Wednesday, July 25, 2012

100 "Funnest" Open Source Games and Apps

It's become something of a summer tradition here at Datamation to take a break from featuring open source apps for businesses and concentrate on open source apps that are just plain fun. This year, we've updated and expanded our list of the open source movement's "funnest" apps with 100 titles in all. We've added two entirely new categories: board games and sports games, and we found plenty of good games that we had overlooked on previous versions of this list.
As you read through, you'll probably notice that many of the titles are remakes or are designed "in the tradition of" older games, many of them from the 90s, 80s, or even earlier. It seems open source developers often miss the games they played in their youth and update them for the new generation of players.
You also might notice that a small but growing number of these games are available for mobile platforms, particularly Android. Given the growing popularity of smartphones, that trend shouldn't be a surprise, and it seems likely to continue.
With no further ado, here's the 2012 edition of the "funnest" open source apps. As always, please use the comments section below to let us know about any worthy apps we might have overlooked.
(P.S. For the grammar nazis out there, we know that "funnest" isn't a word--that's why it's in quotes.)

Arcade Games

1. BZFlag
Also known as "Battle Zone Capture the Flag," BZFlag is based on one of the most popular games ever created for Silicon Graphics machines. With nearly 200 servers available, it's fairly easy to find a group to play this multi-player 3D tank game. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
2. The Legend of Edgar
On a dark and stormy night, Edgar's father fails to return home, leading Edgar to believe he has been captured by an evil sorcerer. In this 2D game, players help Edgar overcome obstacles, solve puzzles, defeat enemies and find his father. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
3. Powermanga
Similar to the old arcade game Galaga, Powermanga is a 2D space shooter with 41 levels to play. It's good for hours of shoot 'em up fun. Operating System: Linux.
4. Rocks'N'Diamonds
A definite oldie, Rocks'N'Diamonds is a multiplayer arcade game "in the tradition of" Boulder Dash, Emerald Mine, Supaplex and Sokoban. Thanks to an active user community, tens of thousands of levels are available. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
5. SuperTux
SuperTux is a classic 2D, side-scrolling jump-and-run game featuring Tux the Linux penguin. It offers 26 different levels where you can take on nine different enemies. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
6. Secret Maryo Chronicles
This game resurrects the 2D look of the old Mario Bros. games. Thanks to low system requirements, it runs on older PCs just fine, and it includes a level editor so you can make up your own levels. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
7. Scorched3D
A modernized version of Scorched Earth, this turn-based artillery game offers excellent 3D graphics and easy-to-learn gameplay. Play online with up to 24 players at once and/or take on computer-generated opponents. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
8. Smash Battle
Based on the Mario Battle from Super Mario Bros. 3, Smash Battle is a newer game with old school 2D graphics. Fight against up to three other opponents in multi-player mode. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
9. Teeworlds
This side-scrolling 2D game features cartoonish graphics combined with multi-player shooting action. It supports up to 16 players at once in multiple game styles, including team deathmatch and capture the flag. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
10. WarMUX
Now available for Android through Google Play, WarMUX describes itself as a game of "convivial mass murder" where you attempt to defeat your opponent's team using dynamite, grenades, baseball bats and bazookas. The 2D graphics feature penguins, gnus, firefoxes, and other mascots from well-known open source software. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android.
11. XPilot
First developed in 1991, XPilot is a classic space game similar to Asteroids. It's multi-player only, so you'll need to join a game on an existing server or set up a server of your own. Multiple forked versions are also available. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS.
12. XMoto
To complete the various levels on this 2D motocross game, you'll need to collect all the strawberries while overcoming various obstacles and avoiding wreckers. Hundreds of additional user-created levels are available on the site. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
13. Yo Frankie!
Built with the Blender open source 3D animation tool, Yo Frankie! features some of the best graphics you'll see on any open source game. It features characters from the open source movie Peach who run, jump, climb and glide their way across obstacles in a realistic landscape. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

Board Games

14. Domination
Domination is a Java-based version of the board game Risk. The developers have recently completed a version for Android that can be downloaded through Google Play. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android.
15. The Genius
The Genius is a chess app with a simple interface. Choose among four levels of game play ranging from "I dunno chess" to "Expert." Operating System: Windows.
16. GNU Backgammon
Based on a neural network, this backgammon engine gets better with time. Test yourself against a computer opponent with the skills of a championship flight tournament player or use it to analyze backgammon moves and matches. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
17. GNU Go
This GNU project allows users to play Go, a 3,000-year-old Asian board game similar to chess. It's a two-player game where players attempt to control the most territory on the board. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
18. Scrabble
In addition to the classic 15x15 crossword game, this version of Scrabble also lets you play SuperScrabble on a 21x21 word, Scrabble 3D or your own board. Compete against up to three online players at a time. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
19. Yahtzo!
As you might guess from the name, Yahtzo! is a computerized version of Yahtzee. The interface is fairly bare-bones, but play is just like the classic dice game. Operating System: Windows.

