Updated August 1, 2018
I want to show you what games are available on OpenBSD. How can you search for something you don't know exists? After reading this document you will have an overview of what games, emulators, and other game tools are out there and be able to find more on your own.
If you have questions about hardware check the OpenBSD manuals, mailing lists, and other forums. Bugs should be reported to the ports maintainers and software developers. Specifics about how to run the games are in their manuals, FAQs, Wikis, and ports documentation.
Every project seems to need not only a logo, but an animal mascot. For those who don't know the OpenBSD mascot is a pufferfish. That should explain the fish image above.
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 OpenBSD FAQ and Wikipedia. If you don't plan on using OpenBSD read the Wikipedia entry and some of the OpenBSD FAQ. If you use or plan to use OpenBSD read the manuals, OpenBSD FAQ, mailing lists, and other documentation.
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.
The demos here are about the demoscene, not the limited versions of commercial games.
Many of the game engines require the original game data from commercial games. If you are looking to buy those games your options are limited. The OpenBSD community have put together a list of commercial games with an OpenBSD game engine on Good Old Games which will save you time and money.
These reviews mostly deal with commercial games. AVGN is entertainment, though he does review several of the consoles OpenBSD can emulate.
OpenBSD has exclusive games? Yes it does, except for ports. The OpenBSD ports system is only used in OpenBSD which is different from some operating systems which share a software repository. The ports repository has OpenBSD specific patches mostly for compatibility, but the games are available for other operating systems.
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 required by fortune. The file 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.
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. See the hangman manual for how to play.
0 A.D. 0.22 is one of the most polished games on OpenBSD. You can wage war against your friends or turn the map into a farm.
Ports is the third-party software repository for OpenBSD. Packages are the binary distribution of ports. Read the FAQ and manuals to understand how to use both of them. Ports has readmes, extra documentation, website URLs, a software search, and more.
There are more ports than listed here. MMOs, game engines, and some others in ports are split into their own sections. The rest are here, but only those which I have tried.
The OpenTTD 1.7.0 menu using the free graphics replacement.
Older games such as Batrachians 0.1.6 don't scale, though sometimes offer a full screen option.
Not even OpenBSD can escape the many card games on every system. Belooted 0.1.4.1 shown here plays a card game popular in France and Bulgaria called Belote.
FooBillard 3.0 a 3D billiards simulator is an unexpected find in ports.
Roguelights and roguelikes are an important genre in open source games. Witchblast 0.7.5 is one of several games from those genres in ports.
These games are a mix of game engines that play a single game, source ports, forks, and so on. So many nonfree games end up on this list because the copyright owners of those games released the source code, but not the game assets. This creates an odd situation where the source code is ported to OpenBSD, but you still have to buy the game from somewhere else. A few of the game engines support demos which I listed and tested if available.
"Sorry, the demo data files don't contain this dialog." CorsixTH 0.61 using the Theme Hospital demo.
Descent 1 demo on DXX-Rebirth 0.60
Descent 2 demo on DXX-Rebirth 0.60
I wouldn't call any of these games massive. Choria claims to be an MMORPG, but it has a single player mode and I haven't found any servers for it. Crossfire is effectively dead. It had 0 players many times I checked, though recently I saw a few players or maybe idlers online.
The ManaPlus client supports Evol Online and The Mana World. The largest one is The Mana World with 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.
Crossfire client showing 5 people online which is the most I have ever seen. The client doesn't like my font choices.
MUDs are the precursor to MMOs and they could be described as text based MMOs or multiplayer Interactive Fiction. Ports includes MUD clients, not servers.
The Players who suit MUDs paper and A Rape in Cyberspace are great reads even if you don't play MUDs.
I would need the space of this entire document to explain how terrible browsers such as Firefox and Chromium are. All the browsers in ports are bad choices, but I think Firefox is the least worst.
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, but can't be downloaded. I found many games ran too slow to play.
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. A few game engines will accept Good Old Games and Steam game data, but Steam isn't available for OpenBSD. It's possible total conversions would work, but I haven't found any that do.
Blender is quite flexible for a 3D graphics program. You can make models for 3D printing, animated movies, and even games. Load the .blend file in Blender and the render menu becomes a game menu. Selecting the Start Game Engine option should work.
I read the API changes often and isn't backwards compatible. This may be why some of the games I tried didn't work.
Blender 2.79 with Sintel the Game loaded and ready to run.
Sintel the Game on Blender 2.79
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 EDuke32 in ports comes with the shareware version of Duke Nukem 3D. None of the total conversions I tried worked with the shareware version.
Flare 0.19 and its Alpha Demo
Flare is a 2D action RPG engine. It comes with one short game and more are available as mods. I wasn't able to get mods to work.
