Some NetBSD Games



Having recently upgraded the disk space on the Sparcstation I decided I would go about installing a bunch more useful utilities and some games. I installed some image processing and capture software called XV so I could capture screenshots on the machine, this is what I’ve used to capture todays screenshots. Todays games were too small to justify a whole post to themselves, so I thought I’d post about a few of them together.




One of the first games I built and tried was greed. It runs in a colour terminal and can be played via SSH or telnet. The game is very simple, you are an @ symbol in a playfield full of numbers. You move in the direction of one of the numbers which causes you to move that distance, erasing numbers as you go. In order to be allowed to move in a direction you must be able to travel the full distance specified by the number without hitting a border or an area you’ve already erased. The game ends when you can’t make any more valid moves.

You use the numeric keypad to move, which for me felt reasonably intuitive. The game has some nice in game help, and is simple to get running and play. It doesn’t take long to play so it’s good to for a quick distraction.




This game is modeled after missile command from the arcades, but with one difference, it’s in 3d. The vector graphics are quite nice but can be a little slow over a network connection for some reason. Fortunately the game has some built in commands to change the graphics settings. The controls are also a bit awkward, I found that it was too sensitive, such that small mouse movements often moved my targetting reticule way too far. Fortunately the difficulty curve isn’t too steep, but the control for this really let it down.




Xbomber is based on the bomberman series of games. It is interestingly a multiplayer game, but not implemented the way you might expect. The one program can connect to multiple X servers, allowing two players per server sharing the one keyboard. There is a maximum of four players over four X servers. You can also play solo against the computer AI, but it really is quite a weak player, it looks like it is just making random movements. It is probably not the easiest thing to set up the multiple displays, X authority stuff would surely get in the way, but I’m sure it can be done.




XJump is a simple platform game where you have to climb a tower. If you fall off the bottom of the screen the game is over. Controls are simply the arrow keys and work quite well. The part of game that will catch you out most often is the seemingly frictionless movement of your character. It is quite easy to jump and fly off the other end of the platform you’re jumping for. So it means you have to be quite careful how fast you move when jumping larger distances. Another game that is quite fun, but short.




I’m not sure where the name from this one comes from, it is a simple maze shooter, where you have to collect a number of animating stars around the level. You have to either avoid or shoot the badies around the levels, some of them will shoot at you. I’ve been caught out by bullets wrapping around the edges of the screen, I often shot myself! You can use this to your advantage, but more often than not it ends up hurting you. It’s a good little distraction, but the graphics could have been a little prettier.




Finally XWorm is basically a snake game plain and simple. It has some nice graphics, and simple controls that are easy to use. It plays quite fast, so you have to have pretty good reflexes to play for very long. There is only a bunch of mushrooms on screen to avoid, and a fence around the edge, so even Qbasic Nibbles has a bit more variety! Otherwise it plays quite well.

So there you have it, a few simple games that work on pretty much anything you can run NetBSD on with an X server (or from an XTerminal). Most of these were simple little distraction type games rather than anything you’d spend a lot of time playing. They are for the most part quite fun, and a reminder of what games under *nix like systems used to be like.

2 Responses to “Some NetBSD Games”

  1. 1 cb88
    June 3, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Does your SS20 not have a graphics card in it or a VSIMM? You can find 8Mb vsimms (part X326A) to get the integrated video which is pretty good online for about 60-70$ You’ll need a Sun 13w3 to VGA adapter too. The SX is one of the only accelerated 24bit GPUs for such old hardware. Its refereed to as cg14 or SX graphics http://blog.netbsd.org/tnf/entry/sx_support_added

    I have dual SM81s in my SS20 and also 320Mb ram and a 143Gb scsi disk 🙂 which is very nice!

    • June 3, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      Unfortunately no, my system does not have the VSIMM or frame buffer installed,but that’s not the only hurdle. I don’t have an appropriate keyboard and mouse combo required for the system and they have been hard to source here in Australia. I have been able to use XDMCP to run pretty much all X related stuff fairly easily so it’s not a huge hassle. Although a local XServer would be nice sometimes.

      I also have about 320MB of memory in my system, but instead of two SM81 CPUs I have a dual SM51 module and a SM61 module installed. I only have ~36Gig of hard disk space on two 10k drives which has been all I’ve needed so far. Sounds like you have a nice system, you’d almost have enough space for a bulk pkgsrc build!

      Thanks for the comment, it’s nice to hear from someone else using these old beasts!

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