OpenBSD Gaming Resource

What isn't there to love about playing video games on your favorite operating system? OpenBSD and video games feels like a natural combination to me. My resource has software lists, links to free games not in ports, lists of nonfree games, and recommendations.

New to OpenBSD?

OpenBSD is an operating system like Microsoft Windows, MacOS, or Android. The best explanations on what OpenBSD is, what you can do with it, and how does it work come from the FAQ and Wikipedia. If you don't plan on using OpenBSD read the Wikipedia link and some of the FAQ. If you already use or plan to use OpenBSD then the manuals, FAQ, mailing lists, and other documentation will give you all the answers.

General Resources

Many of the links are about old games because most of what OpenBSD can run and emulate are old games. Old can also mean classic, best ever made, and great genres that are no longer commercially produced.

Downloads

The demos here are about the demoscene, not the limited versions of commercial games.

Information

Reviews

OpenBSD Exclusive

BSD Games

BSD Games are a collection of terminal games and software toys that can be installed during an install or upgrade of OpenBSD. They existed before OpenBSD and now are significantly different than the originals.

My description of pig spoils the game. Don't read the rest of this section if you want to avoid spoilers. The pig program converts English to Pig Latin which is classified as a language game. The entire manual for it is in Pig Latin which is the point of the game. I translated the manual to English.

"The pig utility reads the standard input and writes it out to standard output in Pig Latin. Useful for generating monthly reports."

The fortune manual lists a tool called strfile that isn't installed by default. It creates a .dat file for fortune. The format OpenBSD uses is a line with % between each fortune. Here is an example.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
%
"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the 
swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the 
wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour 
to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."

- Ecclesiastes 9:11, King James Bible
%
"THIS IS MY PILL. It is round. It is pink. It makes me not care.
Watch me take my round, pink pill
...and not care."

- The Executive Coloring Book
%
...

Wargames lacks a manual or any explanation how it works. It is a simple launcher for other BSD games based on the movie called WarGames. Playing the game spoils the end of the movie.

Games

Resources

ddb

ddb is the kernel debugger that comes with OpenBSD. It includes a version of hangman similar to the one in BSD Games. This isn't an accessible game unless you can debug the OpenBSD kernel.

Resources

Ports

Ports is the third-party software repository for OpenBSD. Packages are the binary distribution of ports. Read the documentation to understand how to use both of them. Ports has readmes, extra documentation, website URLs, a software search, and more.

Many of the ports are software toys or not a game at all. I list everything in the games section of ports as I try them no matter if they are a game or not. Anything that isn't a game is labeled what it is.

There are more games than what I listed. These are the ones I have tried so far. Some of them are among the best games available for OpenBSD. I can't say the same for most of them.

Packages

Resources

Network Clients

MMOs

I wouldn't call any of these games massive. Choria claims to be an MMORPG, but it has a single player mode and I have not found any servers for it. Crossfire is almost dead and I have seen zero players several times. The Mana World has a small and dwindling player base. The total online numbers don't show that many of the players are idling in the center of a town.

Packages

Games: Servers

Resources

MUDs

Ports includes MUD clients, not servers. MUDs are the precursor to MMOs and they could be described as text based MMOs.

Packages

Games: Servers

Resources

Browser Games

I define browser games as any game that runs in a browser. That includes games that require plugins and games played in JavaScript emulators. Any full featured modern browser from ports should work.

I would need the space of this entire document to explain how terrible some of the browsers such as Firefox and Chromium are from a user's point of view. All the browsers in ports are bad choices, but I think Firefox is the least worst.

Ever thought that web browsers with Canvas, JavaScript, WebGL, Web Fonts, Cookies, WebSockets, Local Storage, WebAssembly, WebRTC, and other game enabling features are just too secure? Then ports has a Java plugin you can install. Fortunately the fun stops there because there are no plugins for Flash, Silverlight, or Unity.

Packages: Browsers

Packages: Plugins

Games

Resources

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive has so many games across many systems I thought it deserved its own section under browser games. All the games linked here run in the browser and can't be downloaded. I found some games ran too slow in the browser to play.

Games

Games: Console Library

Games: Software Library

Game Engines

Game engines need games, game data, or other files to run. Ports sometimes includes games for them, but usually don't. Some of the programs are game engine recreations, forks, or source ports.

