. As the Linux operation system grew by each passing year, open source and free games increased in scalability and complexity. Linux gaming platform began in 1994 with the introduction of Doom by Dave D. Talyor and today there are high-end games like Dirt Rally, Rocket League, and much more.


The 90s was an era of pop songs, Disney Renaissance period, and Pokemon cards, but what it was not famous for was Linux games. After the release of Doom, many unsupported executables of Quake 4 and Doom 3 were launched, which you can run on Linux after purchasing the Windows version.

Back in the time, Wine and CodeWeavers CrossOver were the two biggest hopes for Linux gamers. Wine would enable the Windows games to run on Linux but resulted in performance loss and annoying bugs.

Then there is always light at the end of the tunnel, as during the end of the 90s, Loki Software launched and encouraged game developers to port to Linux. This platform gave Linux games like Civilization: Call to Power, which was a big deal for Linux gamers at that time. Soon Ryan Gordon, one of the members who worked for Loki Software became Linux gaming sensation by porting high-profile games like Goat Simulator and Psychonauts, and much more. Even today he is carrying on the great work of giving Linux gamers some kind of cool games to play.

Later, LGP Company took on the job of porting games to Linux but soon was burnout due to their high prices of bargain games. Today, Aspyr Media and Feral Interactive are the major companies filling this gap for Linux gamers.


As Loki and LGP bid their goodbye to the Linux games, until the year of 2008, no one was much interested in launching or even porting their games to this operation system. In 2009, an Open Source RTS game, which also used SDL (a Loki Software production) was launched and became a huge sensation among the Linux gamers.  In 2010, Indie games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent were released and gave Linux gamers hope of getting the best first person experience of a horror game.

Later in May 2010, Humble Bundle was introduced that promised DRM-free games and Linux gamers showered overwhelming support. All games in Humble Bundle were cross-platform, and most of the games were fairly priced. At this point, Linux games faced one biggest trouble – Absence of web store. Many big stores ignored Linux, but then Desura came along and things started to look up again.

Desura is an online store that keeps games up-to-date for Linux gamers, using Steam-like client base. They supported Linux games and ported Desura clients to Linux desktops. In hope to attract more community developers, they made the platform open source. The buzz was short-lived, as Desura was unable to launch any new Linux client update and posed restrictions on contributor agreement for any developers wanting to write code for their open source client. Even though Desura died out, it proved to the world that technical reasons were no longer an issue with Linux games and there was a big business opportunity in this field of gaming.


At the end of 2012, Valve launched its Steam on Linux and caused bit of a stir in Linux games community. Most viewed Steam as a replica of DRM, where you have to download the software to play games. Soon it became hard to deny the good things Steam was bringing to the Linux gaming! By launching many Linux-related projects, it eventually increased the awareness about Linux as a gaming operating system. While Steam entered the domain of Linux, Valve also pushed its games onto Linux and even publicized their great compatibility with Linux’s OpenGL.

The question arises, why gaming with Steam on Linux is the best option? Thanks to the compatibility apps like Wine and PlayonLinux, Steam is a popular choice for Linux gamers. Apart from valve embracing Linux, there are also other immensely popular developers like Blizzard (World of Warcraft developers), who are looking forward to entering Linux gaming in a big way!

Coming back to the question of why Linux gamers should pick Steam Client, the answer is pretty simple – highly compatibility, more gaming options, better graphics, fewer bugs, and reasonable cost.

You can see an installation guide on how to install Steam on Linux by pressing here.

SteamOS with Valve’s custom Linux distribution and pushed its Steam Machine consoles. You can enjoy the famed Steam Controller that can work on Linux like USB device. Its look will change the gamepads industry forever, and you can enjoy a wide range of fun and interactive games with Steam on Linux. Without Valve and Steam, Linux games would not have gotten this far!


With such incredible success and growth rate of Linux games, the future is very hopeful. Maybe even EA Games will announce their support for Linux soon, or the graphics quality will improve to the next level with more developers joining the Linux games revolution.

Linux gamers are nothing like regular gamers; they are fierce, technically sound, and are willing to add something new to the Linux gaming community. Linux games belong to a different set of people who are willing to do what it takes to swim against the stride and contribute to Linux games in a more dedicated format.

Linux gaming is not just a sideshow for gamers; it is where the real innovation is happening!


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