10 Best Linux Terminal Games

The Linux terminal is a wonderful place to interact with your hardware, without the inconvenience of a user interface. It’s the place that makes you feel like a true hacker or engineer. Obvious bonus points for setting the colors just right and posting your neofetch output in a subreddit of your choice. But did you know, the Linux terminal isn’t just for hacking? If you need a break while waiting on Mr Ripper to hash that password, you can play games right inside of the terminal. I took the time to try a bunch of these and made my picks for the best Linux Terminal Games.

NSnake

So we all know a legendary company called Nokia, put a game called Snake on cellphones and it changed the course of history for humankind. Now, new legends have taken the simple concept of a long snake-like string that eats pixels to grow, and placed it inside the Linux terminal. NSnake is available in almost all Linux distros in your default repositories as “nsnake”.

Nudoku

When you need a break from solving mathematical puzzles while programming, the best way to relax is by solving more math. Nudoku is a Sudoku puzzle game for the Linux terminal. In case you’re wondering what Nudoku is:

https://lmgtfy.app/?q=what+is+sudoku

This fun puzzle game is also available in almost all Linux distributions by default, under the name “nudoku”.

ASCII Patrol

As a terminal based game, this one is very impressive. It boasts an elaborate game menu and really neat level design. This game let’s you race the moon landscape and complete missions of increasing difficulty. Maybe it’s just my hand-eye coordination, but it certainly wasn’t that easy. If you’re looking for a really cool design and unique experience, this is definitely a game I’d recommend.

ASCII Patrol is available as a snap package only, so make sure you have Snapd enabled and install the game using snap. Package name is “ascii-patrol”.

Moonbuggy

Being a simpler version and the ancestor of ASCII Patrol, the game basically offers the same type of experience in a simpler design. You guide a moon buggy over various obstacles to complete levels. Unlike ASCII-Patrol, moonbuggy is available in most of the Linux distros default repositories as “moon-buggy”.

Ninvaders

For those that never played the classic Space Invaders, or various copies of that format, this game puts you in control of a spaceship. It’s your task to move the spaceship from left to right, dodging bombs dropped by alien ships, while returning fire to eliminate your alien opponents. It’s an entertaining format that will keep you in the terminal for quite some time. This game is also available by default in almost all Linux distributions as “ninvaders”.

Backgammon

I haven’t played this at all and don’t really know how it works, but it looks cool. If you’re into boardgames, but without the actual board, this is for you. You can even play against AI or another human. Backgammon is also available by default in most Linux distributions, though the package name is different than the actual name. Install “bsdgames” (a collection of games) to get this on your machine.

Tint

Who doesn’t remember Tetris? That game where align different shaped blocks that come down, where you always mess up by clicking just too late or too early. Shifting the block a little bit too far and setting the stage for your impending failure. You can now re-live this glorious retro game in your Linux terminal. Installs on almost all Linux distros as the package “tint”.

Tron

Coming from the Tron franchise, this game puts you in control of a neon colored line to race against other players. Test your skills to end up with the longest line, or get blocked by your ever growing enemies. Using Tron multiplayer, access via SSH:

ssh sshtron.zachlatta.com

2048

This simple game took Github by storm and has been cloned and copied into different iterations many times. Though the simple original of aligning numbers in your terminal, stays as the undefeated champion. If you’re into numbers and can think fast, give this game a try. Installs in a few different ways depending on your Linux distro, see the Github page for more details:

https://github.com/tiehuis/2048-cli

Pacman4console

Who doesn’t know the iconic Pacman games? Well either way, if you do or don’t, this retro arcade gem can be installed on Linux and played in your terminal. Try to eat all the dots while evading the little monsters, how hard can it be? Installs on most Linux distributions as the package “pacman4console”.

This is my list for the 10 best Linux terminal games. There are many copies and variations of these titles. If you have other titles that you believe should make this list, drop them down below in the comments. I love to see what awesome terminal games exist that I don’t know about.

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