10 Amazing Roku Games You Should Be Playing | MakeUseOf

Roku devices are all about video content, right? They're a great way to stream live TV, access your on-demand subscriptions, and cast videos from your computer.

That's all true, but did you know that Rokus also boast a surprisingly extensive gaming catalog? You're not going to find the latest AAA releases, but there's plenty to keep you entertained for a few hours.

Most of the best Roku games revolve around arcade classics, trivia games, puzzle games, and card games. And here are the top games on Roku that you can play today.

You can use two different methods to install games on your Roku:

  • Add Online: Navigate to Roku's channel store and browse by category or genre. Click Add Channel to install it on your device.
  • Add from Your Device: Go to Home > Streaming Channels > Games.

If you install a game from the online Channel Store, it can take up to 24 hours to show on your account. To speed up the process, go to Settings > System > System update > Check Now.

And here are the best games to install on your Roku...

Snake has its origins in the 1976 arcade game Blockade, but it wasn't until the release of the Nokia 6110 phone in 1997 that the game found a truly global audience.

The concept is simple---players navigate a "snake" around the screen, eating dots as they go. The more dots you eat, the longer the snake becomes. If you hit a wall or your snake's own tail, it's game over.

Tic-Tac-Toe, noughts and crosses, Xs and Os---whatever you call the famous paper-based contest, this Roku port does a fine job of bringing it to a TV screen near you. The app lets you play against both your friends and the AI.

Fun fact: Of the 138 possible board layouts at the end of a game, only three of them allow for a draw. Too easy, you say? Well, the game also supports a five-in-a-row mode.

If Tic-Tac-Toe is a little too simplistic for you (grab the corners, people!), you could try upgrading to Four in a Row instead.

Players take it in turns to try and get four of their color in a row, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, on a 7 x 6 board. Unlike Tic-Tac-Toe, you have to build from the bottom up, rather than being able to play anywhere on the board.

This version of the game lets you play against a friend or choose from five different AI difficulty levels.

Text Twist is part Scrabble, part Words With Friends. You are given a selection of either six or seven random letters and have a limited amount of time to make as many words as possible from them. For each game, there is only one answer that uses all of the letters available.

Mahjong Solitaire grew out of regular Mahjong, a popular tile-based game that developed in China during the Qing dynasty.

Mahjong Solitaire uses the same 144-tile set that Mahjong uses. However, instead of aiming to get the best hand, players lay all of the tiles out in a stacked pattern and aim to match pairs with the ends of the various rows.

The Roku version of the game has five layouts, including the "classic turtle" as well as an easier format for kids.

Ships at War is a rebranded version of the all-time classic board game, Battleship. Players position their five boats on the board and then take turns in trying to guess the coordinates of the other player's vessels.

However, Ships at War is one of the best games on Roku thanks to its additional game modes. Once you've grown tired of coordinate guessing, you can turn on the advanced mode. It introduces recon missions and the ability to move ships around the board. Frankly, it's much more fun.

(NB: We've covered some of the best board game apps for your phone if you'd like to learn more.)

Chess Live is a surprisingly full-featured Roku game. Of course, you can play a standard game of chess against either a fellow human or the AI, but chess addicts will love some of the extra features on offer.

They include in-depth game stats, replays of old games, and in-game notations. You can even plan future games using the in-app scheduler.

Tiles is one of the best Roku games for puzzle lovers. The object of the game is to get from the green block to the red block, with the caveat that you must stand on every tile once but cannot backtrack.

Some tiles have unique properties. For example, blue ones will vanish when stepped on, yellow ones will disappear after a set amount of time, and orange ones will vanish and reappear.

You can play on one of the game's default setups or try out hundreds of user-designed creations.

Ah, Pong. One of the most basic and yet addictive games of all time. First released by Atari in 1972, the title was one of the earliest arcade games.

Ping Pong builds on the classic paddleboard approach with both a traditional 2D version of the game and a reimagined 3D version.

The number of Roku trivia games has shrunk in recent years. Today, the best trivia game on the Roku platform is arguably Trivia TV.

One of the most critical aspects of trivia games is a deep library of potential questions. It keeps the game from getting respective. Trivia TV answers the call, with more than 5,000 questions across four primary categories.

You can play against people in the same house or create a team and go head-to-head with people on the other side of the world.

We think these are some of the best Roku TV games you'll find, but remember, games are only one small part of the Roku ecosystem.

You can also use Roku devices to stream live sports, tune into 24-hour news channels, or binge-watch video-on-demand content from Netflix. All for free.


Top 7 Linux Operating Systems You Should Try in a Virtual Machine

Need to install Linux in a virtual machine? Whether you're trying it for the first time or want to run Linux without dual booting, a virtual machine (VM) is a smart option.

But what is the best Linux distro for a virtual machine? Should you use VirtualBox or VMware? Here are seven of the best Linux distros to run in your VM.