If the game engine needs the original game data from a commercial game it will need the original install disks. I haven't seen any that will accept Good Old Games versions. Some can use data from Steam installations, but Steam isn't available for OpenBSD. Total conversions may work, but I haven't found any that do.

Resources

EDuke32 (Build)

While EDuke32 supports more than one game, it isn't doesn't support all Build engine games. None of the games it supports are free, but the version in ports comes with the shareware version of Duke Nukem 3D. None of the total conversions I tried worked with the shareware version.

Packages

Games: Nonfree

Games: Mods

Resources

Flare

Flare is a 2D action RPG engine. It comes with one short game. Two more are available as mods. I wasn't able to get either of those to work.

Packages

Mods

Hypatia

I'm sorry if you came to this section looking for games because you wont find any. Hypatia is or was a game engine because development has stopped. I couldn't find any games for it. It comes with an unfinished demo the developer calls a game, but I don't.

Packages

Resources

id Tech 1, Doom engine

I am not sure where to begin. The Doom franchise and all the games based on the engine have so much written about them. Luckily I don't have to say much about OpenBSD and the Doom engine.

Chocolate-Doom runs Doom, Doom II, Heretic, Hexen, and Strife. PrBoom and PrBoom+ run Doom and Doom II. None of those games are free, but there are several free game data replacements. There are probably tens of thousands of mods known as WADs Doom and Doom II, but fewer for the rest.

Zauberer and Blasphemer the free data replacement for Hexen and Heretic didn't work for me in Chocolate Doom. Freedoom seems to mostly work with both PrBoom+ and Chocolate Doom, although there was some bugs.

Packages

Packages: Data

Games: Nonfree

Games: Free content replacements

Resources

id Tech 2, Quake engine, Quake II engine

Yamagi Quake II only runs Quake II despite the engine being used for other games. It wants the original game data which isn't free.

Hexen II: Hammer of Thyrion is similar to Yamagi Quake II. It only runs Hexen II and it also wants the original game data which isn't free.

Packages

Games: Nonfree

Resources

id Tech 3, Quake III Arena engine

ioquake3 continued development on the original code. It runs Quake III Arena and requires the original game files to work. No free game data exists. The wiki says the demo files partially work, but the developers don't care about the demo.

Packages

Games: Nonfree

Resources

id Tech 4, Doom 3 engine

dhewm 3 is a fork of the id Tech 4 engine and runs Doom 3 and the Resurrection of Evil expansion. There are no free assets available and it only works with the original game files.

Packages

Games: Nonfree

Resources

Infinity Engine

GemRB runs Infinity Engine games which are 2D isometric RPGs made by Bethesda. There is no free game data for it unless you count demos.

Packages

Games: Nonfree

Resources

Instead

Instead says it is a simple text adventure interpreter, but like Ren'Py the games go beyond what the description says. Unfortunately most of the games are in Russian. I tried all the English games and all of them worked.

Packages

Games

Marathon Trilogy

Aleph One is based on the original Marathon 2 engine. It runs Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal, Marathon Infinity (Marathon 3), and 3rd party scenarios. Bungie released the Marathon game data for free years ago.

Ports has the data for the Marathon trilogy and two 3rd party scenarios. The scenario ports are nice enough to include commands to start each one, but it is possible to start Aleph One with the game directory as an argument. While it works I was only able to use software or OpenGL classic rendering. This probably varies from system to system. The few scenarios from outside ports worked, but I didn't extensively test them.

Packages

Packages: Scenarios

Games

Games: Scenarios

Resources

MegaZeux

I read MegaZeux was ported to OpenBSD, but I don't see it in ports. The DOS version works in DOSBox. MegaZeux's source code is also available on the website.

The controls in MegaZeux are not intuitive. Read the help file MegaZeux offers during the first configuration. If you missed it then view MZX_HELP.FIL in any text editor. It isn't plain text, but it is still readable.

Software

Games

Resources

Ren'Py

Ren'Py is a visual novel game engine. It comes with 2 developer tutorial games. Each game can also have documentation and in game help systems, but that is up to the developers. Use these lines for documentation because there is no manual.

$ renpy -h
$ renpy --help

Ren'Py wont start because of a bug somewhere. A fix was posted on the mailing list.

$ export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/X11R6/lib/libGL.so.17.0

Ren'Py needs the full directory name of a game as an argument to start or it assumes it is in its base directory and will give you an error. Here is an example.

$ renpy /home/user_name/game_directory/

The version of Ren'Py in ports is out of date. It wouldn't run some of the newer games, but I had no problems with older ones.

