Raspberry Pi is not just for DIY projects. You can use it as a desktop computer or send it into space. It can be configured as an inspiring digital photo frame or even a smart mirror.

But did you know that a computer the size of a credit card will also run games? We’re not talking about emulation here; actual games can be installed on Raspberry Pi.

Install games on your Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is incredibly useful and versatile. It will even run retro games in emulators for many classic platforms. But if you don’t want to mess around with emulators, retro style games on your Raspberry Pi still possible.

The developers of the following games have released them to the public. Some of them are originals, others are clones, but you can run them on Raspberry Pi. We recommend Raspberry Pi 3 or later, although some may work on Pi 2.

1. Doom

You can install 1993 Doom on your Raspberry Pi. Above, you can see that it is running on a Raspberry Pi 2 mounted on an official Raspberry Pi 7-inch touch display.

Doom is one of many open source games that fans can reuse. The source code has been ported to Linux and ARM devices since release in 1997.

You can enjoy single player games and deathmatch like in the good old days. However, this may differ depending on which version of Doom you are installing. Several are available for the Raspberry Pi. Get started with our guide to installing Doom on Raspberry Pi

2Duke Nukem 3D

«It’s time to kick ass and chew gum…and I’m all gum!»

So said in 1996 the eponymous hero of Duke Nukem 3D, a little bit adult-oriented. The release of the game’s source code in the late 1990s allowed the game to run on non-Windows platforms. This included AmigaOS as well as Linux.

While you can play Duke Nukem 3D in an emulator, this is not required. Just grab the EDUKE_32 software (released as a semi-official branch of the game in 2000) and follow all the installation steps.

3. Under the steel sky

Set in a futuristic Australian dystopian future (like Mad Max, but with cities), Under the Steel Sky is a point-and-click adventure. While rare these days, it was a popular approach to a story-driven adventure game in the 1990s.

Under a Steel Sky was a collaboration between video game designer Charles Cecil and British comic book legend Dave Gibbon. The serious tone of the game (with the exception of Union City and, ultimately, overcoming an environmental disaster) is mixed with offbeat humor.

Installing under a Raspberry Pi under a steel sky is easy. However, it is desirable to run the game from the desktop, and not from the command line. A bug in some versions makes it impossible to restart the computer otherwise.

Under a steel sky works on modern computers thanks to ScummVM. You can install it on your Pi with:

sudo apt install beneath-a-steel-sky 

Note that this will also include the ScummVM (Script Creation Utility for the Maniac Mansion virtual machine) game engine. Luckily, other ScummVM games like Flight of the Amazon Queen will also run on the Raspberry Pi. Find them on the ScummVM website.

4 Wolfenstein 3D

Days before Doom, id Software released Wolfenstein 3D, a castle-based Nazi/World War II shooter. You may have played one of its sequels: Return to Castle Wolfenstein or Wolfenstein: The New Order.

After the 1992 release, the game’s source code was released in 1995. A port of Wolf4SDL was eventually developed and can now be installed on the Raspberry Pi. Like some of the other games on this list, Wolfenstein 3D will run on the RetroPie game emulator. But why do you need additional emulator resources when you can just install it directly?

As with any software that requires compilation, Wolfenstein 3D will take time to get ready to work with the Raspberry Pi. However, when you do, you’ll be ready to start blowing up the Nazis and uncovering their terrible secrets in the labyrinth castle.

5 Quake III

The third installment of the Quake series is the most exciting and runs on your Raspberry Pi!

Using the ioquake3 source code, it works better on the Raspberry Pi 3 than the previous model. However, it should even work on a Raspberry Pi Zero, although it can be slow to install, so be patient.

As with previous games, id Software released the source code for Quake III Arena in 2005. This led not only to a port of ioquake3, but also to various standalone games. Will they work on Raspberry Pi? Well, OpenArena certainly will.

Let the crushing begin! Use the video tutorial above and the creator’s forum post to build and install Quake III on your Raspberry Pi.

6 Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

One of the greatest games in Star Wars history was Jedi Rogue, in which you guide Jedi Kyle Katarn through a series of missions. Originally released in 2002, the source code was briefly released in 2013. During this time, an open source fork, OpenJK, was launched and ported to Linux and macOS.

Running the game on the Raspberry Pi is easy enough and within minutes you will be engaged in power pushing, saber throwing, space combat.

As if that wasn’t enough, you can also play the Jedi Academy sequel on the Pi!

7. Hurricane

I’m a big fan of the original Turrican, first released in 1990 on Commodore 64 and Amiga computers. While both machines can be emulated on a Raspberry Pi you can try a free Hurrican clone.

Featuring beautiful new graphics, Hurrican is the most successful fan-made clone of the game, taking second place at the 2008 Indie Game Showcase. The source code for Hurrican was released in 2012, leading to porting to other platforms. You can find instructions and a download link on MisApuntesDe.

8. Pifox

It’s Star Fox! On Raspberry Pi! One of the coolest space adventure games of all time can be installed on a Pi… well, at least a clone of it.

Designed by freshmen at Imperial College London, this faithful recreation even includes filled-in 3D graphics just like the original 1993 SNES game. For techies, PiFox is written in 5900 lines of assembly language and you’ll find the data available for download on GitHub. You will also find instructions for connecting a Super Nintendo controller to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO.

9. Overlord

Another Raspberry Pi-compatible game worth checking out is Overlord. Inspired by classic space shooters, the game was originally released on Acorn Archimedes back in the 1990s. To run Overlord on Raspberry Pi, you will need RISC OS instead of Raspbian.

Visit this Raspberry Pi Forum thread for more information on buying and installing Overlord.

Download : Overlord for RISC OS

10 Free Civ

Unlike the latest Civilization game, FreeCiv is an open source clone compatible with the Raspberry Pi.

Just use this command to install:

 sudo apt install freeciv-client-sdl 

First released in 1996, FreeCiv is available for every desktop operating system you can think of. The gaming experience is closest to Civilization II without playing the original. While the original is considered iconic, FreeCiv has developed some strong differences from the source material over the years.

FreeCiv even has multiplayer support. Imagine: Civ style multiplayer action on Raspberry Pi!

11. Micropolis

Originally designed by the legendary Will Wright, SimCity first appeared in 1989. As such, there was no version for Linux. However, thanks to the SimHacker team, the game was cloned for Linux, including ARM devices such as the Raspberry Pi.

As you’ll see, Micropolis is pretty much indistinguishable from the very first SimCity and is, of course, playable.

You should find Micropolis in the default packages. Install it with:

 sudo apt install micropolis 

For more information, visit the Micropolis project page on GitHub. Please note that there is also a browser version of Micropolis and the game is available for MacOS and Windows.

These Raspberry Pi games are just the beginning

These 11 Raspberry Pi games (and their various spinoffs and sequels) are just the tip of the iceberg. More importantly, they must prove that Raspberry Pi gaming is more than just retro action. You can truly play on Raspberry Pi without adding emulators.

This is just the beginning. Did you know that you can play full PC games on your Raspberry Pi? Refer to our guide to streaming PC games to Raspberry Pi to learn how to stream

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