Playing Windows games on Linux is not really a difficult task. Most gamers are reluctant to migrate to Linux because they have this misconception that Windows games cannot be played on Linux. How wrong they are. If you are one of those avid gamers that I mentioned above, here are 4 ways that you can play Windows games on Linux.
The obvious way to install any Windows applications on Linux is via Wine. At the time when WineHQ released the stable 1.0 version, it has already supported more than 200 Windows games. Before you install any games on Linux, you can first check out Wine AppDB whether your game is already supported in Wine.
PlayOnLinux (POL) is a python based script based on Wine code. It is a useful tool that aim to help Linux users run Windows games on Linux without having to go through the scary command line interface. The main features of POL lies in its ability to allow each application to be installed within its own wineprefix. What this means is that one can easily install/modify/remove Windows games without affecting the systems or other applications. POL is open source and has a strong community support on their POL forum. Being a python script, it is not limited to any Linux distribution. Whether you are using Ubuntu, Fedora or Gentoo, you can find installation and usage instructions on the POL site.
CrossOver Games is an addition to the popular CrossOver series. Unlike other CrossOver products, which are aimed primarily at office productivity applications, CrossOver Games focuses on the stability of installing Windows games on Linux (and Mac OSX). As the same as PlayOnLinux, CrossOver Games provides a click and install method that makes it simple for anyone to use. The latest version of CrossOver Games has already tested to work with more than a hundred Windows games, including the popular World of Warcraft, Half-Life2 and Counterstrike.
CrossOver Games costs $39.95
Formerly known as WineX, Cedega is a proprietary software from Transgaming Technologies specifically designed for running game written for Windows under Linux. Being a proprietary product, users must subscribe to Transgaming membership to enjoy the full functionality of Cedega.
As a fork of Wine, Cedega strength lies in implement the Mircosoft DirectX API on Linux. Installation of games using Cedega is make to mimics the experience that Windows users have. You insert the disc, run setup.exe, wait for the game to finish installing and finally enjoy your game.