How to Install Windows Games on Linux

How to Install Windows Games on LinuxWhile there are indeed a fairly reasonable number of video game options for the Linux desktop, none of them are really the mainstream games many of us have come to know and love. This translates into many people either dual-booting their computers or perhaps instead, opting to green-light one of the various solutions that run Wine.

Using Wine is generally a last choice since it’s trying to run Windows libraries on a Linux operating system. Wine makes this possible in many instances, but can also lead to a very buggy experience. The real issue comes down to how the game is coded because games are typically optimized to run with the operating system having native access to computer hardware, not via an emulation mode like Wine.

That being said, there are (at least) a few options out there if you’d like to install Windows games on Linux. Here are a couple that I’ve found deserving of a second look.

WineHQ is purely a community effort to document what games and Windows apps work under Wine, along with documenting whether bothering with the game or app is even worth it. WineHQ is not the recommended place to start for the casual user since many of the configurations are challenging.

CrossOver Games is brought you by the good folks who also support CrossOver Office. Their games dept is the best equipped to get you running with today’s modern Windows games. Using the cutting edge release of Wine at all times, they add their own goodies to the mix for maximum compatibility with Windows games.

Which is the best approach?

While I mention WineHQ, using CrossOver Games is going to yield the highest rate of success. CrossOver Games’ database of compatible games is up to date, the code is fluid, and I see more focus on the casual user than I do with WineHQ. For advanced users, going at it alone with Wine via the WineHQ database is another approach. Again, WineHQ is not always as well supported, but it’s certainly a free option, nonetheless.

CC licensed Flickr photo by Jonathas Rodrigues

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