Card Games

20. PokerTH
Downloaded millions of times, this superb Texas Hold 'Em game features above-average graphics and an active community of players. Check out to see the rankings of current players. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android.

21. PySolFC
PySolFC collects more than 1,000 solitaire games into a single download. In addition to games featuring the traditional 52-card deck, you'll find games for the 78-card Tarot deck, eight- and ten-suit Ganjifa games, Hanafuda games, Matrix games, Mahjongg games and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
22. XM Solitaire
This collection features 200 different cards games, including popular solitaire options like Freecell, Klondike, Fan, Spider, Pyramid and Gaps. The same site features a number of puzzle games, like Sokoban, Sudoku and others. Operating System: Windows.

Casual and Puzzle Games

23. Enigma
Similar to the classic Oxyd and Rock'n'Roll games for Atari and Amiga, Enigma challenges uses to find pairs of matching Oxyd stones while avoiding traps, overcoming obstacles and solving puzzles. It's been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and features more than 1,000 levels of gameplay. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
24. Fish Fillets NG
Free the fish by solving a variety of puzzles. Along the way, the fish make funny comments and the other game denizens fight amongst themselves. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
26. Frozen Bubble
Known as "the most addictive game ever created," Frozen Bubble is a traditional bubble shooter where you try to make chains containing balls of the same color. It includes 100 levels for single players, or you can challenge your friends in two-player mode or online multi-player mode. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
25. GBrainy
Gbrainy helps keep you in top mental shape with a variety of logic, mental calculation, memory training and verbal analogy activities. It offers a variety of difficulty levels, making it appropriate for players of all ages. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
27. I Have No Tomatoes
How many tomatoes can you smash in ten minutes? Find out with this off-beat and highly unusual puzzle game. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
28. Neverball
To complete the levels of Neverball, you'll need to be able to solve puzzles and to be able to tilt the floor skillfully to move the ball where you want it to go. The download also includes Neverputt, a golf game based on the same engine. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
29. Pingus
If you've ever played Lemmings, Pingus will feel very familiar. In this version you guide a horde of penguins through various levels by assigning some penguins to dig, bash, climb, etc. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
30. Pushover
Guide your ant so that it knocks over the dominoes on the screen in the correct order. A remake of an older game, this version of Pushover includes several different levels and 11 different kinds of dominoes. Operating System: Windows.
31. SokoSolve
SokoSolve offers a version of the classic Sokoban game which requires players to push one box at a time to achieve a desired configuration. In addition to the game, the download provides other tools for Sokoban fans, including a solver and a library. Operating System: Windows.

Educational Games

32. ChildsPlay
Designed for children under age six, ChildsPlay includes 14 different simple games. Some teach number and letter recognition, memory skills and keyboarding skills, and some of the games are just for fun. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
33. GCompris
GCompris collects more than 100 games and activities suitable for ages two to ten. It includes apps for telling time, chess, algebra, geography, sudoku, science and much more. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
34. TuxMath
To succeed at this game, kids must solve math problems in order to prevent Tux the Linux penguin from being hit by meteors. The user can choose the type of math problems and the level of difficulty. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

First-Person Shooter Games

35. Alien Arena
Alien Arena describes itself as a "furious frag fest" with "immersive arenas, freaky and violent weapons, and a vibrant community." The newest version, released just this month, adds twelve new levels, two new characters and an awesome new weapon, the Minderaser. Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X.
36. AssaultCube
This realistic first-person shooter runs in single- or multi-player mode and utilizes the same engine as Cube (see below). Thanks to its low latency and lightweight size, it can run on older systems and slow networks, and it offers fast gameplay. Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X.
37. Cube
Cube boasts excellent graphics and lots of brutal action in the tradition of games like Doom and Quake. Play alone or against up to 12 other players in multi-player mode. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
38. Nexuiz
One of the most popular open source first-person shooters ever, Nexuiz has been downloaded more than 6 million times. A team is currently working on re-making the game for consoles. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
39. OpenArena
Designed as a clone of Quake III Arena, Open Arena offers multi-player first-person shooter action and twelve different game types. Due to the nature of some of the content, its developers warn that it is unsuitable for kids under 17. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
40. Red Eclipse
Just over a year old, this Cube-based shooter includes unique gameplay features like Parkour, impulse boosts and dashing. It also includes an editor so you can build your own levels. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

