Originally Published: Friday, 27 October 2000 Author: Matt Michie
Published to: enhance_articles_games/General Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Penguin Classics

In today's high-paced world of 3D gaming and $300 specialized video cards, 2D games are overlooked and under appreciated. This article will give an overview of some classic Linux games as well as some state-of-the-art, upcoming titles.

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In today's high-paced world of 3D gaming and $300 specialized video cards, 2D games are overlooked and under appreciated. This article will give an overview of some classic Linux games as well as some state-of-the-art, upcomingtitles.


XBill is the type of game one plays after a hard day at work, particularly if your work involves any Microsoft products. Originally written in 1994 by Brian Wellington and Matias Duarte, it has survived the years since and has recently been ported to GTK/Gnome.

The game pits you, a System-administrator/Exterminator, "against an evil computer hacker known only by his handle 'Bill'." The evil baby-Bills scramble across the screen in ever growing swarms, attempting to infiltrate Windows onto your pristine network. Once a computer is infected, it attempts to spread its code across the network. You'll have to put out the fires, and squish the Bills before it is too late. The beauty of this game lies in its simplicity; there'sno need to cope with complex strategies or practice hours to enjoy the simple elegance.

Find out more about this classic Linux game at http://XBill.org/.


WorldForge is an open source game engine designed with flexibility and playability in mind. The first use for the engine will be to build a fantasy multi-user online dungeon-type environment with a graphical interface. Because of its inherent flexibility, the game has several clients, including 3D and 2D versions. At the time of this writing, there are two 2D clients for X11.

Once completed, the engine will probably spawn several genres of games. The open source code, art, and music can be used to create entirely new worlds, such as a scifi setting, or even a modern day role playing experience. WorldForge is still under heavy development, but it is moving forward everyday. The company already have a small preview release to test some of their technologies. There are already downloadable previews for several clients; give one of them a shot!

If you are familiar with either Diablo or Ultima Online you'll already have a good feel for what these clients are headed toward. You'll be able to form parties, explore, go on quests, battle monsters, and because it is free you won't have to pay for updates or worry about monthly connection fees!

Find out more about this upcoming contender at WorldForge.org. Choose a 2D client from http://www.worldforge.org/website/clients/uclient/, http://www.worldforge.org/website/clients/anvil or http://www.worldforge.org/website/clients/tkClient.


Freeciv is a free software game success story. Originally started as a clone of Civilization II, it has matured into a a full multi-player turn-based strategy game. The goal is to grow a civilization from a small band of settlers into a world-wide empire.

As the god-like figure peering down from above, you'll have to control food production, trade, military units, government, and more. As leader, you need to make sure your people are happy and make sure that your tribe keeps up with other civilizations in research and building "wonders of the world" to improve efficiency.

The game is split into a true client and server, so you'll not only be able to connect to other Internet games, but host them yourself. Since the game is also open source, you can extend and change the game to suit your needs. The rule sets can also be modified for local games or tournaments as required.

Find out more and download the game at http://freeciv.org/. Be sure to read the excellent manual and tutorials.


Lincity follows the footsteps of the original SimCity. Just like the commercial product this X11/SVGA Linux version gives you the helm of a bustling city. As mayor you are expected to make the tough decisions to allow the city to growto its full potential. With your expert guidance, your city can either flourish or become unlivable and full of pollution.

You'll have to decide where to zone commercial and residential areas, place power lines, hospitals, police stations, roads and other city necessities. Like the first SimCity, this game can quickly become addictive as you continue to tweak your city in the quest for growth and success. It is a satisfying feeling when your city begins to take off!

Even if you don't have the latest hardware, there are still plenty of Linux games in the two-dimensional realm that will keep you entertained for hours, without having to reboot into that other operating system!

Visit Lincity's homepage at http://www.floot.demon.co.uk/lincity.html.

Matt Michie exists in the New Mexican desert. Please visit his web site at http://daimyo.org/.

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