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