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Nexuiz: Beer and pretzels


January 29 2022

While there are a number of free and open source first person shooter games out there, Nexuiz is still my favorite one.

==Beer and Pretzels==

A “beer and pretzels” game is a game which can be played and enjoyed by casual gamers without devoting too much time to learning the rules. An example “Beer and pretzels” game is Axis and Allies, whose rules were far simpler than most Avalon Hill or SSI games from the same era, and is one of the few board wargames still published today.

Other “beer and pretzels” games include Risk and Monopoly. Simple rules, not as deep as other games, but very fun casual games.

Contrast “beer and pretzels” games with games which have very complex rules, and significant cult followings. Back in the day, we bought both Wizard’s Quest and Magic Realm to play. We found Wizard’s Quest, a simple Risk-like game, a lot more fun than Magic Realm, whose rules are far too complex for a casual game. It is, however, Magic Realm which developed a devoted following: Magic Realm games go for hundreds of dollars on eBay, while Wizard’s Quest sets can be had for around $25.

==First person shooters==

A “first person shooter” game is a game using three dimensional graphics where one is the hero of a game with the goal of shooting as many enemies as possible.

Famous examples include Doom, Quake, and the Call of Duty series of games.

==Open source first person shooters==

There have been a number of open source first person shooters released over the years, including Warsow, Cube, Open Arena, Xonotic, a successor to Nexuiz, and Freedoom.

Some of these games come off as clones of other games: While both are excellent games, Open Arena is a poor man’s Quake3, and Freedoom is a poor man’s Doom. Other games are incredibly complicated games in the vein of Magic Realm: While all very good games for their devoted fans, Warsow and Xonotic are in this category, and Cube appears to be there too based on what I have read online.


This leads us to Nexuiz, pronounced (Nex-ee-is). Nexuiz was released between 2005 and 2009 as a simple open-source first person shooter in the vein of Unreal Tournament. It is a simple enough game to learn and become good at, not having the complicated trick jumps and other complex moves Xonotic and Warsow have. With the bots, it’s fairly quick to become proficient at Nexuiz and have a fun casual game.

It’s a game simple enough to make for a fun LAN party game, where people who have never played the game before can still have a lot of fun playing it without having to overcome a steep learning curve.

Since the game is from the first 2000s decade, it plays well even on low end hardware; I have no problem getting over 100 frames per second on a $133 computer I got a couple of years ago.

The only issue with its game mechanics is that the rocket launcher was an overpowered weapon.

I have made a tiny 50-megabyte remix of Nexuiz with seven quality 1-on-1 (Duel) maps, including an Xonotic map converted back in to a fun Nexuiz map, a Nexuiz adaptation of the classic Hubster Remix II of Aerowalk, and five maps from Nexuiz 2.3. This version has a weaker rocket launcher, and each map has been updated to include all weapons.

It is available for download here:
This is my favorite first person shooter; it’s open source, it has simple rules, and it’s a fun little game to play.

As an aside, I am not the only one to prefer Nexuiz over Xonotic.

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