The Raspberry Pi supports both emulated and native games, making gaming surprisingly versatile.

But what if you wanted something more impressive, yet game-related, from the device?

Well, how about setting it up as a game server? Imagine hosting LAN parties from wherever you are with the small, portable Raspberry Pi. All you need to do is ensure you have an Ethernet cable, a suitable power adapter and game server software.

Here are 10 games that you can host on your Raspberry Pi game server.

1. Host QuakeWorld parties on your Raspberry Pi

You may be familiarized with Quake. This multiplayer deathmatch game was created by id Software in 1996. QuakeWorld is the internet multiplayer version (as opposed to NetQuake, the LAN-based multiplayer release).

The source code was released in 1999 under the GPL license and is available for installation on your Raspberry Pi. QuakeWorld is intended for local network (LAN), multiplayer action, and is not intended to be used as a public server.

While compatible with a Model B Raspberry Pi, the best results can be enjoyed with a Raspberry Pi 2 or later. QuakeWorld runs on less than 32MB of RAM for optimal performance. You can play up to 16 people, but it's best to have 6-8 players for the best experience.

For best results, connect the Pi to your router via Ethernet rather than wireless.

2. AssaultCube Server

AssaultCube offers more online shooting action. This online multiplayer FPS game is free and plays in realistic environments. It uses minimal bandwidth, which is ideal for the Raspberry Pi. With its low latency, AssaultCube can even be run over a 56Kbps connection!

AssaultCube also offers a single player "bot mode" if you don’t have anyone to play with. There are many multiplayer modes to choose from. These include Deathmatch (Survivor), Pissl Frenzy (Last Swiss Standing), Capture the Flag/Hunt the Flag, One-Shot One Kill, and Deathmatch. Each of these can also be played as a team.

Many maps are available in the game. An in-game map editor can also be used.

Visit the website to see all details. You can download the code from GitHub and compile the game server on your Pi in just a few minutes.

3. Your Raspberry Pi can host a Minecraft server

The Raspberry Pi is a perfect match for Minecraft. After all, Minecraft Pi Edition is included in Raspbian. But what about a Minecraft game server?

Although the Raspberry Pi 3 and later are recommended, a Raspberry Pi 2 can also be used. You'll find the best results from this Minecraft server will be enjoyed on your home network. It's not suitable for hosting Minecraft environments on the public internet.

You can also create and rebuild a Minecraft world within your home network. This can all be accessed via Minecraft games installed on Windows PCs, Androids, or iOS devices.

For help, see our guide on setting up a Minecraft server with Raspberry Pi.

4. FreeCiv for Host Zivilization Multiplayer

FreeCiv, based on Sid Meier’s Civilization is open-source and available in both client and server flavors. FreeCiv uses elements from Civilization II and CivNet.

Installation is easy as:

You can then start your server with:

The game server will then be available to connect to from any other device running the FreeCiv game client. Given how long games of Civilization can take, having a server to keep the game running on makes perfect sense!

For configuration details, see the FreeCiv Server Manual.

5. Host Doom Multiplayer on Raspberry Pi

Quake has a network multiplayer feature for the Raspberry Pi -- what about Doom!

Doom On LAN now has a Quake On LAN team, which is also behind QuakeWorld. This uses the Zandronum port to play as a client for games, which can support 64 players. Several gameplay modes are available, and there's support for many mods.

You can also jump and free look (both not available in the original), and create custom key bindings. The game works best if you have an Ethernet connection to your router. Now you just need to find 63 people to play with.

6. Set Sail With a Windward Game Server

A fascinating, ship-based game about trade and pirates, Windward is a rarity in this list. It is the only open-source title. You'll find it available from Steam for just under $10, and the game plays in both single and multiplayer modes.

The setup process can be slow and you will need to install Mono on your Pi (the open-source version of Microsoft.NET).

Once the installation is complete, you will find the Windward server on the Lobby screen. This setup copies some data from your PC's game folder. Time to set sail!

7. Terraria Server Raspberry Pi

This 2D adventure game sandbox was originally released on Windows in 2011. It has since been ported over to Linux and macOS. Terraria will allow you to host a Terraria-related game on your Raspberry pi.

You can set up the Terraria server using Raspbian on a Raspberry Pi 2 and later. GAME SERVERS Mono must be installed again. Next, you'll use TShock, the Terraria game server, which is available from GitHub. Anyone who wants to play Terraria will be able to find the Terraria server once it is up and running. Terraria is best played over a local network, but it can also be played online.

8. Crossfire

A multiplayer arcade adventure game, Crossfire is reminiscent of Gauntlet and rogue-like games. Crossfire's world features 3,000 maps, an intricate magic system, 150 monster types, and is suitable for solo or group play.

Crossfire offers both client and server software. Both can be downloaded from the website. Once the server is set up on your Raspberry Pi, gamers on any of the other client platforms can join.

Crossfire is large, engaging... and entertaining! Crossfire is like a traditional dungeon-game. The website has more information about the magic system.

9. The Battle for Wesnoth

The Battle for Wesnoth is a massive open-source turn-based strategy and strategy game with a fantasy theme. It has been around since 2003. There are versions for Linux, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, and Macintosh (upto and including macOS).

Clients for iOS or Android are also available -- AmigaOS and BeOS fans can even play. There's a browser option, too!

The game supports both internet and LAN multiplayer, and has 46 multiplayer maps. Like many games in this list, The Battle for Wesnoth has a built-in game server. Install the game on your Pi and then allow it to host a match. You can invite players directly from the game.

Keep an eye out for loads of player-made content like campaigns, new factions, or original multiplayer maps.

10. OpenTTD Game Server

We'll end with this favorite desktop strategist. OpenTTD is an open source version of the 1995 game Transport Tycoon Deluxe. OpenTTD is a modified version of Transport Tycoon Deluxe that can be used as a dedicated server on Raspberry Pi.

OpenTTD is similar to FreeCiv. It takes some time to get used to, and you will likely be playing a specific map for quite some time. Installation and setup is straightforward. Start with the OpenTTD Standard Installation

Once this is done, run your server with:

Game clients on Windows, Linux, macOS, other Pis and mobile devices should then be able to connect to the game server. Connect using device name or IP address. You can also use launch to connect:

This will run OpenTTD on the background with output sent to openttd.log. Tips for server setup can be found in the OpenTTD wiki.

Can You Use Raspberry Pi 4 as a Game Server?

Different Raspberry Pi models can be used for different tasks. You could, for instance, run a printserver with the original Raspberry Pi. But it wasn't designed for multiplayer gaming.

While game servers will run on a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, the Raspberry Pi 4 is far more powerful. This opens a whole host of new game server options for the Raspberry Pi. At the time of writing, the 11 Raspberry Pi gaming servers listed here are all that are available.

However, there is every chance that the Raspberry Pi 4 could run a World of Warcraft (classic) server. It may even be able to run an ARK server. Like everything else on this list, it is dependent on the generosity and hardware of the Raspberry Pi 4.

Set Up a Raspberry Pi Gaming Server Today

It's amazing how the Raspberry Pi can host online gaming sessions, even though it is considerably less powerful than a desktop PC. Sure, modern games are not available, but the choice of 10 games is reason enough to investigate further.

Want more Raspberry Pie gaming ideas? Here are some more Raspberry Pi gaming ideas.