Remember a time when the most complex aspect of a game was unwrapping the packaging? It was a time when a first-person shooter truly was just about one person doing a whole lot of shooting and not much else. It was a time when RAM was still counted by the megabyte and 1024×768 resolution was considered high-end.
If you do remember any of that, first of all, welcome to adulthood. Next, I would like to introduce you to FreeMGP (Mega games Pack) Vol 1. It will take you down memory lane, but even if you are too young to remember the games in this pack, playing them might still seem like a fun way to spend a summer afternoon.
Unlike the PC game bundles of old, there is no physical packaging for this game pack. Instead, you must download the 1.82 GB ISO image and burn it to a DVD. The entire pack of games is free (made up of both open source and freeware games), and this Linux version contains less games than the Windows one, only including those that have been tested and work well in Linux. Even with that limitation, it still includes 211 games. Nevertheless, all of the games are Windows games, so FreeMGP requires you to have Wine installed and operational.
Installation and Interface
Once you have the DVD burned, open it in a file browser. There is an autorun file, presumably for Windows, as well as three folders. You have to choose the Installer folder and run GamesInstaller.exe to start the installer program. I had to assume this was the correct way to run the program, as I did not find any Linux-specific instructions.
The Installer itself, however, is attractive and runs perfectly under Wine. It includes a side menu with game categories and a list of each game. To install, you simply click the check box next to any of the games you want and then click “Start”. It really cannot get any easier.
The games install quickly, as would be expected, and do not take you through individual installers. The only anomaly I experienced was that, with my dual-monitor setup, one of the monitors would turn off during installation, as if a game were about to start.
Once the games are installed, they will appear in your Wine menu, providing individual shortcuts for each game.
I did not test all of the games, but all of the ones I did test worked without any real problems. Some of them were even 3D games, and they all ran well. The compilers of the game pack have taken the time to pre-configure the games to work correctly under Linux. For example, if a game did not run correctly in fullscreen mode, they set it to load in a window by default. Like typical older windows games, this presents you with a variety of resolutions and window sizes, something that is unavoidable.
Once you get playing, you will likely forget about anything I just said, mostly because the games are fun, providing you with everything from all-out arcade action to thoughtful role playing. FreeMGP has something for everyone, children included.
I found most of the games required the mouse, keyboard, or some combination thereof, with a few responding to a gamepad. Many of the games are undoubtedly familiar and are still popular, like Glest and Wolfenstein 3D. Some, like Tower of Goo (the predecessor to World of Goo), can have you clicking for hours. Others like Aztec Challenge have an annoying nostalgic familiarity that is quite amusing. Then, there are games like Marble Arena that could probably still stand on their own with challenging and entertaining gameplay.
The Bottom Line
- FreeMGP is easy to use and will provide you with a plethora of good games.
- It’s free, portable, and redistributable
- Even though you can probably find most of the games separately, FreeMGP will save you the time
- It has been configured to work with Linux. How cool is that?
- Most of the games are pretty dated and may even draw an insult or two from your teenage brother
- They are Windows games that still require Wine, often producing wide variety of full screen resolutions or tiny game windows
Overall, FreeMGP is a mega pack of fun games, some of which you will definitely want to keep installed and may even pass along to your children. It is definitely worth a little of your time, and at zero cost, it is unquestionably worth the price.