But first, how will you run your Linux virtual machine? Several VM applications are available, such as VMware and QEMU. There's also Qtemu, a version of QEMU with a mouse driven user interface rather than forcing command line interaction.

But getting started with virtualization is simplest with VirtualBox. It works like this:

  1. Install and launch VirtualBox
  2. Click New
  3. Enter the name of the OS you're installing
  4. Select the virtual machine type and version
  5. Configure the VM's CPU, storage, and RAM
  6. Select your chosen Linux installation image
  7. Install in your virtual machine

This is, of course, a summary of the actions. Check our VirtualBox user guide for full details on using this amazing software.

You could be using macOS, Windows, or even a different Linux distro as your desktop operating system, it doesn't matter. With a virtual machine, any other operating system can be installed on top.

Once you're ready it's time to choose a Linux distro to run in your virtual machine. We've picked the most interesting, lightweight Linux versions for you to install.

Currently up to version 20, Linux Mint has several alternative versions available, each boasting different desktop environments. Installing Linux Mint in a VM is a good idea, as the default desktop doesn't require 3D acceleration. This makes it a good, lightweight Linux distro for your VM.

Your virtual machine will almost certainly be running like a lower-spec version of your computer. So, with fewer resources to go around, the low-spec support of Linux Mint will prove advantageous. You'll have even better results with a different desktop environment. Fancy swapping Cinnamon for MATE or Xfce? Performance will improve even more, while running the most popular desktop Linux operating system around!

This lightweight version of Ubuntu has been around for several years, and its modest footprint makes it ideal for running in a virtual machine. Once set up, you'll get an idea of how it might perform when installed as the default operating system.

And if Lubuntu itself doesn't prove lightweight enough for you, why not try LXLE, the Lubuntu Extra Life Extension? Even lighter than Lubuntu, LXLE is ideal for running as a virtual machine on low-spec but virtualization-capable hardware.

Naturally, that means that it is also ideal for running on old hardware. We tried it on an old Compaq netbook, with great results!

The Raspberry Pi is arguably the most accessible Linux device, with some models available for as little as $10. If you're interested in getting started with the compact computer, you might try the Raspberry Pi OS on your PC.

Simply download the disk image for the full desktop version of the operating system. This is intended for x86 and x64 systems, rather than ARM (as per the actual Raspberry Pi. Not keen on installing a new operating system?

Don't worry---there's a version of the Raspberry Pi's OS available for VirtualBox and VMware from OSBoxes. Simply download the virtual machine file (in VDI for VirtualBox, VMDK for VMware) and run it on your PC.

Run Fedora in a virtual machine

A popular Linux operating system, Fedora is a distro with a focus on open source software. Curiously, it has a reputation of being difficult to use, but this really isn't warranted.

While poor performance can be resolved with a change to the desktop environment, Fedora's focus on open source is significant. Despite its origins, Linux operating systems typically flip flop between open source software and a few proprietary apps and drivers.

Fedora resists this, offering only FOSS apps and drivers, making this a distribution everyone should try.

And where better to try a new operating system than in a virtual machine?

A lightweight Linux operating system ideal for a multitude of purposes, Manjaro is based on Arch Linux and optimized for 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

While Arch is a bit more difficult to set up, Manjaro is simpler. But note that it isn't quite the same as other Linux distros. There is less structure to the experience, which means you're free to configure your operating system as you see fit.

You get to choose the desktop environment, which services to install, and which applications to add. Some consider Manjaro and Arch to be the closest to "true" Linux, a  free, open source experience.

Coupled with the stunning Pantheon desktop environment, elementary OS isn't particularly lightweight. Like many distros it is based on Ubuntu. So what makes it worth installing on a virtual machine?

Well, this is a distribution that demonstrates the extent of just what is possible with Linux. Along with the stunning desktop, elementary OS has its own apps, is easy to use, and owes much to macOS. With few distractions and perfect for productivity, elementary OS is ideal for installing on VirtualBox or VMware.

Need more convincing? Here's why you should install elementary OS.

Install Ubuntu Server in your VM

So far, we've looked at desktop distros, but if your Linux interest is more server-based, why not consider Ubuntu Server. If you haven't used a server before, installing Ubuntu Server in your VM is a great way to gain familiarity.

After all, you wouldn't want to experiment with a genuine server, would you?

With the server's configuration complete, you can transfer this experience to a physical server, and ready it for production.

Confused about the difference between desktop and server operating systems? Check our guide to the differences between Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server.

By now you should have a good idea of which Linux distro is best for your virtual machine. It doesn't matter if you're using VMware or VirtualBox---both are perfect for running Linux. Which one will you install? We've looked at:

  • Linux Mint
  • Lubuntu
  • Raspberry Pi OS
  • Fedora
  • Arch Linux
  • Elementary OS
  • Ubuntu Server

Meanwhile, if you're new to Linux, consider installing RoboLinux in your VM to ease the transition from Windows.