Hypatia 0.3.6 with its demo
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.
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: Hell on Earth, Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders, Hexen: Beyond Heretic, 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 for Doom and Doom II.
Zauberer and Blasphemer the free data replacements for Hexen and Heretic didn't work for me in Chocolate Doom. Freedoom seems to work with both PrBoom+ and Chocolate Doom, although there was some bugs.
GemRB runs Infinity Engine games which are 2D isometric RPGs. It requires the original game data and none of the games are free.
Experience toilet humor in the escape the room game titled Escape the Toilet on Instead 3.0.1
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 the few English games available and all of them worked.
Blasting aliens in Marathon 1 using Alephone 1.2.1
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 test them extensively.
If you don't play the game I suggest reading Marathon's story told through game terminals on Bungie's website.
Ren'Py is a visual novel game engine. It comes with two tutorial games for developers. Ren'Py on OpenBSD requires all the game files or source code to be exposed. When downloading games select the Linux version if one is available because it will most likely to have those files available.
Each game can have its own documentation and in game help systems. Ren'Py lacks a manual and most of the online documentation is for game developers. Use these lines for some basic help.
$ renpy -h $ renpy --help
Ren'Py on OpenBSD wont start because of a bug somewhere. This 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. Check the release date of the version in ports then avoid games made after that date.
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.
The games can be cute and short such as Mimi Nezumi on Ren'Py 6.17.7.
Katawa Shoujo on Ren'Py 6.17.7 evokes strong emotions from its fans.
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.
The game engines listed here are for DOS or more specifically DOSBox. While I don't cover emulating other operating systems to play games I think using DOSBox is a special case. DOSBox doesn't require an emulated disk and instead uses the file system exposed by OpenBSD. For other OS emulation it requires installing that OS inside a full computer emulator, which DOSBox doesn't need either. The game engines themselves don't require an installation, but they do need configured. All of those reasons make using DOS game engines somewhere between the difficulty of using ROMs in game console emulators and using an OS you must install inside a full computer emulator.
MegaZeux 2.70 start screen on DOSBox 0.74
MegaZeux is a game engine for Microsoft Windows that is similar to ZZT. The older DOS version of MegaZeux works in DOSBox, but this limits which games can be played.
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.
The Endless Journey is one of the more advanced games for MegaZeux 2.70 on DOSBox 0.74.
The Mugen title screen on DOSBox 0.74
MUGEN, M.U.G.E.N., or Mugen was a fighting game engine for Windows, though the early versions were for MS-DOS. The last DOS version was 2001.04.14 so any characters, stages, and mods need to be compatible with that. When looking for mods remember versions 1.0 and 1.1 were for Windows only. The DOS version of Mugen also needs DPMI to be placed in its directory which I linked to below.
Adding new content to Mugen can be a pain. Go through all the Mugen directories and read all the readmes and look through some of the .def files. It will explain how to add everything. After that comes the part of scouring through old websites testing which addons will work. Even if you find something that works most of the content out there has major problems with the old DOS Mugen. I didn't have a good experience with this engine, but I included it because it mostly works.
Majin Buu vs Goku in front of Babidi's spaceship. Notice the poor scaling in DOSBox 0.74. Use the fullscreen option instead.
The characters, stages, movies, and interfaces you can add are based on everything from 1990s fighting games to fast food mascots and vocoloid holograms. Everything I read called Mugen a game engine, but FreeCiv allows new units, graphics, sounds, and rulesets and it's not a game engine. I'm don't want to debate minor differences, so I also listed Mugen as a game engine.
The controversial RPG Maker 2000 game Super Columbine Massacre RPG! on EasyRPG 0.5.3.
The specifications and games for RPG Maker 2000 are similar to RPGs on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System while RPG Maker 2003 is similar to the Sony Playstation. The only software available to run them is EasyRPG. At a glance the games seemed to work, but I noticed some font distortion issues in RPG Maker 2000 games.
EasyRPG is a game engine, not a game maker. That means it can only run RPG Maker 2000 and 2003 games. It can't open, design, or compile them.
I listed all interactive fiction engines here because 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 it 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 in Gargoyle 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.
The great thing for players nearly all the games are free other than a few from the 1980s when IF was still sold in stores.
ResidualVM 0.2.1 can't scale its interface or detect the demos from its website.
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. The compatibility chart shows good support for the Escape from Monkey Island demo, but it wouldn't detect it. Likely the demo needs to be installed in Microsoft Windows first.
ScummVM runs 2D graphic adventure games that were made for other systems. Ports has the data for the CD versions of Beneath a Steel Sky and Flight of the Amazon Queen. A few more are available for free on the ScummVM website.
ScummVM supports too many game engines to list in the title. Here are just a few of those engines.