41. Tremulous
This award-winning game combines first-person shooter action with elements typically found in a real-time strategy game. Play as either the aliens or the humans, and rack up wins to become more powerful. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, XBox.
42. Warsow
No, that isn't a misspelling of "Warsaw." Warsow is a very fast-paced, cartoonish shooter featuring rocketlauncher-wielding pigs. Unlike most other shooters, Warsow goes easy on the gore, using stars and cubes to stand in for blood and guts. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

Game Collections

43. GnomeGames
Gnome's collection of casual "five-minute" games includes Chess, Sudoku, Mines, Four-in-a-row and 11 other simple games. The graphics and gameplay are basic but sometimes addictive. Operating System: Linux.
44. KDE Games
The KDE desktop offers a much wider selection of casual games. It includes KBattleship, KMahjong, KBreakout, KSpaceduel, KMines, KSudoku and many more. Operating System: Windows, Linux.

Music Games

45. Frets on Fire
The open source answer to Guitar Hero, Frets on Fire challenges you to play along to your favorite songs using a guitar controller or your keyboard. It supports Guitar Hero songs, or you can import songs submitted by other users or create your own. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
46. StepMania
Very similar to Dance Dance Revolution, Step Mania tests your ability to keep the beat using dance pads or your keyboard. Songs must be downloaded separately from the game, but the site includes hundreds of free songs. Operating System: Windows, Linux/Unix, OS X, XBox.
47. Ultrastar Deluxe
This karaoke games awards points based on how well you sing, similar to the game SingStar. You can use it with your own music files or you can download more than 10,000 songs available for the app. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

Racing Games

48. GLtron
As in the movie Tron, competitors in this game ride speeding lightcycles that trail walls behind them. The goal is to trap other players, forcing them to hit the wall, while you remain free. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
49. Ultimate Stunts
A remake of the DOS game Stunts, Ultimate Stunts takes racing to the next level by adding loops, corkscrews, jumps and more. It also makes it easy to build your own tracks. Note that it's still in the earlier stages of development. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
50. SuperTuxKart
Tux the Linux penguin races around 3D tracks in this racing game. The latest version adds three new tracks, a battle arena, two new weapons and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
The Open Race Car Simulator (TORCS) offers realistic racing action that figures in tire and wheel properties, aerodynamics, collisions and more. It includes more than 50 cars, 20 tracks and 50 opponents. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
52. Tux Racer
Downloaded millions of times, this popular classic Linux game features Tux the penguin sliding downhill. It features 3D landscapes and changing weather conditions with fog, high winds and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
53. Extreme Tux Racer
The classic Tux Racer (above) hasn't been updated in a while, but this version updates the original with better graphics and gameplay. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
54. VDrift
This racing game was made with drift racing in mind. It features real-world tracks and vehicles and superb graphics. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

Role-Playing and Adventure Games

55. Crossfire
Explore 3000 maps and battle 150 monsters in this retro arcade adventure game. It includes 15 character types, an elaborate magic system and many, many treasures to find. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
56. Egoboo
This 3D dungeon-crawler challenges players to save Lord Bishop from the clutches of the evil Dracolich, slaying hordes of monsters along the way. Play with up to four other people as you make your way through 40 different dungeons. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
57. Excalibur: Morganna's Revenge
In this epic adventure game, you begin as a futuristic soldier on a starship but soon time-travel back to the age of King Arthur, where you must save the world from Morganna. It offers 42 levels of solo play and 27 levels you can play with your friends in network mode. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
58. Linley's Dungeon Crawl
If you miss some of the really old dungeon crawlers like Rogue, Hack and Moria, this game is for you. The goal is to retrieve the Orb of Zot from deep in a subterranean cavern and return it to the surface. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
59. PlaneShift
This 3D fantasy role-playing game offers free play with no restrictions. It features six races, six "Ways of Magic," large worlds to explore and plenty of monsters to fight. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
60. Ryzom
Set 2000 years in the future on the plant Atys, Ryzom depicts a struggle for world domination between the nature forces of Kami and the technological forces of Karavan. Ryzom is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) where players move up by gaining experience in fighting, magic, crafting and foraging. Note that while the download and basic play are free, unlimited play requires a subscription. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

