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Are there many high quality commercial games available for Linux? That’s one of the frequently asked questions we receive in our mailbox every week.

It is true to say that the number of commercial games released for Linux each year remains small compared to other platforms. Nevertheless, we faced lots of difficult choices compiling a list of 42 of the best commercial Linux games. The selection we have finally chosen covers a wide range of different game genres, so hopefully there will be something here that will interest all.

To be eligible for inclusion in this list each game needed to be:

  • Released under a proprietary license with a fee required either to purchase the game, or a monthly charge
  • Not require Wine to run. Wine is a compatibility layer for running Windows software

Probably the best known game developer in the industry supporting Linux is id Software. They have ported many of their star titles to Linux, including Quake 4 and Doom 3. The other major innovator in the video game industry is Epic Games. They produced one of the all time classics, Unreal Tournament 2004, which we agonised over whether to include, but the list was already heavyweight in quality action games.

In any feature on Linux commercial games, there also deserves to be a special mention for Loki Entertainment Software. Between 1998 and 2001, they ported a number of games to Linux, almost all to an extremely high standard. Classic titles that spring to mine include Heretic II, Quake III Arena (featured below), Soldier of Fortune, Tribes 2, Myth II: Soulblighter, and Heavy Gear II.

Following in Loki’s footsteps, Linux Game Publishing was established in 2001 to port commercial games to Linux. Their first port was Creatures: Internet Edition.

Advocates of free software may dislike the presence of commercial games. However, having Linux games released commercially sometimes indirectly benefits gamers who prefer, or can only afford, to play freeware games. The most notable example of an awesome commercial game that was subsequently released as freeware is Wolftenstein: Enemy Territory.

Please appreciate that the list below is constantly evolving, and only represents a snapshot in 2008. There are some very exciting games to be released shortly for Linux. Watch out for Rage, Unreal Tournament 3, Sacred Gold, Jack Keane, X3: Reunion, and Celetania in particular. It’s highly probable all of these games will feature in a later ‘Best of 42’ article.

Now, let’s scrutinize the 42 games at hand. For each game we have compiled its own portal page, providing screenshots of the game in action, a full description of the game, with an in-depth analysis of the features of the game, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

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Commercial Games
Cold War Real Time Strategy Action
Darwinia Similar to the classic Cannon Fodder
DOOM 3 Science fiction, survival horror, first-person shooter video
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Multiplayer first-person shooter mixing Enemy Territory and Quake 4
Eve Online Massive multiplayer online game set in a persistent world
Medal of Honor: Allied AssaultHome Flag Authentic Usa Hockey Smith Reilly Golden Stitched Jersey Grey Knights Women's 19 First-person military shooter
Quake 3 Arena Football White 84 Antonio Stitched Steelers Jersey Multiplayer first-person shooter game
Quake 4 Fourth title in the series of Quake first-person shooters
Savage 2 Fantasy and science-fiction; Sequel to Savage: The Battle for Newerth
ThinkTanks Tank combat designed to be a blast
Toribash Ragdoll-physics, turn-based fighting
Penumbra: Black Plague First person horror adventure
Penumbra: Overture Focuses on story, immersion and puzzles
Droid Assault
Top down fast paced high action scrolling space shooter
Galcon High-paced multi-player galactic game
H-Craft Championship Futuristic 3D racing
Marble Blast Gold 3D arcade action game with simple yet addictive gameplay
A Tale in the Desert 8 Football White 84 Antonio Stitched Steelers Jersey Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying set in ancient Egypt
Ankh 2 Adventure game set in ancient Egypt
Neverwinter Nights Set in a huge medieval fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons
Penny Arcade Adventures Episodic video series based on the webcomic Penny Arcade
Vendetta Online 3D space combat Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
Wurm Online Community-centric Massively multiplayer online role-playing
Ancient Empires Lux Play as all the great ancient civilizations
DEFCON Online multiplayer strategy global thermonuclear war
Dominions 3 Turn-based fantasy strategy
Gorky 17 Turn-based tactics mixing elements of strategy and RPG gameplay
Knights and Merchants Medieval-time based real-time strategy
Northland Adventure-Strategy; solve enigmas
Robin Hood Guide a team through missions by avoiding the sentries
Uplink Immersive "computer hacking" simulation
Creatures Internet Edition Supervise the upbringing of a simulated AI creature
Mindrover Intelligent Robot Simulation
X²: The Threat Space trading and combat simulator set in the fictional X-Universe
X-Plane Comprehensive, powerful flight simulator
MasterKick Table football
Shredder Chess Extremely strong chess program
SmallRockets BackGammon Backgammon for the beginner and the experienced enthusiast
Professor Fizzwizzle Platform based mind-expanding puzzle with over 230 levels
Runes of Avalon 2 Puzzle game with a twist
Spandex Force Football White 84 Antonio Stitched Steelers Jersey Create your own hero to clean up Vigilance Valley
The Amazing Brain Train Brain-boosting adventure
Return to our complete collection of Group Tests, identifying the finest free and open source Linux software.

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