The Best Open Source Clones of Great Old Games

The world of open source software isn’t limited to LibreOffice and Linux. There’s a ton of game development happening as well. One pastime of open source developers is cloning old or unplayable games into open source versions. There are some amazing free games that you can play, and many are worth exploring. The following are some of our favorites open source game clones.

All the games below can be played without owning the original game. There are many amazing open source engine updates that allow ancient games to run on newer systems. However, we’ll only be looking at standalone games in this post.

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FreeCiv, a clone of Sid Meier’s Civilization II, is faithful and long-running. While the classic 4X game runs on Windows alone, there’s also a browser-based version of the game with 3D graphics that runs on OpenGL. That’s the way many players end up conquering capitals these days. The similar FreeCol emulates Sid Meier’s Colonization, another Civilization-style game enjoyed by long-time fans of the genre.

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UFO: Alien Invasion clones the alien-fighting strategy game XCOM. Players deploy soldiers to fight against invading aliens in turn-based, RNG-heavy combat. The game runs on Windows, Ubuntu and Debian.

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Before modern titles took over the arena shooter genre, games like Quake and Unreal ruled the category. Alien Arena is a call back to those days. There’s a free version, with slightly fewer features and a $10 Steam version, with some more options. Both of the versions are compatible with one another for multiplayer matches. Test things out with the free version, and upgrade when you’re hooked. The game runs on both Windows and Linux.

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A clone of the Command and Conquer: Red Alert series, OpenRA faithfully recreates the real-time strategy game, pixelated graphics and all. If you have a warm spot in your hear for this series, you’ll find crushing commies to be suitably rewarding. Newer players might be put off by the graphical limitations. And if Red Alert isn’t your favorite in the C&C series, Tiberian Dawn and Dune 2000 have also been revived. The game runs on Windows, macOS, and most popular Linux distros.

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FlightGear is a fully-featured open source flight simulator. This game isn’t a clone of a specific game, per se. However, it shares a lot with flight simulators like Microsoft Flight Simulator. It’s a sophisticated, professional-level simulation. Consequently, you should be prepared to spend some serious time actually learning how to fly a plane. Even though it might be fun, you can’t simply zoom off the runway into the wild blue. The game runs on Windows, macOS, and most flavors of Linux.

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Oolite is an Elite clone, the space flying sim designed to test your flying and dogfighting chops in a zero-gravity environment. While players have sometimes called Elite “space trucking,” the game has many hardcore fans. The game is compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux.

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Battle for Wesnoth is an open source, turn-based strategy game set in a high fantasy kingdom. It’s similar to other real-time strategy games like Starcraft but set in a fantasy world and with less base building. Wesnoth also supports multiplayer for competitive online play and offers an immersive and sophisticated combat system to challenge your skills as a general. The game runs on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android.

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If you want a more faithful clone of Age of Empires II, 0 A.D. is your ticket. In this real-time strategy game, you’ll build a base and fight against enemies with various classes of combatant. The game runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

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SuperTuxKart is a open source racing game based on Mario Kart. While the licensed characters of the Mario Kart world are gone, you’ll find the same playful atmosphere and quick controls. Along with multiplayer matches, the single-player story campaign challenges players to free the world of the Mascot Kingdom from the clutches of the evil Nolok. The game is compatible with Linux, Windows, macOS and Android.

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Tuxmon is a free, open source, turn-based monster-fighting RPG in the style of Pokémon. Just like Pokémon, you’ll explore the world, catch monsters, and press them in to battle to win you glory. In the manner of SuperTuxKart, the game brings the spirit of its inspiration to Linux with a style and story of its own. The game is still largely under construction, but installers are available for Windows, macOS, Linux and Android.

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Secret Maryo Chronicles is a clone of – you guessed it – Super Mario. The eternally popular platformer is recreated here, though development has been stalled for several years. The game still runs on modern systems, though it can be a little buggy. If you can get it to run properly, it’s a great clone of a classic. The game is compatible with Windows, macOS, and most Linux distros.

While open source games can’t compete with the graphical prowess of AAA titles, there still a ton of enjoyment to get out of open source titles. If you don’t mind games being a little rough around the edges, you’ll find a heaping helping of satisfaction.

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