Linux is not exactly the favorite OS of gamers mostly because a lot of people still think there’s just a small number of games available for this platform. That’s not exactly true as there are quite a few games supporting Linux and many Windows games can be installed through Wine.
However, it is important to choose one of the best Linux distros for gaming, not because you couldn’t play games on any other distro but because these have been optimized for gaming.
Fans of Ubuntu will be thrilled to find out this distro has been thoroughly equipped to provide an excellent gaming experience. It bundles a robust collection of game environments such as Steam, Wine, PlayOnLinux, Crossover, and DosBox among others.
It also supports over 20,000 games designed for Linux, but also Windows and MS DOS. Furthermore, Ubuntu GamePack ensures you can play Flash games online without any issues as it includes Adobe Flash.
SteamOS is highly appreciated among Linux gamers and makes an excellent choice although it supports fewer hardware devices compared to the other distros. It also requires 4GB of RAM or more, which shouldn’t be an issue for any modern gaming rig but you won’t be able to use it on older machines.
SteamOS is a Debian-based distro and includes the popular Steam gaming engine that offers access to an impressive number of free and paid games.
Manjaro: Gaming Edition, also known as mGAMe is an Arch-based distro that’s suitable for those with less technical experience. It bundles Wine, PlayOnLinux and a huge list of emulators including DOSBox, Stella, Dolphin Emulator, Kega Fusion, DeSmuME, RetroArch and the list goes on.
There are also various terminal add-ons preinstalled such as Screenfetch, Colors, and IloveCandy.
SparkyLinux is another well known Linux gaming distro. The main drawback is it uses Debian’s testing branch which might provide all the latest features but certainly isn’t as bug-free or as stable as the current public version.
One of it’s strongest features is the support for light desktop environments such as KDE, LXDE, Openbox and JWM since this only leaves more processing power available for your games.
However, keep in mind SparkyLinux isn’t the best choice for beginners as it will take some time to learn the ropes.
Lakka is probably your cup of tea if you enjoy playing retro games. Unlike any of the other distros we talked about today this one lets you turn your PC into a retro game console. It’s based on the RetroArch emulator and has low hardware requirements so it can be used on older computers as well.
Furthermore, Lakka comes with automatic rewinding, joypad recognition, shaders, and netplay. The install is around 300 MB and you can run it from a USB storage device.
These are some of the best Linux distros for gaming. Nevertheless, there are other distros optimized for playing games you can check out, among which Solus, Game Drift Linux, and Fedora Games.
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