Short Bytes: So you thought that Linux Terminal is drab/mundane/downright boring and only about commands, commands and well, yet ‘more commands‘? Well, hold onto that thought because our latest compilation of the quirkiest Linux terminal based games might just force you to have a serious afterthought.

Most people associate ‘Linux’ with images of people sitting in front of a system gawking at a screen full of code, devoid of any sort of entertainment.

But, as I have always maintained throughout our Linux Lexicon series, one should never underestimate the power of the Linux Terminal because it almost always contains things, oblivious to our knowledge, that would easily blow away anyone’s mind.

Talking about entertainment, more specifically gaming, despite the presence of specially designed Gaming Distros, it remains one of the departments where Linux lags behind the other operating systems.

Regardless of that, who said that entertainment can be achieved only through extraordinarily detailed high-quality graphics & gaming engines? All you need are the following terminal based games to set yourself onto that roller-coaster ride of fun and frolic:

Quirky Linux Terminal Based Games


Remember the mobile gaming sensation that was 2048, the one that could keep you glued to the screen for hours at a stretch? Well, good news, it has a terminal based counterpart – the 2048.c

All you need to do is to use the arrow keys to slide the blocks and reach a sum of 2048. In order to play the game, run the following commands:

For Installation, type:


To run, type:

gcc -o 2048 2048.c ./2048


Be prepared to roll back the years and dive back into your arcade gaming fantasies with the terminal based clone of the good old classic, Tetris- ‘Bastet‘.

Simply, use the arrow keys to shift the blocks and the space bar to flip them, while trying to achieve a score as high as possible.

For installation, type:

sudo apt-get install bastet

To run, type:



How about a crossover of Pacman and Tron? Now that we have your attention, Greed is a terminal based game which boasts of a colorful interface and requires the user to eat as many digits as possible using the arrow keys.

The character ‘@’ denotes your current position. The value of the digit eaten is the number of steps taken in a particular direction, with the catch that you can’t revisit what you have already eaten. I know its sounds kind of confusing, but wait till you try it out for yourselves.

For installation, type:

sudo apt-get install greed

To run, type:


Also Read: How To Run A Game Boy Emulator In Your Terminal Window?


Moonbuggy is a relatively straightforward game which makes you drive a rover upon the moon’s surface. The objective of the game is to survive as long as possible by jumping over the craters using the ‘spacebar’ and using the ‘a’/’l’ key to fire. Sounds pretty simple, eh? Wait till you try it out!

For installation, type:

sudo apt-get install moon-buggy

To run, type:



Do the words ‘Space Invaders’ ring any bells? Well, no points for guessing, nInvaders is indeed the terminal based clone of the retro classic Space Invaders. The game requires you to save the Earth from waves of enemy alien ships using the arrow keys to shift around and the space bar to shoot. Here is all you need to do in order to get shooting:

For installation, type:

sudo apt-get install ninvaders

To run, type:



Think Old Nokia Phones, think Snake. Yes! I am talking about that insanely addictive game which could have you hooked to the screen for eons. It’s time to jog down the memory lane and try out ‘Nsnake‘- a terminal based rendition of the ageless classic Snake.

For installation, type:

sudo apt-get install nsnake

To run, type:


Also Read: 20 Quirky Things You Didn’t Know The Linux Terminal Could Do


The list of terminal-based games would be pretty incomplete if we didn’t find a mention for Pacman4Console. Even after decades, the one game that never ceases to capture anyone’s attention is Pacman.

One of my favorite games on this list, Pacman4Console simply requires you to use the arrow keys to navigate and eat all the balls without being captured by the attackers. All you need to try your hand out at the game is this:

For installation, type:

sudo apt-get install pacman4console

To run, type:



Why scramble through the newspaper pages in search of a Sudoku puzzle, when you have its terminal-based iteration? The game requires you to fill in a 9 x 9 grid such that each row, column and each of the 3 x 3 squares contain all the digits from 1 to 9.

What’s more? This terminal-based game even provides you the option for varying difficulty levels ranging from easy to hard.

For installation, type:

sudo apt-get install sudoku

To run, type:



Somewhat similar to Dungeons and Dragons, Nethack is an immensely popular rogue-like adventure game. Kept alive by its active user community, the game requires one to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor from a vast dungeon. With a plethora of commands to check out and items to gain throughout your quest, I am pretty sure you are going to find this terminal based game pretty gripping.

For installation, type:

sudo apt-get install nethack-console

To run, type:


Robot Finds Kittenrobotfindskitten-terminal_based_games

This terminal-based game hands you the role of a robot tasked with finding a kitten in a myriad of random characters. Use the arrow keys to navigate your way across the screen and don’t forget to have a look at the interesting description of each object that you encounter.

For installation, type:

sudo apt-get install robotfindskitten

To run, type:


Bonus Tip: In case you are looking for even more terminal-based games, you should definitely have a look at the treasure trove that is BSD Games. Unlike other items on our list, it is not a single game, rather a complete package of highly entertaining and satisfying games ranging from Backgammon & Hangman to Monopoly.

For installation, type:

sudo apt-get install bsdgames

Did you find this list of best Linux terminal based games amusing? Don’t forget to share your views in the comments section below.

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