Review and Setup: OpenArena for Windows/Linux/OS X

OpenArena is an open source First Person Shooter based around a Quake engine. It’s fast, violent, and very entertaining. And best of all, it runs on Windows, Linux, and OS X! It also has very low system requirements and can is portable, making it perfect for passing around the office and playing a few games while the boss isn’t looking. Not that I encourage that type of thing.

Please note: This guide was initially published back in 2008 and OpenArena has changed (not super-significantly) since then. Also, it won’t work in modern versions of macOS.

The games website gives a warning that the game may not be suitable to children under 17 due to violence and some women with very little clothing (which you usually don’t notice during all the action). If you’re alright with that, you can find some download links here. You should get a .zip file containing a folder with the game in it. Extract the folder where ever you like and (assuming you’re on Windows) just double click openarena.exe in the folder.

openarena load screen
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The first thing you might want to do is go into Setup. Under Player you can put in the name you want to use. After that, you can click on Model in the lower left hand corner to choose your character. There are many to choose from but they are all the same except for how they look and the sounds they make. Penguin is my personal favorite.

select a player
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Under Controls go to Shoot and I recommend turning Auto switch Weapons to Off. The rest is pretty self explanatory, so lets move onto System. Here you can change a lot of things. Like resolution, whether it is running full screen or windowed, if you want bloom, and all kinds of other things. Now, back out into the regular setup and go to Game Options. Here you can change your cross hair and I also recommend that you turn Automatic Downloading to On, so you can download custom maps other people are playing.

controls for openarena
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Now to the fun part! You may want to try out Single Player before diving into Multiplayer. It is basically the same, only you play against bots. Click on a stage and you can choose your difficulty. One thing I found interesting about the bots is that they taunt you! Every now and then their character’s name will show up having typed something. I find this pretty entertaining sometimes.

in game screenshot
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Anyway, onto the game play. It’s your typical run and gun shooter. With a heavy emphasis on ‘run’. This is a pretty face paced game compared to most of the stuff out today. There’s a wide arrangement of weapons, too. From the close quarter combat saw (which you can switch to at any time by pressing 1) to the long range sniper (or rail gun) with some shot guns, rockets, and more in between. When I checked, there were 83 servers up for OpenArea. This isn’t too much, but it’s very easy to find a server to play in. And you can always create your own. There is also a wide range of maps, for good old death matches and for the slightly more tactical CTF mode.

in game screenshot #2
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I enjoy playing this game from time to time. It is updated fairly regularly, and I can’t wait to see what all they do with it. There are other free (and better looking) shooters out there, but I love OpenArena’s retro feel and simplicity.

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