Article by Luca Bartoli
Linux is becoming more user friendly and mainstream with every passing year and with the passing of the Beta test for Steam you will have noticed a marked increase of games on offer. Many users are wondering if they still need to rely on Windows to use their PC as a gaming platform or if they can switch to Linux and give Microsoft the boot. This switch does depend somewhat on PC hardware, but generally Linux has proved itself to be a robust and reliable gaming platform that has been growing quietly for several years.
Whilst not yet on the same level as the Apple iOS or Android, Linux also offers hundreds of games and apps that also run on these Java-enabled mobile phones and tablets. With the massive popularity of mobile games the demand for cross compatible entertainment has risen and even top casino establishments have released real money iPhone and Android casino games that can be played on the go.
Free games for Linux have also helped boost its popularity and users are able to download arcade style games at no cost. Additionally, some of the most successful PC games have been released for Linux, with Valve releasing Portal to the public recently, a game that has been called one of the most innovative games of the decade. A hybrid of FPS style and a new genre of spatial brain teasers, Portal offers hours of totally unique gameplay. Set in the mysterious Aperture Science Laboratories, players must solve physical puzzles and challenges by opening portals, maneuvering objects, and moving themselves through space in ways that used to be impossible.
Valve has also released a beta version of co-op favourite; Left 4 Dead 2, the owners of this game should see a special beta version of the game in their Steam library; if not, a client reboot is required.
The Linux beta offers access to the Extended Mutation System, authoring tools and dedicated servers – on par with what’s been available to PC and Mac versions of the title.
In a show of Linux-faith, German game publisher Runesoft has released their award winning game Jack Kean on the gaming platform Desura. Runesoft’s point and click adventure is based on OGRE, a real time, flexible 3D, scene-orientated free rendering engine that has recently received multiplatform support across a variety of operating system platforms.
Colonial England. Under a certain amount of… duress… Jack takes on a job which will not only cause him a great deal of trouble, but also bring to light the answer to a mystery out of his distant past. A lack of money leads Jack to accept a charter to take a British secret agent to mysterious “Tooth Island”. When Jack’s ship shatters on the mysterious island’s cliffs on arrival and the secret agent quickly becomes a meal for a monster in the jungle, Jack is soon left to cope with the situation on his own. “ Tooth Island” is ruled by the strange Doctor T, who is cultivating man-eating plants and has his own dastardly plans for the British Empire. And why does he seem to know Jack, who can’t remember ever having been on Tooth Island? What are Doctor T’s plans? And what does he know about Jack’s past?
Valve’s increased push to move people over to Linux over the last year or so has seen a slow increase in the amount of gamers who rely on the Penguin platform. Valve has ported their back catalogue of games over to Steam for Linux users and every week more Linux games are added to the library, yet growth is not as fast as expected. However the growth of free apps and games available for both Linux on mobile and PC has seen extensive growth and as the mobile market continues to expand Valve may have to readdress their ideas of getting people interested in playing the penguin friendly games.
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