Top 7 open source terminal games for Linux

Here’s a look at the 7 open source terminal games for Linux

Do you miss playing classic text-based game for Linux from the 90s and early 2000s? Do you enjoy playing the newer games that pay tribute to the styles and gameplay of older Linux games?

We bring to you some of the simplest open source games for Linux: terminal-based games that you can go and play at the Linux terminal and relive the older days.


2048 had become one of the most popular web-based games hosted on GitHub a couple of years ago due to its simple mechanics of sliding blocks providing hours of entertainment. The game’s objective is to slide numbered tiles on a grid to combine them to create a tile with the number 2048.


But 2048 is such a simple game, it lent itself well to a terminal-based implementation, and hence, 2048-cli was born. Written in c, 2048-cli is an MIT-licensed version of the game, which plays exactly like its web-based big brother. 2048 has been described to be very similar to the Threes app released a month earlier.


Do you remember the classic game Space Invaders? Space Invaders is one of the earliest shooting games and the aim is to defeat waves of aliens with a laser cannon to earn as many points as possible. Do you miss playing it in your terminal? That is precisely what the GPLv2-licensed nInvaders offers, as one of the best throwback games of the 1970s. You can fight back attacking alien space ships with your single-turret cannon, as you move back and forth to avoid from being blown up.


Moon Buggy

Moon-buggy is a GPL-licensed character-based side scrolling game where you drive a car across the moon surface. You cannot stop, so you have to jump in time over any craters your car might meet.


Moon Buggy, which is modelled after the arcade game Moon Patrol, is a simple side scrolling driving game, but at the same time they are unexpectedly addictive, the same way as single-speed navigation games like Flappy Bird.


NetHack is a single-player roguelike adventure video game, which is a descendant of an earlier game called Hack (1985) and a clone of Rogue (1980). Unlike many other Dungeons & Dragons-inspired games, the emphasis in NetHack is on discovering the detail of the dungeon and not simply killing everything in sight – in fact, killing everything in sight is a good way to die quickly. Each game presents a different landscape – the random number generator provides an essentially unlimited number of variations of the dungeon and its denizens to be discovered by the player in one of a number of characters: you can pick your race, your role, and your gender.


Nethack is a fantasy game, wherein you can loot weapons, armor, scrolls, and potions to help you along the way. It is licensed under the NetHack General Public License, which is similar to the GPL.

Robot Finds Kitten

Robot Finds Kitten is a GPL-licensed “zen simulation” in which you play a robot whose job is to find the kitten. This task is complicated by the existence of various things which are not kitten. Robot must touch items to determine if they are kitten or not. The game ends when robotfindskitten. Alternatively, you may end the game by leaving the page.


This game is not only simple but also strangely relaxing to explore a modest world full of entertainingly-described objects in search of your lost cat.

BSD Games

The BSD games collection is a package that offers many different text-mode games across a range of themes, extending from the simple to the complicated. BSD games were originally packaged for various BSD distributions, generally under a BSD license, which included card games, clones of several well-known older games, and other entertaining applications.


Some of the games included in the package are worm, snake, mille (a Mille Bornes implementation), cribbage, and backgammon.


If you like numbers, you love Nudoku. Written in c and licensed under the GPLv3, Nudoku is a sudoku-game for the terminal. A logic game of putting numbers in a 9 by 9 grid, Nudoku provides a number of difficulty levels from easy to hard and plays as well as its GUI- (or paper-) based equivalents.


Do let us know if we have missed out any open source text-mode game for Linux in the comments below.

Kavita Iyer
Kavita Iyer
An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly one who believes in Being Human!!!


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