Feb 7, 2018

How to turn your Ubuntu Linux computer into a gaming computer

I am one of those really mean dads. I think I get it from my dad. What I mean is that before I let my kids learn something easy, they must first learn something difficult. 

As an example, when I was a kid my dad wouldn't let me have Velcro shoes until I learned how to tie my shoes. He wouldn't let me have a digital watch until I learned how to tell time with a conventional watch. I couldn't drive an automatic car until I learned how to drive a standard... You get the idea.

When it comes to computers, I apply the same philosophy to my kids. I won't let them use Windows computers until they learn how to use Linux. Besides them gaining a better understanding of computers, they also don't accidentally infect my home network with viruses! It's win win!

Anyway, the other day my son was begging me to replace Ubuntu on his laptop with Windows. He loves playing video games, and was convinced that all of the good games came on Windows. Instead of breaking down and installing Windows, I decided to install Steam instead!

Steam has been around for a few years now, but if you've been living under a rock, here is a description from Wikipedia:
Steam is a digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation, which offers digital rights management (DRM), multiplayer gaming, video streaming and social networking services. Steam provides the user with installation and automatic updating of games, and community features such as friends lists and groups, cloud saving, and in-game voice and chat functionality. The software provides a freely available application programming interface (API) called Steamworks, which developers can use to integrate many of Steam's functions into their products, including networking, matchmaking, in-game achievements, micro-transactions, and support for user-created content through Steam Workshop. Though initially developed for use on Microsoft Windows operating systems, versions for OS X and Linux were later released. Mobile apps with connected functionality with the main software were later released for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices in the 2010s.
Here is a list of features from their about page:
Instant Access to Games 
We have thousands of games from Action to Indie and everything in-between. Enjoy exclusive deals, automatic game updates and other great perks. 
Join the Community 
Meet new people, join game groups, form clans, chat in-game and more! With over 100 million potential friends (or enemies), the fun never stops. 
Create and Share Content 
Gift your friends, trade items, and even create new content for games in the Steam Workshop. Help shape the future of your favorite games. 
Entertainment Anywhere 
Whether you’re on a PC, Mac, Linux box, mobile device, or even your television, you can enjoy the benefits of Steam. Take the fun with you. 
Available on PC, Mac, and Linux 
We offer a catalog of PC, Mac, and Linux games, many of which support Steam Play so you can buy once and play anywhere, and Cross-Platform Multiplayer so you can play with all your friends, no matter where they log in
If you are running Ubuntu, installing Steam is as simple as enabling the multiverse repositories then running the following from a terminal:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install steam -y
After installing Steam, my son is no longer bugging me to install Windows and I let him play all the "free to play" games he wants. Another win win situation if you ask me!

Do you use Steam? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments!

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