One of the things that I have learned to do, to live with my girlfriend, is adopt some games to play as part of my life. This allows me to cool down or relax after hard days work. It also allows me to reflect on what has happened during the day as the game puts me in a state of mind that is complimentary to letting everything slip away. It also gives me something to do while she is working on changing the world.

Considering both her and I run the wonderful Linux distro known as Ubuntu, I thought it was only suitable that I would find my relaxation in a game that might be accessible through the distribution. Considering I come from the background of an old PC gamer, (old read as ‘Jumpman‘) I figured that it would be easy to find a game I enjoyed.

Throughout the years, I have enjoyed games from The Heist on the Commodore 64, to Super Dodge Ball on the Nintendo Entertainment System. From Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold on the 386 to Gears of War on the 360. In other words: I like to consider myself an experienced gamer.

However, most of the reviews that I have read for open source games are more focused on comparing them to the hottest PC and console games. The other reviews are simply limiting the selected games to a certain genre or even just one game. Since Ubuntu comes with very easy to use installation tools for games, I thought that I would be able to find the game that was right for me. However, after downloading, installing, playing and uninstalling many games I have come to one conclusion: there should have been a better guide to let me know if these games were even worth learning how to play.

So, now that I have gone through this process, I have decided to take this guess work out of your hands and bring you the ultimate guide for Ubuntu (or open source) games.

Please Note: this guide is meant for those running Ubuntu. While the games listed in this guide may be easily accessible through other operating systems, this particular guide was written by a user of the Ubuntu distro.

So, first thing is first. How do you start installing your new games? I will state, yet again, that this guide was made for those using an Ubuntu distro of Linux. Considering that: this guide will contain steps that are familiar to users of that operating system. Now that I have repeated myself, I can go ahead with the first steps of the guide:

Getting Games Installed
Before you can start enjoying the many games that are offered in the open source realm, you have to familiarize yourself with the installation process. Unlike Windows, Ubuntu offers a very easy interface to start installing and playing brand new games on your computer.

  1. The very first step is to click on the “Applications” link in the top left corner of your screen:
  2. Then select Add/Remove.
  3. You will now be presented with the wonderfully easy interface for installing new software. To make this guide complete, we are going to be looking at all of the games that are available. To do this, you will want to be sure you are browsing all of the games available. Near the top right you’ll see a down arrow next to “Supported Applications”. Click there.
  4. Select “All Available Applications.
  5. The installation manager may take a moment to update with all of the new applications. Then you can select “Games” from the categories on the left.
  6. Now you can select which games you would like to install by clicking the box next to the game.

Now you’re all set! You can select multiple games and then click on the “Apply Changes” button. It will confirm which games you want to install, and then you can sit back and let the installation manager download and install your new game. It really is that easy!

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for, the game reviews! There are SO many games that are available through this method so it will take quite some time to complete the list. However, I will try to include as many games as possible in each part. Since this is the introductory article, we will start with the first 3 games on the list.

This is a shoot ’em up side scrolling game that delivers about as much excitement as one would expect from a side scrolling game that places you in the futuristic year of 2009. The introduction consists of a graphic of you, Nick Vrenna, holding a smoking gun and looking very much like the female version of Predator from the movies.

Within the first moments of the game I was attacked by a giant UFO shooting missiles. Then I descended down a hole into an underground… area… and there were a bunch of werewolf, looking, things followed by some explosions on the screen from my awkwardly aiming predator-girl-sprite-man-thing. It turns out that if you shoot the werewolves, they explode into a few pieces. Oh, and there are random blinking things and walls that also explode violently when shot.

I tried the multiplayer aspect out. Luckily it exited the game when I ended the LAN with myself because I was about to stab my right eye with a spoon for yearning of a feeling other than this.

Here’s a screenshot of the cross hair that I attempted to aim with and some pieces of a werewolf exploding. I am the brownish blob in the middle. The pieces of werewolves are the reddish-brown blobs flying around me.

While this game may have had some saving graces back in the day, they certainly are not evident right now. I might consider playing this game again if I am bored. However, you can find better side scrolling action in online Flash games that put this game to shame.

Adonthell – Waste’s Edge (Homepage)
The description given of this game in the installation manager is this:

“A 2D graphical RPG game inspired by good old console RPGs like the ones on the SNES. This package contains the Adonthell engine. You’ll also need a game to be able to play. For this release, the official game is Waste’s Edge, found in the package adonthell-data.”

We’ll have to take their word for it. As the game would not run once installed. Should you feel inspired by such an amazing description of the game: you can check out their website to get this game going for you.

If you ever enjoyed the Intellivision back in the day, then you probably remember the awesome two player game Biplanes.

If not, there is a review of the game from GameSpot here. The premise is simple: blue plane vs red plane. This game is meant to be played with another person on the same computer as the AI on the default enemy is hilarious. The game has been updated a bit with new graphics and new obstacles but it is the same old dogfight. The controls are simple enough and the game play is not too fast paced. Overall, this game would be a good one to enjoy with a kid present, or maybe one of your old buddies who used to sit on the floor next to you staring up at the awesomeness that was Biplane.

Here is a shot of that dirty Red Baron being annihilated by the center, rotating, cannon… of death:

Well that’s it for part 1 of the reviews. Since you know how to install the games now, I will be able to include a larger number of games in the next part.

If you liked this part, please subscribe to my RSS feed to be sure you don’t miss out on the Ubuntu (Open Source) Games Review – Part 2.

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