Gaming on Linux Mint
Gaming on PC has historically been the domain of the Windows operating system. That’s true even to this day. While there are some awesome Linux games on the market, most modern games are primarily developed with Windows in mind.
However, Linux gaming has come a long way since then. Long gone are the days when you had to tinker with numerous packages, scripts, and whatnot to make even the simplest game run consistently. Thanks to the relentless community effort, Linux gaming is something one can seriously consider.
However, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. There are a couple of hiccups that you should know when deciding a game on Linux:
- Not all games are playable on Linux. Some games may require significant tinkering to make it work.
- If a game comes with anti-cheat software, there’s a good chance that the game won’t run. While some anti-cheat solutions support Linux, it’s up to the game developer to implement it. Realistically, not many game developers exist who are keen on supporting Linux.
- The game performance will take a noticeable hit.
Linux Mint is a mainstream Linux distro with support for graphics drivers from all the major vendors (AND, NVIDIA, and Intel) and APIs like Vulkan. Thus, it’s a great distro choice for Linux gaming.
Gaming Tools on Linux Mint
Before going further, let’s talk about a few different tools that you should know about.
WINE is the main tool that makes Linux gaming possible. It’s a compatibility layer that allows the Windows-specific programs to be run on Linux. It’s not an emulator, hence the name WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator).
As a compatibility layer, WINE translates the Windows API calls with its equivalent POSIX calls on-the-fly. Compared to virtualization, this approach significantly improves performance and reduces memory penalties.
Steam is one of the most popular video game digital distribution service by Valve. Steam is one of the big forces that pushes the Linux gaming forward.
The Steam desktop client for Linux comes prepared with Proton, a WINE fork with various tweaks and patches. The goal is to allow any Steam game to run on Linux without manual scripting and patching. Check out ProtonDB to learn more about the compatibility of your favorite game.
The Steam Deck is yet another reason for Valve to push the Linux gaming. It’s a handheld gaming console that runs its own Linux build and uses Proton to run most of the games from the Steam web store. Check out how to installi the Steam client on Linux Mint.
Free Games on Linux Mint
The following list is a collection of some of the popular gaming titles that features some of the finest games that you can play on Linux. The list is in no particular order:
1. Dota 2
Dota 2 is easily one of the top MOBA titles with millions of active players worldwide. It’s a free-to-play game with microtransactions for cosmetics.
2. 0 A.D.
0 A.D. is a free and open-source RTS game by Wildfire Games. It’s a strategy game where you’re in charge of leading a civilization to victory. The game puts a strong emphasis on historical accuracy in every single aspect: units, buildings, languages, etc.
Under Linux Mint, 0 A.D. is directly available from the default package repos. Check out the official installation guide of 0 A.D.
3. Team Fortress 2
Among the multiplayer shooter titles, Team Fortress 2 is one of the oldest. Originally released back in 2007 by Valve, it still has a somewhat decent player base. While it’s a free-to-play title, you can buy various interesting cosmetic items through microtransactions.
However, the TF2 community has shown concerns over how Valve treated this game over time. Despite the neglect, there are some diehard fans out there that’s keeping the game alive.
4. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
It’s yet another legendary FPS game. Released back in 2012, CS:GO was originally a paid game but was made free-to-play around 2018.
It’s yet another Steam game with native Linux support. Unturned is a free-to-play zombie survival game. Besides killing zombie hoards and foraging/farming, you also have to deal with other players: friends, foes, or neutral.
The game features a massive world with a wide variety of locations to explore: Germany, Washington, Hawaii, Russia, and more. With the appropriate vehicle, you can explore the world by land, air, or sea.
The game also comes with mod support. Check out Unturned on Steam.
6. Path of Exile
PoE is one of the most popular MMORPGs with Linux support through Proton. The game is set in a dark fantasy world where you fight to survive. With tons of weapons and customization, you fight your way through hordes of demons and creatures.
It’s a free-to-play title with no pay-to-win features. Check out Path of Exile on Steam.
7. AdVenture Capitalist
Looking for a casual indie title? AdVenture Capitalist is a clicker title where you grind your way to total fiscal domination. It’s a free-to-play game with native Linux support.
Check it out on Steam.
We briefly explored the current state of Linux gaming. We also listed some of the popular free-to-play Linux games that you can start playing right now.
Note that not all of your favorite games are available on Steam. However, for the best compatibility, Steam is the better option. Don’t forget to check the ProtonDB rating before purchasing any game.