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Tuesday, February 17: Small-Time Gaming with Linux

Chris DiBona

PC gaming is getting better for Linux users. Games such as Quake and Unreal Tournament can be played natively on Linux machines. Others, such as Jedi Outcast, can be played via Transgaming Technologies' WineX emulator.

That's all well and good, but what about Tetris, Tetravex, or plain old Solitaire?

These games, while small, are some of the world's greatest diversions. Got a few minutes to kill? A game of Minesweeper is a wonderful distraction. As it turns out, when it comes to small-time time-wasters, Linux users are a lucky lot, with a ton of titles to choose from.

I've listed some of the most addictive little games and a few of the larger time-wasting wonders that come with an installation of Red Hat Linux 8.0 (

Tetris Clones

In the Tetris-like game category, we have a number of offerings, including Ksirtet, Ksmiletris, and a fun little twist on Tetris called KfoulEggs. As you can probably tell, I'm concentrating mostly on KDE apps because KDE is what I run.

Mahjongg Mayhem
  • Shisen-Sho

  • Kmahjongg

Card Sharks
  • Patience

  • Poker

  • Skat

Board Games
  • Go and Reversi-style games

  • Chinese checkers (Kenolaba)

  • Chess

  • Backgammon (personal favorite)

More Action

If these games are too slow for you, I suggest some of the faster-paced games included with Red Hat, such as KSpaceduel, which is based on the old SpaceWar games, and Kasteroids, which is an Asteroids clone.

Even More Action

These games are pretty fun, but a few even cooler games come with Red Hat, including Chromium, a space shooter; Tux Racer, a sledding penguin game; and Freeciv, a free version of Civilization.

Find More Games for Linux and have even more free games for Linux. Most of these games, including the very addictive Frozen-Bubble, are included on the Knoppix Linux demo CD, so if you don't feel like installing Linux, you can still play all these great games.

Download of the Day: DX-Ball

Megan Morrone

Amiga fans will remember MegaBall, a popular Breakout-like game that ran on just about any Amiga. Now you can download a MegaBall clone called DX-Ball ( for free on Windows 9X/NT/2000 or Mac OS 8/9/X. The website doesn't mention XP, but it ran fine on my XP machine.

The game (created by Michael P. Welch) is similar to MegaBall and Breakout. If you've played Hardball for Palm, you'll also see similarities. The object of the game is to hit the ball with your paddle (using your mouse) and knock out the pyramid of blocks. When the ball hits the ground (or the bottom of the screen), you lose a life. The twist to DX-Ball is that not all blocks are created equal. When you first start up the game, you'll see a key to the secrets that each special block contains. Try it. You'll like it.

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