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Come On Baby Light My Game Roundup: Cast your mind back to the very first Game Roundup. The year: 1627, give or take a couple billion years. Puritan settlers, facing a dull winter, look to the natives for help in rounding up classic games such as "throw me the ball; okay, now I throw you the ball" and "not starving to death". In these more prosperous times, a plethora of fun Linux games awaits, if we will but bother to download and compile them. Today, let's give thanks for the stereotypical hackers who spend all their time writing these games, and the dashing millionaire playboys who stay up past their bedtimes playing and reviewing them.

Twig's In Space faithfully reproduces the look of an '80s arcade Asteroids-like game being emulated with MAME. Written by a CS professor partly as a computer graphics demonstration, partly to tweak a rival professor at the same university, making the game a more sophisticated, less directly insulting version of the old standby Spray Steve's Cooties (one of the most obscure computer games in history, if Google is any judge).

Barrage is kind of a disturbing game, and it's mouse-based to boot, so I can't even play it very well. Soldiers and tanks file past you and you try to blow them up with your artillery piece. They're not even trying to attack you! It's like blowing up a parade! It's got a sort of shooting gallery theme, but it should have little wooden ducks and clowns instead.

Speaking of which, look at Chickens For Linux, which offers the same kind of game but you're destroying chickens hell-bent on destruction, unlike the perfectly harmless military units of Barrage. I couldn't get it to compile because of some Allegro thing, but I didn't try very hard because I don't really like this kind of game anyway.

Chromium B.S.U. is a very nice-looking infinite-powerup shooter. Very difficult--more difficult than my skill or patience can handle--but it's designed for those who like a challenge. Maybe it would be more to my liking if it were called Chromium B.T.U. instead.

neverball is like a big Labyrinth puzzle that you tilt to move a ball around. I used to crave a Labyrinth puzzle when they were a mid-level prize in those magazine-selling schemes advertised in the back of Boys Life, but now I can't be bothered. There's a putting-based variant called Neverputt which is better.

Robohack is an ingenious ASCII version of arcade favorite Robotron 2064, with all the flashing colors and obnoxiousness you've come to expect from such games. But it's all in ASCII and ncurses. It takes a special breed of madman to take ncurses in this direction, and I'm behind it all the way. Greg Naughton, I salute you.

Nazghul (I guess that's a Nazgul plus a ghoul) is a tile-based game engine that's being scripted to clone Ultima 5, but which can of course be scripted to clone other games. Wins major points for agreeing with me that the first-person Ultima dungeons are entirely pointless.

I haven't played it, but balder is based on the zero-gravity combat training game featured in Ender's Game. Character development presumably not included.

Transcend is a board-based shooter with smoothly morphing vector graphics, in which you assemble a weapon out of space flowers to help you battle a big "anti-glyph". The thing is that everything in the game world corresponds to some facet of a piece of music which gets constructed as you solve the level. I would really love to experience this aspect of the game but I couldn't get the sound to work. This one is quite the high-concept piece, let me say. Fun, too.

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