Learn how to play GOG games on Linux to turn your Linux desktop into a full-blown gaming system.
Gaming on Linux has made great strides in the last few years. Gone are the days when playing Steam or GOG games on Linux was unimaginable. Playing GOG's huge library of games on your Linux machine is not only possible—it's also surprisingly easy.
Thanks to Linux apps like Lutris and the Heroic Games Launcher, you can install and play GOG games in a breeze.
Playing GOG games on Linux isn't as simple as double-clicking your games' EXE files on Windows. While there are some GOG games with native Linux ports, the majority of its games are built for Windows. To play Windows-based PC games, Linux gamers use Wine, a compatibility layer that lets Linux users run EXE files. They also use Valve's Proton, which is built to run Windows games.
Both Lutris and Heroic Games Launcher use Wine and Proton to run GOG Windows games on Linux. Both apps scan for new versions of Wine, Proton, and other similar community builds. With these apps, you'll be playing your favorite games on Linux without much trouble.
To be sure, gamers also use ProtonDB to check how well their games run on Linux. It's a useful site for finding what Wine version and configuration works best for a particular game. Most if not all GOG games are on ProtonDB's database.
Lutris is a gaming client that brings games built for Windows to your Linux desktop. Lutris imports your games from sources like Origin, Steam, Ubisoft Connect, and GOG. It's convenient for putting all your game libraries together in one app.
Download: Lutris (Free)
Once you've installed Lutris, make sure that you have up-to-date versions of Wine.
To do this, hover over the Wine tab, listed under Runners in the sidebar. Click the open box-shaped Manage Versions button that shows up. A window for managing Wine versions will pop up.
Lutris will automatically detect and show the latest versions of Wine. It will also show other community-built compatibility layers like Wine GE.
Install your preferred compatibility layer and click Ok to proceed.
Next, hover over the Wine tab in the sidebar, then click on the gear-shaped Configure button that shows up.
A Wine configuration window will pop up. Click the dropdown box next to the Wine version, then choose the compatibility layer that you installed.
To connect the Lutris app to your GOG library, hover over the GOG tab in the sidebar. Click the person-shaped Connect button that shows up.
Clicking connect will bring you to a GOG login window. Enter your login credentials and click Log In Now.
Once you've connected your GOG account to Lutris, your GOG game library will show up on the app. Because of Wine, you have the option of installing both Linux-native and Windows GOG games through Lutris.
From here, double-click your game of choice to begin installing it.
This window will show different methods of installing PC games on Linux. Click the Install button to proceed.
Next, select the folder directory for installing your games. By default, the directory will be set under a Games folder in your Home directory. Click Install to proceed.
Your GOG game may come with extra content, such as wallpapers and game art. Lutris will detect any extra content and give you the option to download them. Click Continue to proceed.
Next, Lutris will show you the installation files that you need to download. Click Continue to begin downloading the installation files.
If the game doesn't install successfully at first, then having a cache of the installation files will come in handy. Click the Cache button to set a folder for keeping the downloaded installation files. You can come back to the cache of installation files if you need to install the game again.
Once the installation files are downloaded, Lutris will open the GOG installer for your game. If you're installing a Windows-based game, Lutris may run Wine for the GOG installer. Like with any other GOG game installer, you can proceed to install your game from here.
Once you're done installing the GOG game through the installer, Lutris may not detect the installed game. Don't fret, because you can get Lutris to manually detect the game.
To do this, click the game you installed, then click the dropdown arrow button next to the Install button. Finally, click Locate installed game.
On the Add a new game window, click the Runner dropdown to select Wine or Linux, depending on the game.
Next, click the Game options tab, then click Browse on the Executable row to select your game's EXE file. The EXE file will be in the /dosdevices/c:/GOG Games/ directory.
You can also choose which Wine version you want to run for your game under the Runner options tab.
With your GOG game installed on Lutris, all that's left to do is hit the Play button to start gaming!
The Heroic Games Launcher is a cross-platform game launcher for Epic Games and GOG games. An open-source alternative for the Epic Games Launcher, Heroic allows users to install Epic Games and GOG games with ease.
Unlike Lutris, Heroic automatically goes through game installation processes. With this app, you'll only need to click two buttons to install your favorite GOG games.
Download: Heroic Games Launcher (Free)
With Heroic Games Launcher installed, you'll need to log in to your GOG account to connect your GOG game library to the app. Click Log in under the GOG logo to go through the login process.
Once you've connected your GOG account to Heroic, your GOG game library will show up on the Library button on the sidebar.
Before installing your GOG games, click the Wine Manager option on the sidebar. Heroic automatically detects the latest versions of Wine for Lutris, Proton GE, and Wine GE. Download your Wine version of choice, head back to the Library window, and click the Download button on your game of choice to begin the installation.
If you're installing a Windows-based game, a pop-up will prompt you to select an installation path, a WinePrefix path, and a Wine version for your game. The default paths under the Games folder will work just fine. Click Install to proceed.
From here, all you need to do is wait. Heroic may take some time to download and install your game, depending on its size.
Once Heroic finishes installing your GOG game for you, you may need to restart the app for the changes to take effect. Once that's all done, your GOG game should be ready to play!
While both Lutris and Heroic Games Launcher are capable of playing Windows-based GOG games on Linux, both have their pros and cons.
Lutris offers gamers a lot of control when it comes to installing and running games. But it also adds a lot of complexity to the process. Meanwhile, you can get GOG games on Heroic with the click of two buttons.
If you just want to sit down and play games, then you might want to go with Heroic instead. But if you want to fine-tune your system to get the smoothest gaming experience possible, then Lutris will work better for you.
Either way, both apps give users amazing experiences with gaming on Linux. GOG gamers can have an even better time on Linux with the right compatibility layer, like Proton GE.
Teo has been an advocate for free software and digital privacy since 2018. He teaches the importance of online privacy and digital literacy to the communities around him. He also carries a Fedora Linux install flash drive everywhere he goes.