61. Stendhal
This MORPG features simple, old-school graphics and friendly gameplay. Journey through a world full of villages, cities, dungeons, forests, mines, mountains and tropical islands, with plenty of adventures along the way. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
62. Summoning Wars
This newer fantasy role-playing game offers four classes of characters, each with 24 unique magical abilities and other skills. Play on your own or with up to eight other people in multi-player mode. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

Simulator Games

63. FlightGear
Comparable to commercial flight simulators, FlightGear offers sophisticated, realistic controls and scenery. It includes more than 20,000 real-world airports, accurate depictions of the sky and terrain, and multiple aircraft. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, others.
64. LinCity NG
LinCity NG offers an open source version of the original Sim City game. Win by building a sustainable economy or by evacuating your entire population in spaceships. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
65. Micropolis
Another Sim City Clone, Micropolis (a.k.a. OLPC SimCity) was developed for the One Laptop Per Child project. It's based on the source code for the original version of Sim City. Operating System: Linux, Unix.
66. Oolite
This space simulator challenges players to fly around the universe, establishing space stations and fending off enemy ships. The graphics are old-school (based on the classic game Elite), but many players same the game is highly addictive. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
67. OpenCity
Yet another city development simulator, Open City features 3D graphics and detailed terrain. The site includes helpful tutorials to get you started playing the game. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
68. OpenTTD
Although it was based on Transport Tycoon Deluxe, this game improves on the original with larger maps, support for up to 255 players, improved tools and the opportunity to bribe town authorities. Check out the site for a list of servers that host multiplayer games. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
69. Rigs of Rods
This very popular vehicle simulator uses a unique soft-body physics engine to provide very realistic behavior of vehicles that travel over land, water and air. An extremely active user community has created more than 2000 modifications for the app, and you can find numerous user videos online. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
70. SlipStream
Designed to support any type of vehicle that could be driven around a racetrack, SlipStream is more difficult to learn than some other vehicle simulators, but offers more realistic handling as a tradeoff. It's a young project that's early in development, but is already usable. Operating System: Linux.
71. Simutrans
Another Transport Tycoon Deluxe clone, Simutrans challenges players to create a successful transport network without going bankrupt. The website includes numerous PakSets, which offer new graphics and new worlds where you can play. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
72. Vega Strike
This space simulator revolves around trading, exploration and combat with enemy ships. It plays in both single-player and multi-player modes and boasts excellent graphics. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

Sports Games

73. Billiards
Billiards is designed to simply but accurately simulate the game for which it's named, so that players can practice when a pool table isn't available. It currently offers tables both with and without pockets, and you can play eightball, nineball and carom billiards. Operating System: Linux.
74. Slam Soccer 2006
Slam Soccer offers a comedic take on one of the world's most popular sports with slightly silly 3D graphics. It includes 80 teams, 20 stadiums, 10 referees, 9 commentators and the ability to play in a variety of weather conditions. Operating System: Windows, Linux.

Strategy Games

75. 0 A.D.
In this historical real-time strategy game, "history is yours for the taking." Players build civilizations between the years of 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X.
76. Advanced Strategic Command
This turn-based strategy game, which was "designed in the tradition of the Battle Isle series," pits military units against each other on a hexagonal grid. Play against the AI opponent or against other humans using hotseat or PlayByMail. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
77. Battle for Wesnoth
With plenty of elves, necromancers, orcs and warriors, this popular turn-based strategy game immerses players in a high-fantasy world with a number of scenarios to play. It includes more than 200 unit types from six different factions, and it supports online multiplayer games. Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X, iOS.
78. BosWars
In this futuristic real-time strategy game, you build your stores of energy and your economy while battling opponents for control of the map. You can play alone or against human opponents via a LAN or the Internet. Operating System: Windows, Linux, BSD, OS X.
79. CommanderStalin
This game transports the action of Bos Wars away from the future and back to the Soviet era in Russia. Build up your economy and military so that you can withstand the inevitable attack from Nazi Germany. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
80. FreeCol
If you've played Civilization, FreeCol will feel very familiar. It's a turn-based strategy game where the objective is to build a successful civilization starting with just a few colonists. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

