TOP 5 Linux Distros for Gaming.
Linux is a great platform for many things, but games are not. As a server, workstation, or media center, Linux offers many advantages over Windows, such as speed and security. Most gamers are likely to look for alternatives, however, as Windows is the dominant PC platform for gamers outside of consoles.
If you are not interested in dual-booting Windows with Linux, you will need to look at Linux distributions suitable for games that allow you to play your favorite games. While gaming on Linux is not a hassle-free or painless experience, you should have fun trying one of these five best Linux distros for gaming.
Choosing a Linux Distribution for Gaming
Before you rush to install one of the major Linux distributions like Ubuntu or Debian, you will need to know about the state of Linux games. Most game developers do not offer support for Linux. Support is limited to indie games or (very rarely) AAA releases on platforms like Steam.
For most major game releases, you will need to try several workarounds to install Windows games. WINE, a Windows / Linux compatibility library, will allow many PC games to run, but game support is patchy. Some games are nearly perfect and others won’t launch at all.
This is (in part) related to Linux device driver support. Graphics card support on Linux is patchy compared to Windows. For example, Linux users can be forced to download, compile and install drivers for new graphics cards before using them, if supported at all. This creates a technical nightmare for Linux newbies.
However, if you are interested in retro gaming, Linux support will be much better. You can easily emulate many older consoles, from the SNES to the Wii, using just about any Linux distribution. You can also use an emulator like DOSBOX to play these types of games, which includes support for Debian, Fedora, and other distributions.
With so many choices and complexity in navigation, it makes sense not to install a typical distribution. Instead of installing Ubuntu, you should install a distribution designed for games. They can have WINE or Steam installed by default, come with proprietary graphics card drivers, or have a TV-friendly interface for retro gaming.
The options below for the best Linux distros for gaming are adapted to any of these requirements but are not exhaustive. In almost all cases, you can take a standard Linux distribution and install the same software. But these distributions remove this difficulty by making it easier for new Linux players to migrate from Windows.
If you are a fan of the open-source philosophy at the heart of the Linux community but are still interested in trying out new games, then Fedora Games is the solution. Fedora Games demonstrates what open source games have to offer gamers, with hundreds of indie games included that can be played right out of the box.
Whether you’re interested in first-person shooters or challenging turn-based strategy games, Fedora Games can help you. It uses the Xfce desktop environment, making it ideal for older, low-power PCs. The installation ISO is approximately 4 GB in size, so it works well for small devices and discs.
Since Fedora Games closely follows the Fedora standard release cycle, you can also use it as a standard work computer. While it does not include major gaming platforms such as Steam or compatibility libraries such as WINE or PlayOnLinux, these can be quickly installed afterward.
If you’re looking for a ready-to-use Linux gaming platform for retro gaming with tons of console emulators preinstalled, look no further than RetroPie. While this project is built for single board computers like the Raspberry Pi, RetroPie also supports standard PCs, allowing older PCs to be used for gaming.
RetroPie is primarily a Raspberry Pi project, however with additional performance tweaks and support for major console controllers. What’s not included with RetroPie are games, but you can purchase older games from the official ROM sites on the Internet.
RetroPie has multiple installation images for Raspberry Pi devices, so you don’t need to install any additional software to get RetroPie up and running. RetroPie works as a standalone full-screen retro arcade game that runs on top of the Raspberry Pi (formerly Raspbian) OS for efficient performance.
However, if you want to remap your old computer, you need to first install another Linux distribution like Debian before you can use RetroPie.
Lakka, like RetroPie, is a platform for retro gamers. However, unlike RetroPie, Lakka can be installed as an independent Linux distribution on all types of PCs, using the popular RetroArch as a TV-friendly interface for PC gaming without a keyboard or mouse.
Lakka supports almost all major Linux console emulators, allows online multiplayer in retro games, and supports all major console controllers. Using RetroArch’s built-in gaming platform, you can pause or rewind games mid-game, take advantage of numerous performance and graphics enhancements, and more.
Lakka can be installed on several small single-board PCs, including the Raspberry Pi. But you can also install it on your computer. Like RetroPie, games are not included, but you can play your own copies (or use the ROM sites to find yours).
Manjaro – TOP 5 Linux Distros for Gaming
The Arch Linux philosophy is simple: keep it simple. If you are not interested in the small details, but still want the advanced features, speed, and performance that Arch has to offer, then you need Manjaro. This additional income from Arch is perfect for potential Linux gamers.
Manjaro comes pre-packaged with a variety of applications and services that make it an easier-to-use distribution than the standard Arch. Specifically, it includes various must-have applications for gamers, including Steam. With its hardware detection tool, Manjaro can scan your system and tune itself for the best possible performance.
This makes Manjaro an excellent platform for playing computer games on both new and old hardware. You can install games, VOIP tools like Teamspeak, emulators, and game compatibility runtimes like WINE in just a few clicks, allowing you to create a gaming PC that suits your needs.
Ubuntu Game Pack
While Manjaro is the perfect platform for quickly building your own gaming PC on Linux, it does take some tweaking. If you want a Linux gaming distro that lets you start playing as quickly as possible, few distros can match the Ubuntu Game Pack, an unofficial Ubuntu spin-off with all the major gaming services.
Instead of worrying about installing the necessary emulators or services, the Ubuntu Game Pack has them all. It has all the major Linux game emulators including console and DOS game emulators. It also includes gaming platforms like Steam and Lutris, as well as indie platforms like Itch.io.
If you are trying to play standard PC games, you will be provided with support for both PlayOnLinux and WINE and CrossOver. It also includes optimization and customization apps designed to enhance your Linux gaming experience, as well as support for streaming platforms like Twitch so you can share your gameplay with others.
If you want to play different types of games, or if you find it difficult to use or customize other distributions, try Ubuntu GamePack. You will need to provide your own games, but with Steam and other platforms preinstalled, you should be able to install them yourself pretty quickly.
Playing Games on Linux
There is nothing stopping you from installing a fresh copy of Debian or another major Linux distribution for gaming. Many of the best Linux distros for gaming are based on an existing distribution, but allow new Linux players to jump right into their games instead of spending hours setting up their PC with the right settings and software.
Of course, there are other things you can do with a Linux gaming PC. Installing some of the best Linux apps can help you move from Windows, Mac, or even your Android smartphone. If you choose to dual boot, you can access Linux files on Windows to keep your important files and documents running smoothly.
TOP 5 Linux Distros for Gaming
TOP 5 Linux Distros for Gaming