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Nintendo-style gaming, without Nintendo!
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Pengling Mar 3
I used to be a big fan of Nintendo, but in late 2021 I ditched the Switch and invested the funds in moving all of my gaming over to Linux, which I had been using since 2007 as my only OS anyway. Because people always claimed that you could only get that particular type of fantastical character-driven escapist all-ages gaming from a Nintendo console and nothing else, I immediately started jotting down a list of games that fit with that style (and have maintained it ever since), because it's what I enjoy and I believed that it's fully possible to get that experience on Linux without owning a Nintendo console or any other. Now that Nintendo has declared war on emulation in a way that could even potentially negatively affect Proton in the future, I figure that now's the time to put the list to good use!

The idea here is to share currently-available PC games (no emulation because that would be cheating and a total cop-out ) that can easily be run on Linux by whatever means, that fit the general all-ages escapism vibe and quality that Nintendo was famous for, covering both single-player titles and those featuring local and online multiplayer - they don't have to be drop-in replacements for specific Nintendo franchises, but there'll certainly be people looking for those, so hopefully we can deliver.

Note that this thread is distinct from the thread "Gaming on Linux for Kids" - even back in the 1980s and 1990s, 40% of Nintendo's audience were adults and that's only grown since. This is aimed at highlighting similar sorts of experiences, particularly (though by no means exclusively) for those seeking to ditch Nintendo in light of recent events.


Bail or Jail (Obakeidoro!) (Proton)
Spooky-cute monster-themed tag game for up to four players, offline or online. Offers various free DLC items to add new characters to the game.


Bubble Bobble 4 Friends (Proton)
Single-screen platformer where up to four players play as bubble-blowing dragons, where you must trap enemies in bubbles and then burst them to progress. Also includes the original Bubble Bobble arcade game.


D-Corp (Native Linux)
Hilarious up-to-four-player resource-harvesting game featuring cute robots sent out to various planets by a comically-shady corporation.


Donut Dodo (Proton)
Modern indie single-screen platformer modelled after early-1980s arcade hits, featuring a chef who must retrieve doughnuts stolen by a giant derpy dodo.


Ex-Zodiac (Native Linux) (Currently in Early Access)
Low-polygon Star Fox-style rail-shooter depicting a space-war between various animaloid species.


Gang Beasts (Native Linux)
Silly multiplayer fighting-game with gelatinous characters and ragdoll physics, and plenty of costumes to dress your fighters up in.


Gravity Circuit (Native Linux)
Retro-style robot platform game with melee combat instead of projectiles, plus comic-book style characters and worldbuilding.


Micro Mages (Proton)
Vertically-scrolling platformer for up to four players, each controlling a tiny and cute little mage.


New Super Lucky's Tale (Proton)
Cute and charming 3D/2D platformer hybrid with modern game-design niceties, starring an optimistic fox character who must reassemble a magical book.


Pac-Man 256 (Native Linux)
Procedurally-generated Pac-Man for up to four players - eat ghosts and outrun the glitch! Also includes a wealth of cosmetic options for the characters and mazes.


Pizza Tower (Proton)
The best surreal Italian-bloke platformer I've played in decades! Aside from the sewer level being titled "Oh Shit!", the game is totally family-friendly, and is partly inspired by the later Wario Land games and 1990s cartoons.


Race The Sun (Native Linux)
Arcade-style flight/hover game where the setting sun is your timer. Also offers a low-price endless-mode DLC set at night.


Rivals of Aether (Proton)
Platform-fighter featuring animal-characters, plus some indie guests, who battle using the elements of fire, water, air, and earth.


Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (Native Linux)
Retro-inspired platformer, but with modern game-design sensibilities. Multiple campaigns included, plus co-op and some multiplayer extras.


Spelunky (Proton)
Platformer-roguelite about exploring an ever-changing mine, with tons of treasures and secrets to uncover. Co-op is available for up to four players.


Stardew Valley (Native Linux)
Cosy solo and multiplayer non-real-time farming and village-life simulator with an enormous amount of content for its price.


Super Bomberman R (Proton)
Maze-action game with story-mode for one or two players, plus a suite of multiplayer options.


Super Bomberman R 2 (Proton)
Maze-exploration game with tower-defense and small puzzles to break up the pace. Also includes a selection of multiplayer modes.


Tanglewood (Native Linux, but broken; Use Proton or a workaround )
Enchanting retro-style puzzle-platformer with two different endings.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (Native Linux)
Classic-style solo and co-op beat-'em-up based on the popular franchise.


Undertale (Native Linux)
Partly-Earthbound-inspired RPG where you can choose to befriend or destroy the monsters.


Vampire Survivors (Native Linux)
Auto-shooting spooky-themed horde game with co-op for up to four players, plus lots of fun references to the leading brand of vampire-related video games!

And now I throw the door open to everyone to add to this - there are plenty of games I haven't played and genres that I don't enjoy, so I know that I'm not even close to having everything covered with my contribution to this list!

Last edited by Pengling on 3 March 2024 at 7:50 am UTC
tuubi Mar 3
I've actually never owned a console of any sort and I have no nostalgia for arcade gaming or Nintendo despite being tail-end Gen X. Xennial? Whatever. Anyway, I can think of some games that might fit the bill. Feel free to point out if any of these aren't what you were looking for.


Psychonauts (Native Linux).
Available on GOG as well. An absolute classic, as far as 3D platformers go. The new Psychonauts 2 should be good as well, haven't played it myself.

