Gaming on Linux: Exploring the Best Options for Gamers

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Gaming on Linux has been a bumpy ride, a challenge taken up by hardcore penguins and deeply compromised gamers alike. In recent times however Linux has been flooded with good publicity and plenty of new recruits and converts… and these dues ex-Macintoshes and Windows lickers need games, dammit. Fortunately, these days they are being catered for with a hefty (and growing) list of distributors and games available, but more on those later.

First, what’s different about the gaming experience when it comes to Linux? Well, as a gamer would hope, not much. Many games are cross-platform and run similarly on Linux as they do on other operating systems. Some games may have different system requirements or may require additional software to run on Linux. However, this has the payoff of lower overhead of the operating system and efficient use of hardware resources resulting in better gaming performance. So if the system fits the game it could well be optimal! And if, I know this is rare but if, and I’m going out on a limb here but IF you’re someone who likes money, one of those rare breeds, then Linux is hands down the most cost-effective platform when it comes to gaming. There are a ton of free games and the ones that aren’t free are cheaper than other operating systems. On the topic of money, it’s worth noting that iGaming (online casinos) runs smoother on Linux than on other operating systems. So, if, like most Linux users, you are into optimization, be on the lookout for online casino promotions, so you can rinse through the bonuses; – ).

The most Linuxy part about gaming on Linux is the availability of open-source software and modding communities, which can provide additional content and customization options for games. Penguin huddles are always fun and now that they are being permeated with, well, effing noobs, the OG Linux users are like… emperor penguins?

Anyway, on to the games!

While Linux is not as well-supported as other platforms, there’s an extremely diverse range to get your teeth into:

  • Dota 2
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Team Fortress 2
  • Civilization V
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Minecraft
  • Euro Truck Simulator 2
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  • Portal 2
  • Left 4 Dead 2

And these are only a small part of the highlights of a far longer list. With the rise of Steam’s Proton compatibility layer, an increased number of Windows games are becoming playable on Linux, too. Although the operating system is as old as… I don’t know, grunge? Moon boots? Space Invaders 2? Almost prehistoric, if we consider all of history to be internet history, and despite this it’s enjoying something of a rebirth and rise to popularity. The future’s all ahead of us.  

Gaming Platforms for Linux

There are several gaming platforms available for Linux, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few of the most popular options:

Steam: the biggest gaming platform on Linux, with thousands of games available for purchase. It also has a robust community of Linux gamers, with forums, groups, and a dedicated Linux section of the Steam store.

Lutris: an open-source gaming platform that supports a variety of games, including those from Steam, GOG, and other sources. It also has a strong focus on compatibility, with automatic installation of game-specific dependencies and compatibility layers.

PlayOnLinux: a compatibility layer that simplifies the installation of Windows games on Linux. It supports a wide range of games and has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to manage virtual drives and other settings.

Wine: another compatibility layer that allows Windows software to run on Linux. While it’s not specifically designed for gaming, it’s a powerful tool that a Linux user would be wise to use for gaming.

Hardware Requirements for Linux Gaming

Before you go, make sure your machine can handle Linux gaming. Whilst the operating system is least demanding of operating system the hardware requirements for gaming can still be quite high. If you are a seasoned gamer, this won’t be news but here are some minimum hardware requirements for Linux gaming:

  • A processor with a clock speed of at least 2GHz
  • At least 4GB of RAM
  • A dedicated graphics card with at least 2GB of VRAM
  • A solid-state drive (SSD) for faster load times

These are just minimum requirements, and more powerful hardware will yield better performance. It’s also worth noting that some games may have higher hardware requirements than others.

Final thoughts

With the rise of Linux’s popularity, more and more games are becoming available on the platform. While Linux may not have the same level of support as Windows, it’s still a viable choice for gamers, and besides: it’s only a matter of time! By experimenting with the various games on offer, the hardware requirements, and the different gaming platforms, you can find the best options for your Linux gaming needs.