New Ubuntu Game: gbrainy

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

April 4, 2010

2 Min Read
New Ubuntu Game: gbrainy

One of the lesser-discussed changes to the default Ubuntu application stack for Lucid is the addition of gbrainy to the GNOME games suite.  Wondering what gbrainy’s all about?  Here’s a look.

For a long time, GNOME has shipped with a suite of simple, classic games, such as solitaire, sodoku, chess and clones of Tetris and Minesweeper.  They’re no replacement for the complex, professional-quality games–like 0 A.D.–that I’d love to see more of on Ubuntu, but they do provide plenty of entertainment during boring train rides or flights.

In Lucid, alongside more controversial application-stack changes like the removal of GIMP, the suite of games installed by default will include gbrainy.  (As we discussed a few days ago, a number of games will also be removed in Lucid by default.)

gbrainy is somewhat of a standout among GNOME’s other recreational applications, in that it’s not based on any classic games your grandparents might have played on a card table, or your parents (or you, maybe) on Atari.  Instead, gbrainy brands itself as “a brain teaser game,” offering a variety of exercises testing logic, math, memory and verbal skills.  Here’s what it looks like:

gbrainy Home Screen

gbrainy Home Screen

gbrainy Screenshot

gbrainy Screenshot

Thoughts on gbrainy

While gbrainy adds a useful new genre to the GNOME games suite, it is not without problems.  Above all, its interface is poorly designed, especially in comparison to the clean, simple frontends of the other GNOME games.  gbrainy’s text is tiny, and it’s not entirely clear from the home screen how to start a new game (you have to do it from the “Game” menu, rather than clicking the boxes in the home screen).

Some of the questions are also questionable, and valid answers aren’t always accepted.  gbrainy might not make you dumber, but I wouldn’t recommend it for your GRE-preparation needs, for example.

Last but not least, gbrainy depends on Mono.  That fact bothers some Ubuntu users more than others, but all the same, it perpetuates one of the most divisive controversies within the Ubuntu community, and one that we could do well to end by choosing Mono-free applications.

All the same, although I’d like to see gbrainy cleaned up a little bit, it’s not a bad addition to the application stack.  Chances are good that I’ll fire it up the next time I’m 40,000 feet in the air without an Internet connection.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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