In my large list of console applications to mention, I have two or three games, plus a pack of classic games that are worth revisiting. I’m guessing these are nothing new to most people, or at least to people who have been around Linux for a while. But so long as I am looking over console goodies, it would be a shame to leave them out.
Starting at the top left is bs or Battleship, which plays much the same way as the classic pen-and-paper game, or for that matter the plastic pin-and-grid set that was reportedly popular in America before computers and stuff came along. It’s a faithful reproduction with a few variations that will probably keep you busy for a little while.
It’s not a terrifically exciting game, the premise is simple and the learning curve is very shallow, but it’s a clean program with a very comfortable interface, on-screen instructions and a few colors to keep your eyes engaged. If I had written it, I would be quite satisfied with my work.
The opposite of that is gnuchess, which is a devilish console game — not only for its rather impressive chess ability, but also for being an exceptionally obtuse application. Moves are done by coordinates, and you have to tell the game to show you the board. What you see in the screenshot there is probably enough to get you going; the commands you see are a few samples.
I’m not much of a chess player anyway, but to have to count over rows on the screen, then count up to figure out where a piece will end up … that’s not just difficult, it’s an obstacle. If I had any love for chess and if I were forced to rely on this program, I would quit the hobby.
But as always, I didn’t put forth the effort to create these things, so it’s not really fair for me to complain about them. I am a mere end-user, and for that reason, I would do better to keep most of my criticism to myself.
The other three you see there are out of the venerable BSD games package, which just about every distro includes (with the odd exception of Crux :| ). You get about 200 console games (I exaggerate) with that, not least of those being Hangman, on the left, and Trek, on the bottom right.
There are too many games in there to synopsize each one; whether you prefer text-based games along the vein of Zork, or if you just want something clean and plain for your children to enjoy (like a Go clone), there are enough options to keep you busy for a while. I’ve seen these games as part of Ubuntu and Arch; and no doubt they’re in your distro too. Unless you’re using Crux, like me.
One other note, also in that package is the “rain” game, which is hardly a game — it’s more an animation that mimics raindrops on a puddle. You can get an idea from it in the lower left corner; I show it there mostly because of its potential as a console screensaver, not so much as a game.
As a final note, I did find another active telnet game which is worth exploring … literally. Discworld is something you can play through a Java-enabled browser, through a MUD client or just from the command line. The home page for the game recommends other options, but for me just
telnet discworld.atuin.net worked fine.
Of course, if you’re expecting wild glowing graphics and unique spell effects, you’ll have to rely on your imagination. And to think, 20 years ago, this was more or less the way the best games were written. …
If you come up with any other console games, aside from the ones I have already skimmed over, please feel free to drop a note. I need something to keep myself occupied. ;)