If you want to learn to use the Linux terminal, a great way to start is by installing and playing some games. These games aren’t just fun—they also require no compatibility layer or expensive graphics cards.
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Tetris is a puzzle game that Russian software engineer Alexey Pajitnov made in 1984. The game’s popularity skyrocketed in the 90s, and it had over 20 million players worldwide by the end of 1996.
The name Bastet is a combination of “bastard” and “Tetris.” The reason behind that is that this Tetris clone tries to frustrate you by giving you the exact block that you don’t want, instead of giving you a random block. Hence the name Bastet.
To install Bastet on Debian and Ubuntu-based distributions (distro), use this command.
sudo apt install bastet
Use the following command if you’re running Fedora, RHEL, or CentOS.
sudo dnf install bastet
To start playing, type
bastet and hit enter.
Pac-man needs no introduction. The retro game revolutionized the gaming industry and is still played by millions worldwide. The game’s objective involves navigating Pac-man’s character through a maze and consuming all the white circles without getting eaten by the Ghosts. Pacman4Console is the same game translated into the Linux terminal.
To install Pacman4Console, copy and paste the following command, then hit enter.
sudo apt install pacman4console
To start playing, type
pacman4console and hit enter.
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If you grew up in the 90s, you might remember the legendary Nokia Snake game. It’s also here on the Linux terminal and can serve as a pretty good time killer.
To install nSnake on Debian or Ubuntu-based distros, type the following command and hit enter.
sudo apt install nsnake
Copy and paste the following and hit enter if you’re running Fedora, CentOS, or RHEL.
sudo dnf install nsnake
To run it, type
nsnake and hit enter.
2048 was developed by the 19-year old Gabiele Cirulliie in 2014 as his weekend project. As soon as he published the game on GitHub, it was an instant hit. The objective is to combine the numbered tiles until you reach the number 2048. If you like number-based puzzles, you’ll love this game.
To install 2048 on Debian/Ubuntu-based distros, type the following command and press enter.
sudo apt install 2048
If you’re running Fedora, CentOS, or RHEL, use the following command to install 2048. Since the game 2048 isn’t available in the DNF repositories, we’ll be installing the 2048 clone, 2048-CLI.
sudo dnf install 2048-cli
To run the game, type
2048 and hit enter.
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Does the title ring a bell? Nudoku is a Sudoku clone for the Linux terminal. For those who don’t know, Sudoku is a puzzle game where you’re provided a 9×9 box with partially filed values. Your objective is to fill the boxes in such a way that a number appears only once in any particular row and column.
To install Nudoku on a Debian or Ubuntu-based Linux system, type the following command and press enter.
sudo apt install nudoku
Use the following command for Fedora, CentOS, RHEL, or RHEL-based systems.
sudo dnf install nudoku
To launch the game, type
nudoku and hit enter.
Moon Buggy is pretty similar to Google’s Dinosaur game on Chrome. The objective of the game is to dodge the craters. At first glance, it might look pretty straightforward and boring, but it might become pretty addicting once you start playing.
To install Moon Buggy on Debian/Ubuntu-based Linux distros, type the following command in the terminal and hit enter.
sudo apt install moon-buggy
Copy and paste the following command to install Moon Buggy on Fedora, CentOS, or RHEL and hit enter.
sudo dnf install moon-buggy
To run the game, type
moon-buggy and hit enter.
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Remember the popular game Space Invaders? Ninvaders is a Space Invaders clone for the Linux terminal. The game’s primary goal is to stop a huge block of aliens from invading Earth by shooting missiles using a cannon on the ground.
To install Ninvaders on Debian/Ubuntu-based Linux distros, type the following command and hit enter.
sudo apt install ninvaders
To start the game, type
ninvaders in the terminal and hit enter.
The creator of Ascii Patrol was inspired by an old Japanese game Moon Patrol. You drive a moon buggy and dodge obstacles like mines, craters, etc. while trying to shoot down two UFOs attacking you from overhead. It is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and fun Linux terminal games.
The game is only available as a Snap. Hence, you’ll first need to install Snapd, which you can do using the following command. If you’re using Ubuntu, chances are, Snapd is already installed. In which case, proceed with the next step.
sudo apt install snapd
Use the following command to install Snap on Fedora, CentOS, or RHEL.
sudo dnf install snapd
Once done, install Ascii Patrol using the command:
snap install ascii-patrol
To start playing, type
ascii-patrol and hit enter.
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Greed is a pretty simple yet fun game. You’re surrounded by numbers, and your location is denoted by the
@ character. You can consume the number at your direct left, right, bottom, or top to move by that many places. The goal is to consume as many numbers as possible; however, the catch is you’re not allowed to traverse in the same direction you came from, and the game ends when you can no longer make any moves.
Confused? The game is pretty easy to understand once you start playing.
Type the following command and hit enter to install and play Greed on Debian/Ubuntu-based distributions.
sudo apt install greed
greed and hit enter.
Installing BSD Games allows you to play a collection of simple games. Some of the most popular games that you can play from the collection are Hunt, Battlestar, and Air Traffic Control.
BSD is another Unix-inspired OS like Linux, but it’s a complete operating system, while Linux technically is just a kernel. BSD Games is a collection of games that ship with BSD OSes like FreeBSD and NetBSD, and there are around 40 games in the collection.
You can install BSD Games on Debian Ubuntu-based systems using the following command.
sudo apt install bsdgames
If you’re using another Linux distro, you can also build from source through the GitHub repository.
Here’s a list of all the games included with BSD Games. To start a game, simply type the name in the terminal and hit enter.
Installing these games is one of the best ways to learn the Linux terminal if you’re new to Linux. If you’re interested in learning more about the Linux terminal and its commands, here’s a guide on how to start using the Linux terminal.
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