The quality of the free games runs from absolute garbage to amazing. Commercial games might work if they expose all the game files, but I didn't test any.

Packages

Games

Resources

Solarus

Solarus says it is an action RPG engine. All the games are clones of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System game The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Solarus has no manual or readme and the Solarus Wiki is nearly useless.

There are 3 games by the Solarus team in ports. The community has made 1 game and 1 demo. Solarus said my version was too new to run Tunics and too old to run the demo The Legend of Zelda: Book of Mudora.

The games in ports support a gamepad. To play them use this command.

$ solarus_run game_directory

Press F1 or D then left or right to get an in game help or option screen.

Packages

Packages: Games

Resources

Game Engines: Single Games

The term game engine implies that you can play many games on it, but that isn't the case with these. They were designed to play only a single game with its expansion packs and mods.

Morrowind (Gamebryo)

OpenMW runs The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind including the Tribunal and Bloodmoon expansions with support for a few mods. There is no free data for it and it requires the original game data from the Microsoft Windows version.

Packages

Games: Nonfree

Resources

RollerCoaster Tycoon 2

Neither RollerCoaster Tycoon 1 or 2 were built with a game engine, but OpenRCT2 is a game engine recreation. It supports RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 and can use some of the data from the first game. There was several compilations and versions of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 which I assume also work, but I didn't see any explicit support for them.

Packages

Games: Nonfree

Theme Hospital

Another game engine that requires the original data. CorsixTH says it can use the Good Old Games version which is surpsing since few or none of the others do. I tested the demo files and it works, but the demo has several limitations even with a game engine recreation.

Packages

Games: Nonfree

Transport Tycoon Deluxe

OpenTTD recreates Transport Tycoon Deluxe and includes a free set of graphics and sound. If you have the original game it can still use those files.

Packages

Games: Nonfree

Multiple Game Engines

Interactive Fiction, Text Adventure

I listed all interactive fiction engines here instead of splitting them. I have never seen a website with interactive fiction game downloads focus on only one engine. There are so few ports it wouldn't make sense to split them.

This section should be called Gargoyle because I think it is the best interactive fiction program in ports. I was surprised that Gargoyle supports graphics and sound. The only reason to use anything besides Gargoyle is to run Frotz in a terminal.

The Gargoyle website says the developers thought they were making the typography better than the X Windows rendering. The problem is they don't allow hinting. I don't know what fonts look better without hinting, but I haven't seen any on OpenBSD. Maybe on other operating systems it looks better.

The default fonts selected by Gargoyle look worse than they do outside of it. DejaVu the default font for OpenBSD and many ports programs also looks worse without hinting. I didn't see an option to enable hinting. Maybe they hated it so much they never put it in.

Packages

Games

Resources

ResidualVM

ResidualVM is similar to ScummVM except it focuses on 3D graphic adventure games instead of 2D. It supports few games and none of them are free.

Packages

Games: Nonfree

ScummVM

ScummVM runs 2D graphic adventure games that were made for other systems. Ports has the data for the CD version of Beneath a Steel Sky and Flight of the Amazon Queen. A few more are available for free on the ScummVM website.

Packages

Games: Free

Games: Nonfree

Multiple System Emulation

MAME

MAME emulates nearly every arcade system made. It also emulates other devices such as slot machines. MAME only needs the ROM files of a game to run. There is no manual so use this line to see the options.

$ sdlmame -h

MAME can start a game from the GUI or on the command line. MAME will not show the game in the GUI if the ZIP file or the directory with the ZIP file's contents has been renamed.

I included links to pictures of the cabinets because arcade games usually have instructions on the cabinet. Seeing the types of controllers, layout, and number of buttons helps to understand how to play the game.

Packages

Games

Resources

Mednafen

Mednafen emulates many home game consoles and handheld game systems. Some modules require external firmware files. The documentation included with the package is the same as the documentation on Mednafen's webpage. I avoid Mednafen because the configuration is long and complex.

Packages

MESS

MESS emulates over a thousand systems including home game consoles, handheld game systems, chess machines, calculators, and so much more. Many of the popular and recent systems don't work. I found emulators dedicated to one system are better than MESS, but having one configuration and interface is convenient. MESS needs the firmware of the system it will emulate and almost always the software it will run. Same as MAME there is no manual so use this line to see the options.

