Gaming is always described as one of Linux' achilles heels. And while its certainly true there are more good windows games than Linux games, I've been pleasantly surprised by what is available for Linux. Two of my current favorites:
Quake Wars: Enemy Territory
I was a big fan of the original Wolfenstein Enemy Territory game. I must have played it for hundreds of hours. Not only was it free, it was an absolute blast to play. Not as insanely fast paced as Quake or Unreal Tournament, set in a realistic looking and feeling WW2 environment with more or less realistic weapons and with absolutely brilliant cooperative teamplay.
W:ET now has a more than worthy successor called Quake Wars: Enemy Territory. ETQW remains true to the original in many ways. Although it has picked up some speed (or am I getting old?) and it is no longer set in a WW2 environment but rather something slightly futuristic, everything that made W:ET so great is still present. Wonderful maps and missions, gorgeous graphics, varied classes with different abilities and weapons giving a teamplay that is second to none. And it works absolutely perfect on Linux.
Here is an "instructional" video that shows off the game and might help you get started:
ETQW is no longer a free game, although there is a free demo with 1 large map (the one explained in the video above) which is already sufficient to have countless hours of fun. You can download the Linux demo here:
World of Padman
World of Padman was perhaps my biggest surprise so far. This is a completely free and opensource Quake 3 Arena based shooter with a very original comic style. The graphics are nothing short of stunning and the whole game is so incredibly polished in every detail, its hard to believe it is not a commercial game.
The gameplay itself is not fundamentally different from other shooters, but the atmosphere most certainly is. With its comic style and "plastic" weapons (bubble guns to name just one), its perhaps also something you'd prefer to see your children play. But make no mistake, its fun for adults too! Here is the trailer (which hardly does justice to its actual visual appeal):
Download the full game here: