In chapter 18.4 — 'The One with the Pi', we cover retro gaming and how a Raspberry Pi could be the perfect solution when it comes to playing the arcade classics. Sadly, Windows rules when it comes to PC gaming!
Yet if you're looking to escape the data mining krakens of Microsoft, Google and co., and the only thing holding you back from switching from Windows to Linux is gaming, then fret no more! Yes, you won't be able to play every game, but there are a hell of a lot of games that are supported.
Welcome to the wonderful world of steam power! Have a look to see if your favorite games from Steam are supported at ProtonDB
Ok, that's not a bad list, is it? And Steam is working to bring a lot more games into the Linux universe. Of course, you have other options like Vine to run Windows games, and there is Lutris etc. but this is all something that you need to figure for yourself. Today it's about detailing which are the best Linux distros for gamers.
If you are open to try an Arch Linux distro, your two best bets for gaming are Garuda Linux and Manjaro.
Garuda is a lesser known distro but one which surely deserves to get more attention, especially when you are into gaming. This Arch-based Linux distro provides several GUI applications, all with an easy 'out of the box' installer. With just one click Garuda Linux installs Itch, Wine, Play on Linux, GOG, Steam Proton, Emulation Station, Lutris and much more.
Just like most Arch-based distros Garuda is a rolling release distro, so normally gives you the latest drivers, kernel etc.
My son, who is a passionate gamer, uses Garuda and says, for him, that it's the mix between a great Linux-based OS and the fact that it was designed for gamers that works for him.
Garuda is cyberpunk looking and uses the KDE desktop environment, which can be made to look just like Windows 11 ;) if that is what you really want...
There is not much to say in introducing Manjaro, the best known and most used Arch-based Linux. Just like Garuda, Manjaro has a rolling release, but also a massive community, which is a great advantage over Garuda and a huge help.
If Arch-based Linux distros are not really your cup of tea then we have great options for Ubuntu/Debian based distros too.
Manjaro has several different flavors to chose from KDE to XFCE and GNOME.
Yes, Pop!_OS, not only is it an incredibly easy to use and sexy looking distro, it is also from the same guys who bring System76 laptops to you. This makes the hardware on System76 laptops pop when it comes to gaming.
The system provides tools such as Lutris, GameHub and, of course, Steam Proton 'out of the box', well, inside the Software center ;)
Pop!_OS ships in two separate ISO files. One which uses nothing but open-source, and the other which is optimized for NVIDIA and AMD systems.
The desktop environment is based on GNOME with some of System76's own improvements.
This is definitely my personal recommendation when it comes to switching from Windows to Linux, as the distro is just so easy to use and that works as expected ;)
This distro is made solely for gaming. DraugerOS installs Steam during the OS installation. Drauger OS is stable and based on Ubuntu. The distro comes with the lightweight XFCE desktop environment.
This one is for gamers only, and I wouldn't make it a daily drive for anything else.
Ubuntu or Kubuntu
Yes, Ubuntu and Kubuntu work really well when it comes to gaming. The power of a large community is, of course, a great factor. I, personally, chose Pop!_OS over both of these distros, but they work well and need to get a mention
With Windows 11 a lot more telemetry is coming in to gamers, and Windows users. If you really care about and want more privacy and the only thing that is keeping you on Windows is gaming, try any of the options listed, I am sure you won't be disappointed.
Keep in mind that Steam will soon release Steam Deck, a portable gaming PC which runs on Linux shows that Linux will get a lot more working games onto its platform. Steam Deck will also be Arch-based, just like Manjaro or Garuda.
So 'Game on!' and stay safe!