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I just noticed the GamingOnLinux page, this needs to be merged with that but it's late and I'm too tired. -- OliverJones

When people think computer games, rarely does Linux come into the picture. This doesn't necessarily have to be the case. Linux as a wealth of "casual" games. Both KDE and GNOME have collections of games like FreeCell, Minesweeper, Bejeweled, etc.

There are also a number of quite good OpenSource and Commercial games in a variety of genres. Good sites to go to are:

There are also a swag of games in a number of the Yum/APT repositories for RedHat and Debian based distros. Seek and you shall find.

On the otherhand you may already have a collection of Windows Games. Certainly this is the most likely type of computer game you will find in stores.

My basic advice to a Linux user who wants to play mainstream Windows games is to maintain a secure, well groomed "Wintendo" partition in which to play these games. This is certainly the easiest and most reliable way to get your mainstream gaming fix. It is what I do.

However, if you don't have a legitimate license of Windows or don't want to use Windows you can still play games. On a console. Go buy a PS2, XBOX or Gamecube. Seriously.

Ok so you want to play games on your PC and not use Windows. Well then, you're in for some grief. It can be done. But it isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Don't believe the hype as they say.

The only really viable way to play Windows games on Linux is with Transgaming's Cedega product (what was once known as WineX). You can also use the stock "WINE" Windows non-emulator. But you will probably have less joy than with Cedega. Be aware that Cedega is a commercial app. It was forked off of WINE when WINE was BSD licensed. WINE is now LGPL so people can no longer do this.

Personally it has been a while since I used Cedega. I no longer subscribe to the $60USD/year 'service' so I can't test new versions. The games that I did get to run when I had a subscription were:

  • Diablo 2 (with sound glitches)
  • StarCraft? (slow graphics with sound glitches)
  • Battlefield 1942 (with limited success, crashes etc)
  • Warcraft 3 (ran well in the undocumented OpenGL mode but with a reduced frame rate)

As you can see I didn't exactly test it with a very broad range of games. Quite a few of the games I wanted to play just plain didn't install, let alone run.

Now the marketing on the Transgaming website would have you believe that many games will run flawlessly. And they are not entirely wrong. Each version of WineX?/Cedega did get better and better and "support" more titles. But the games I ran were never "perfect" or flawless. There was always some 'tweaking' to be done. Some were very good, like Diablo 2 and Warcraft 3, but they still had non-fatal but annoying glitches or reduced performance. Some Cedega users report complete "Windows like" success when running games like Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike. The product has received many good reviews. But be aware that your mileage may vary.

Other caveates are that Cedega only really supports nVidia graphics cards for 3D games. Forget about using DRI/Mesa 3D drivers. ATI binary driver support is also patchy.

So like I said, if your time is money, then you're better off maintaining a "Wintendo" partition or, if you want to save yourself the frustration expense of maintaing an NVIDIA GPU habit, get a console. When you tire of your games you can always modchip the console, install Linux on it and use it as a media centre.

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