$ sdlmess -h

The developers have merged MESS into MAME. Ports is still using an older version from when they were split. I don't know if this will mean the port will disappear in the future.

Packages

Resources

RetroArch

RetroArch is frontend for libretro cores or plugins. The cores emulate many systems.

Packages

Packages: libretro cores

Computer Emulation

The computer systems I listed had operating systems, but it wasn't required to play games. It seems for those that the disk images were enough to start playing.

Resources

Atari ST, STE, TT, Falcon

The ST series had firmware and an operating system called TOS. Hatari has everything needed to play games.

Packages

Games

Resources

Commodore 8 bit series

This sections covers the list below, but there were other 8 bit systems by Commodore.

I briefly tested VICE and games seem to work with it. Both Frodo and VICE have the classic blue Commodore boot screen with Commodore BASIC.

Packages

Games

Resources

Commodore Amiga

FS-UAE and UAE both emulate many of the Amiga systems and the firmware which Amiga called Kickstart. AmigaOS wasn't required to play the games I tried.

UAE is a mess. Everything I seem to do to it causes it to crash. None of the software tests on their website work. I tried all sorts of options with no luck. When it locks and crashes it spews messages constantly and causes havoc with the window manager. It wont even exit properly without using the quit button.

FS-UAE was frustrating to get running the first time even though the package readme and the documentation covers everything. The internal firmware is enabled by setting kickstart_file = internal in the configuration file. Set the floppy_drive_0 = to a floppy image file location. Press F12 once the program is running. That is enough to get started.

Packages

Games

Resources

Microsoft MSX

The MSX is a standard and not a specific computer. It includes the MSX, MSX2, MSX2+, and MSX Turbo R. I imagine there was problems over the years between implementations of that standard, but I didn't see any problems emulating games.

openMSX supports cassettes, cartridge ROMs, disk files, and so on. It also emulates the firmware and can use a directory as a disk. I have never seen a game or emulator on OpenBSD that uses the menu key until now.

Packages

Games

Resources

Sega SC-3000

See Sega SG-1000 in Game Console Emulation.

ZX Spectrum

Fuse worked with the games I tried and didn't require any extra files to make it work.

Packages

Games

Resources

Game Console Emulation

There is so much to say about every console. Each one of these systems could fill a book by themselves. I am fairly brief with each section to prevent this from turning into an emulation document. I didn't put specific information and resources about MESS and Mednafen because they are covered in multiple system emulation. I suggest getting a gamepad because it works better than using a keyboard and mouse.

There are several game consoles that don't require firmware, but I haven't found any homebrew games for them yet. They include the Watara Supervision, Amstrad GX4000, Emerson Arcadia 2001, Intelligent Game MPT-03, Ormatu 2001, and the UVI Compu-Game. MESS emulates all of them.

Resources

Atari 2600, Atari VCS

Neither MESS or Stella require any firmware because whatever ROM the system needs is included with the game.

Packages

Games

Resources

Atari Jaguar

Virtual Jaguar is the only Jaguar emulator in ports. I haven't seen any games use the number pad and I hope I don't. I wasn't able to get many of the games and demos to run unless they were in a certain format. None of the CD games I tried worked.

Packages

Games

Resources

Interton Electronic VC 4000

I don't know much about this system and like many others the homebrew scene for it doesn't exist.

Packages

Games

Resources

NEC TurboGrafx-16

The homebrew scene for the TurboGrafx-16 also known as the PC Engine is almost nonexistent. I think that is because it wasn't a popular system, it looks difficult to program for, and the media contains whatever BIOS the system needs.

Packages

Games

Resources

Nintendo 64

Mupen64Plus is the only working emulator in ports for this system that emulates the firmware. It includes all the needed plugins to work and has 3D acceleration support in OpenBSD. It only requires a game to run.

Packages

Games

Resources

Nintendo DS

DeSmuME is the only DS emulator in ports and it emulates the DS firmware. It supports using a gamepad, keyboard, and mouse. In OpenBSD a mouse can also be a touchscreen or graphics tablet. This might be useful since the DS used a stylus. I found some of the games nearly impossible to play without a stylus, but when I tried a graphics tablet it wasn't any better than the mouse. Maybe a touch screen with a stylus might work better. I didn't test if the microphone works.

Packages

Games

Resources

Nintendo Entertainment System

The NES had so many variants and clones it would be difficult to list them all, but here are just a few.

Luckily none of that is important to emulation. I think Mednafen and Nestopia UE are good choices, but I recommend FCEUX.

