Simulation and Racing Games
Want to fly for free? Take the controls in FlightGear , a flight simulator--my favorite type of game. Though some may say it doesn't beat Microsoft Flight Simulator, it does include neat features such as real-world conditions (seasonal weather, day-light length, placement of sun and stars, etc) and Air Traffic Control. The base installation includes a small area of scenery around San Francisco, CA, however you can download scenery for the entire World with over 20,000 real-world airports.
Simutrans, LinCity-NG, and OpenCity are simulation games where the basic goal is to create and manage an economy by building and managing a city's infrastructure and services. You never know, you may come up with some ideas to give to our real-life government to tackle the financial crisis. These games are comparable to simulation games on the shelves, such as SimCity and RollerCoaster Tycoon.
FlightGear (Click for Larger Image)
Want to take to the road? Check out SuperTuxKart, a racing game inspired by Mario Kart. For a more realistic ride, put the medal to the floor in TORCS (The Open Racing Car Simulator). You can even participate in the racing championships through The TORCS Racing Board.
Remember Doom, where you go around shooting up alien-like beings? Well, there is FreeDoom, which is a set of open source graphics files for the open source versions of the Doom engine. Another first-person shooter game you may also want to check out is Nexuiz. Just keep in mind these game aren't appropriate for most youngsters. If you're looking for something fun and not violent, check out Secret Maryo Chronicles, 2D game modeled after Super Mario Bros.
FreeDoom (Click for Larger Image)
If you're looking for space-type strategy and simulation games, try Allegiance, an online multiplayer game originally developed and sold by Microsoft Research. You participate in space wars by piloting spacecraft to defend and attack sectors in space, led by a Commander who tries to lead your team to victory. There is also Vega Strike, where you can trade, fight, and explore in the vast universe.
If ancient history interests you, check out Freeciv, similar to Civilization II. Set in 4,000 BC, you guide your people through the centuries to build new cities. The goal is to be the best and longest lasting civilization. While increasing your wealth and cultural and scientific advances, you'll wage wars on one another and/or form diplomatic relationships. A somewhat similar game, FreeCol, starts in the year 1492. You try to settle colonies in the New World, with help from the European king. The objective is to build up your colonies to survive without outside aid, while defending against attacks from the rival Europeans.
Freeciv (Click for Larger Image)
It's a Wrap
This has been a very brief introduction to some of the games and applications that caught our eye; there are many more out there. You may want to search the SourceForge site or reference the list on Wikipedia for more options. Remember, some games, such as those strategy ones, may pose a significant learning curve. Searching Wikipedia may also be able to help you discover what a particular game is all about and how to play. Just have fun and don't get addicted!
This article was first published on LinuxPlanet.com.