Birch Street Computing -

about me

John M is a Linux fan in Lowell, MA.

I work at at a local company writing software. I fool around with Free and Open Source software for fun.

I am an avid user.

Why Gamers Suck


Ok, the title is inflammatory (intentionally) because of an article that appeared on Slashdot. The article was titled Why Gaming Sucks On Linux and is probably meant to get a lot of ad impressions for the posting site.

The actual meat of the article is quite short. It is four pages however. I'm going to harp on the fact that the title of the article is "Why Gaming Sucks on Linux" because the article never reaches that conclusion. NEVER.

The proper title of the article should have been something like, "Cedega and Wine don't cut it for me." Maybe, "I can't play <arbitrary-windows-only-title> on Linux," would also work. The article lists Loki games, then whines about Crossover and Cedega. It concludes saying that the only thing a person can do is dual-boot. That's it. Its premise is even weaker than the can't install Quake 3 troll.

Of course, slashdot is infested with "gamers". A large number of replies actually agreed with the article. Reading the replies, especially those in response to posts by Michael Simms (of TuxGames) I started to understand, or maybe remember since I once subscribed to PC Gamer, the mind-set of the windows gamer.

The real complaint is not that Linux doesn't have games to play. The complaint cannot be that Linux does not support AAA commercial games. That can also be easily refuted. The complaint, boils down to the fact that Linux can't play every flavor-of-the-month title that comes out for windows. Playing games and having fun isn't the point. Its an acute case of neophilia combined with attitude.

I guess I'm ranting because it's yet another mis-framed argument that make my Operating System of Choice look worse than it is. Gamers think that games are somehow important. Games are not important; games are something that you do for an hour or two after work to blow off steam. Maybe, at work when you are bored and should be working. Is this a cynical I'm-more-grownup-than-you attitude that I have? Probably.

But I'm a Linux user - I don't use it because it's cool, or because it's not-windows. Maybe that's why I tried it the first place, but that's not why I (and others) stick with it. Personally, I think those are bad reasons to stick with an OS. I like it because it works, that I can reach way down into the guts of the system and make it do what I want. I can see how each component works together and I know that I, personally, can fix any problem given enough time and tenacity. I code, browse the web, keep in contact with people, learn about stuff in addition to playing games. I bought and paid for UT 2004 and Majesty, and I still play them. I play majesty a lot, because I like the game.

I'm not amused that flavor-of-the-month-ism is a reason people would choose Windows over Linux. But so be it, if that's the most important thing to some people let them choose Windows. But there are a lot of people, like me, that don't care about latest and greatest - but who don't want to scare away games makers from the platform. Bring on the niche market! We're here, we're not about to drop Linux because of some arbitrary title not being ported over, so sell us your wares... we'll buy em.

We want to play. We just don't won't compromise our choices for 15 minutes of game. Ok, so the rant is losing cohesion, time to wrap this up ;-)

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