Packages

Games

Resources

Nintendo Game Boy, Game Boy Color

VBA-M and Gambatte have command line and graphical versions. I prefer the command line, but neither of them could correctly use my gamepad without the graphical configuration. VBA-M gives Pango warnings and crashes when configuring a controller. mGBA has limited options and is best used as a RetroArch core. I suggest using Gambatte's graphical version for now.

Packages

Games

Resources

Nintendo Game Boy Advance

The options for Game Boy Advance emulation are similar to the Game Boy except without Gambatte.

Packages

Games

Resources

Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Also known as the Super Famicom in Japan the SNES was the follow up to the NES. As for as emulating it on OpenBSD I think Mednafen is a good choice, but I recommend Snes9x.

Packages

Games

Resources

Sega Genesis

The Sega Genesis also known as the Mega Drive had an odd history of peripherals. The Sega CD was a base that the Genesis plugged into. Then the 32X plugged into the top loader of the Genesis. Even though the 32X and CD were peripherals they were also another game console. This created a patchwork monstrosity. I only discuss the original Genesis in this section because the emulation scene lists each of those systems separately.

Packages

Games

Resources

Sega Master System

The Master System is also known as the Sega Mark III.

Packages

Games

Resources

Sega Saturn

I don't have much to say because I had no luck emulating games with Yabause, but it does emulate the firmware.

Packages

Games

Resources

Sega SG-1000

Some of the clones and variants of the SG-1000 include

Some of the emulation websites I saw lumped the SG-1000 together with the Sega Master System. Both are similar, but different systems. None of the emulators in ports require firmware.

Packages

Games

Resources

Sony PlayStation

Both PCSX-Reloaded and the core for RetroArch emulate the PlayStation BIOS, but PCSX-Reloaded is broken on Intel GPUs. So if you do use an Intel GPU your only choice is RetroArch unless you have the extra firmware files.

Packages

Games

Resources

Live Media Emulation

I added live CDs with games here. None of these require an emulated disk.

Resources

Fedora Games

Fedora has live DVDs it calls spins. One of the spins is a distribution of games for x86-64. Most are duplicates of what is in ports, but a few are not available in OpenBSD.

The live DVD has a problem in QEMU with APIC. When Fedora starts press tab and add a space then the word noapic to the line of kernel options then press enter. The emulated display will stay blank for a long time while Fedora loads. Some games don't work and the 3D games will cause problems. I only tested this live DVD on QEMU, but it may work on Bochs.

Packages

Games

Resources

ReactOS

The ReactOS live CD runs on x86 and x86-64 emulators. I only tested it with QEMU, but it should work with Bochs and MESS. ReactOS comes with Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, and WinMine. Both the solitaire games are clones of the card games in Microsoft Windows. WinMine is a Microsoft Minesweeper clone.

Packages

Games

Resources

Operating System Emulation

Operating systems that don't require a separate emulator and installation are listed here. Live CDs have their own section under emulation.

DOS

DOSBox is the only DOS emulator in ports. It is designed to run DOS games, but supports any DOS software including Microsoft Windows 1, 2, 3, 95, 98, and ME. It usually doesn't need any extra files to run games. Some of its great features are using a directory as a filesystem and using ISO files without mounting the image in OpenBSD first.

There are many thousands of DOS games made over the decades. To play any of them you need to know how to use DOS. If you know how to use a shell and terminal then DOS is easy to learn. Don't forget to read manual and package readme because you will need them.

There is a bug in DOSBox that causes games to run slower as the cycle count increases. The best way to find the best cycle count is to run a game that has audio and lower the speed until the audio sounds right. Put the cycle count outputted by DOSBox in cycles= in the [cpu] section of the DOSBox configuration. For me 33000 worked best, but 40000 to 50000 was acceptable. CPU Speed Test said 40000-50000 cycles in DOSBox is around the speed of an early Intel Pentium 1. If games or DOSBox crash try lowering the cycle count.

Packages

Games

Utilities

Resources

Games in Other Software

Games popup in unexpected places like a text editor. Software not intended to emulate or run games that includes one is listed here.

Emacs

One of the old jokes about GNU Emacs says it's an operating system in need of a text editor. It shouldn't surprise anyone that it includes several games it calls amusements. More are available as addons. Both types of games are similar to the BSD games collection.

Packages

Games


Made by Mr. Satterly
With help from Mrs. Satterly