81. FreeCiv
Also similar to Civilization, FreeCiv begins in the Stone Age. You win by creating the best nation and successfully guiding your citizens all the way to the Space Age. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
82. FreeOrion
Based on the Master of Orion games, this "turn-based space empire and galactic conquest game" involves both nation-building and combat elements. Both single- and multi-player games are available. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
83. Glest
The forces of Tech battle the forces of Magic in this award-winning 3D real-time strategy game. Check out the gallery on the website for plenty of screenshots and information about the tech tree and buildings. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
84. MegaGlest
Based on Glest, MegaGlest adds five more factions--Egyptians, Indians, Norsemen, Persian and Romans--to the Tech and Magic teams from the original. Play in one of 17 different settings, either alone or against up to seven other players. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
85. Hedgewars
Unlike a lot of strategy games, Hedgewars doesn't take itself too seriously. It describes itself as "a turn based strategy, artillery, action and comedy game, featuring the antics of pink hedgehogs with attitude as they battle from the depths of hell to the depths of space." Games can support up to eight players at once, and it includes 47 different weapons, including the piano strike and explosive robotic cake. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS.
86. Liquid War
One of the most unusual games available, Liquid War is a multiplayer strategy game with a twist. Instead of an army, you control a glob of liquid, and you win by eating your opponents. The graphics aren't particularly great, but the game itself is interesting. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
87. Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries
This is an updated version of the Seven Kingdoms real-time strategy game that was originally released in 1997. Choose your kindgom--Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, Japanese, Maya, Mughuls, Normans, Persians, Vikings, Zulus--then begin training your army, building your economy and spying on your enemies in single-player or multi-player games. Operating System: Windows.
88. Spring: 1944
As you might guess from the title, this app is a WWII-theme real-time strategy game with period-accurate units and strengths. Play as the US, Germany, USSR or Britain. Operating System: Linux.
89. UFO:Alien Invasion
In the year 2084, you control a secret organization defending earth against brutal alien invaders. View the action from Geoscape mode, where you manage the battle from a high level, or Tactical Mode, where you lead a team in combat against the enemy. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
90. Unknown Horizons
In this 2D city-building strategy game, you start with a ship and a handful of resources on a desolate island. Can you build a thriving metropolis? Note that this is a newer game, and you may still run into some bugs. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
91. Warzone 2100
Warzone 2100 challenges players to rebuild civilization after it's been destroyed by nuclear war. It offers real-time action in campaign, multi-player and single-player modes. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
92. Widelands
Inspired by The Settlers and The Settlers II, Widelands is another civilization-building real-time strategy game. It features four worlds, three tribes, a map editor and both single- and multi-player games. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
93. Zero-K
This futuristic real-time strategy game offers plenty of action, streamlined economy controls and fast-moving games, with the average game lasting 20-30 minutes. It features battling robot armies with the ability to micro-manage individual units. Operating System: Windows, Linux.
94. Zombies
If you get tired of playing strategy games against the living, take a turn playing against the undead. The goal? Kill the zombies before they kill you. Operating System: Windows, OS X.

Fun Non-Games

95. Celestia
Perfect for budding astronomers, Celestia lets you see the heavens from any point on earth at any time. Plus, you can fly away from the earth and see what they sky would look like from Mars, the Sun, or another point in the known universe. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
96. DrumTrack
Turn your keyboard into a drum machine. This app lets you build your own rhythm tracks using samples that you can arrange however you like. Operating System: Windows.
97. Electric Sheep
Inspired by the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, this screensaver connects thousands of computers around the world to create unusual abstract designs known as "sheep." Vote for your favorite animations and they'll reproduce more often. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
98. LCARS 24
This app is a must have for Star Trek fans with an old PC sitting around in the garage or basement. It sets up your system with Star-Trek style graphics, a talking alarm clock and a file manager. Operating System: Windows, DOS.
99. Stellarium
Similar to Celestia, Stellarium also displays the night skies from any point on earth. It comes with a default catalog of 600,000 stars, or you can download additional catalogs with 210 million stars. It's so accurate and realistic that it's used by many planetariums. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
100. Tux Paint
Tux Paint is a drawing program designed for preschoolers and early elementary students. Drawing tools include brushes, line tools, stamps, shapes, an eraser, and a host of "magic" effects. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

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