“Hey everybody, I’m The Linux Gamer and I just played …” This is Gardiner’s, a.k.a. The Linux Gamer’s, usual introduction. What follows is a short game review, clocking in around the five-minute mark, but delivered with palpable passion for gaming and often sprinkled with nuggets of knowledge about media, culture and gaming history
What makes The Linux Gamer different from most game reviewers is of course his focus on GNU/Linux. He is not alone anymore in this area and I will be reviewing others, but what I like most about him is the high level of quality and attention to detail in his clips.
Each clip is meticulously produced and paced. Very often scenes from the game are timed so that something he wants to draw attention to happens just as he is explaining it, as if casually. This gives the videos a natural-feeling vibe. Well, as natural as you can get with computer games.
The writing is accomplished, and it needs to be in order to compress this amount of information into five minutes. He manages to be succinct while keeping just the right amount of fluff, small gags and personality so as not to ever turn boring. This also gives you a good idea of what he generally likes or dislikes, so you can align your own taste.
He sometimes even goes as far as to test a game using FOSS drivers (especially for AMD cards) as well as their proprietary counterparts, with information about what works and where the differences are. This level of dedication pays off if you want to avoid those Catalyst drivers and still get an idea of how well something runs.
Reviews finish with a list of pros and cons, a star rating and an invitation to share your own thoughts about the game. That’s nice and creates a sense of community, something that is still viable in our small (but growing!) field of GNU/Linux gaming.
He covers other styles of videos besides reviews, and there are three major ones so far: let’s plays, open source gaming showcases and trade show analyses. Placed between them are some explanatory clips like the one on SteamOS that you can use to explain to your friends what SteamOS is. Less talking for you to do, less wear and tear on the jaw muscles.
Those clips manage to be technically accurate while still being approachable, something that reviewers with less experience in the GNU/Linux scene might struggle to pull off. And this is also something that establishes trust. The guy is one of us, damnit! This isn’t Gawker Media Does Linux, this is the real stuff.
In the open source gaming showcases, The Linux Gamer focuses on FOSS games, game engines that modernize proprietary games (sometimes using their original data files) and the like. There was one video at the time of writing and I believe there is space for more like that.
All in all I have no doubt that The Linux Gamer will become, or already is, one of the stars of the GNU/Linux game review scene, and as his reviews often include games available on other platforms, they might even be interesting for non-Linuxers to check out.
If you’re a super-hardcore GNU/Linux gaming nerd, know that he makes no difference between a wrapped game (with WINE, eON or the like) or a native one for older games, if they work well. Though for new games, he insists on native ports. If this is poison to you, you might need to look elsewhere.
- Passionate gamer with strong background in both technology and media/gaming history.
- Reviews GNU/Linux games exclusively.
- High-quality clips.
- Excellent writing and pacing.
- Public ethics statement.
Where to find
- Watch The Linux Gamer on YouTube
- Support The Linux Gamer financially on Patreon
- Read The Linux Gamer’s blog and website