Alwa's Awakening and Alwa's Legacy (native Linux)
A faithfully NES-style (with an actual NES port) metroidvania platformer and it's SNES-style sequel. The first one has a slightly awkward control scheme, limited to two face buttons to be playable with a NES controller. That didn't stop me from finishing the game though. I only tested an early build of the sequel, but it seemed solid.

Owlboy (Native Linux)
A well designed platform adventure with gorgeous pixel graphics and some great characters.

Steamworld Dig (Native Linux)
Mining, platforming, steam-powered robots. Apparently -90% off currently. Need I say more? Since this game there's been several additions to the Steamworld series, and not all in the same genre. Haven't played them all, but Steamworld Heist was a good one.

World of Goo (Native Linux)
A weird and fun puzzle game. With a sequel now in the works, after 16 years.

Yooka-Laylee (Native Linux)
A solid console-style 3D platformer.

Evoland Legendary Edition (Native Linux *)
A fun and innovative console RPG that initially plays like a Gameboy game and ends up with more modern 3D graphics and gameplay. Something to do with time travel, can't remember the specifics. Both Evoland 1 and 2 are included in the purchase, but 2 isn't Native Linux. Thus the asterisk. Should work fine with Proton though.

A Short Hike (Native Linux)
A short but adorable adventure game with some great, quirky characters and plenty of fun to be had. Mostly about relaxed exploration. There's plenty to do, but most of it is optional. You just need to hike up that mountain.

Pikuniku (Native Linux)
So weird. So wonderful. Platformer.

Haven Park (Native Linux)
A fun little casual adventure in the same vein as A Short Hike above. Relaxing exploration, cute characters, good vibes.

A Monster's Expedition (Native Linux)
Cute brain teaser of a puzzle game. Family friendly, but probably way too difficult for a toddler. Unless they're way smarter than me. Which is entirely plausible.


...Sorry, too lazy for screenshots. And I didn't think to check if they support multiplayer, because I'm an antisocial bastard. Or maybe just a bit introverted.
Quoting: tuubiXennial?
Gen Xers. That's what you folks are called. I'm at the early part of the "Millennials" group, but always identified with the later Gen Xers myself. lol

Quoting: PenglingMicro Mages (Proton)
Vertically-scrolling platformer for up to four players, each controlling a tiny and cute little mage.
It comes with the NES ROM on Steam. So you could technically call it native with an asterisk. Cause there's plenty of native NES emulators.

Quoting: PenglingTanglewood (Native Linux, but broken; Use Proton or a workaround )
Enchanting retro-style puzzle-platformer with two different endings.
This also comes with the Genesis/Mega Drive ROM. So you can just use an emulator instead for this too.

I'd personally rather use a native Linux emulator over using Proton, but that's just me. I've also got the original hardware, and just playing them on those with an Everdrive is the ideal situation. But that's not the point of this topic though. :P
denyasis Mar 3
Dude! This is genius!! I too never owned a console growing up, but my family have, and love, their Switch. I totally get the aesthetic and why some many people love it (from kids to adults!) Kinda reminds me of the good wholesome "Kids" cartoons of the last few decades (Avatar, She-ra, etc).

If I might add a few (I hope I'm not too of base):

Hollow Knight
Needs really no introduction. It's the first Metroidvania I ever played and thus, everything since had been ruined by how great it is in comparison.

Steam World Heist
I know Dig was mentioned, but for some reason, I preferred Heist. It's a turn based tactics game, but leans a bit more into the puzzle side rather than the Chess side of strategy. It's quite fun!
tuubi Mar 3
Quoting: Linux_RocksGen Xers. That's what you folks are called. I'm at the early part of the "Millennials" group, but always identified with the later Gen Xers myself. lol
Yeah I know that's what we used to be called, but I've been called a Xennial more than once lately. You might fit that group as well if you're an early Millennial.

Quoting: denyasisI know Dig was mentioned, but for some reason, I preferred Heist. It's a turn based tactics game, but leans a bit more into the puzzle side rather than the Chess side of strategy. It's quite fun!
I did mention Heist, actually. But thanks for digging up the link.
Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: Linux_RocksGen Xers. That's what you folks are called. I'm at the early part of the "Millennials" group, but always identified with the later Gen Xers myself. lol
Yeah I know that's what we used to be called, but I've been called a Xennial more than once lately. You might fit that group as well if you're an early Millennial.
My bad, I didn't know that was actually a thing... 👀
One other thing is that Alwa's Awakening has DLC that gets you the NES ROM on Steam, and they also sell the NES ROM on Itch.io (it's on sale for $1.99 USD atm). So you can just play that via an NES emulator as well.
I'd like to add Duck Tales Remastered. The original version of the game was on the NES, but you can get the remastered game can get it on steam, usually for a few bucks, and it runs perfectly on Linux with Proton.
whizse Mar 4
Quoting: tuubiYeah I know that's what we used to be called, but I've been called a Xennial more than once lately. You might fit that group as well if you're an early Millennial.
Or as we call you guys around here, the 16.04 generation.
I would also add Garfield Kart - Furious Racing to the list......

While not amazingly awesome....... It is a very good competent kart racer that would be a suitable replacement for Mario Kart....

It handles very well...... The powerups are nice....... The graphics are really nice...... The only issue is just how bland the game overall is..... In both track design and vehicle design......

If you have younger kids this would still be a great replacement to Mario Kart....
Quoting: StoneColdSpiderI would also add Garfield Kart - Furious Racing to the list......

While not amazingly awesome....... It is a very good competent kart racer that would be a suitable replacement for Mario Kart....

It handles very well...... The powerups are nice....... The graphics are really nice...... The only issue is just how bland the game overall is..... In both track design and vehicle design......

If you have younger kids this would still be a great replacement to Mario Kart....
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