What is a Linux gem?

When I started planning this blog, giving it a name turned out to be trickier than I had thought. I had several ideas for names, but most of them were terrible, and didn't really convey what I wanted to do with this site. A few people suggested that I use Hidden Linux Gems or just Linux Gems, because those are names I've already used for a couple of other projects, and it kind of stuck.

I initially started the Hidden Linux Gems Steam curator to recommend one of my favorite games, Full Bore, because I was disappointed by its lack of sales and felt that it deserved more recognition. I also had a bunch of other games in mind that would be good fits for a curator focusing on "hidden gems" available for Linux. Obviously my small Steam group hasn't done much to improve sales, but it's a small token of appreciation, and it feels nice to do something to help, however insignificant it may be. The group has since grown to include recommendations from other Steam users, including BlaXpirit, who is also handling all the tech behind this blog.

Since I started the group, I've used some very arbitrary metrics to determine if a game can be recommended by the curator—namely the ratings (Metacritic score or percentage of positive user reviews on Steam) and the all-time peak of simultaneous players. I've never been happy about that for a number of reasons, and once a game has been bundled, it's completely out of the game. As an example, Toki Tori 2+, another game I adore to bits, is currently uneligble for inclusion.

The games I write about here won't be subject to a similarly silly screening. I intend to broaden the definition of a Linux gem to include anything that I feel is interesting, but that probably won't have a huge mainstream appeal. Such as small-time indie games and games seeking crowdfunding. In spite of a few projects failing to deliver for Linux, I think crowdfunding has been a boon to Linux gaming, and I want to do what I can to signal boost those campaigns struggling in the current climate of crowdfunding.

Most of all, this site will exist to highlight Linux games which are often overlooked by other, bigger sites. Games that often only appeal to a small group of people, and that are unlikely to be covered by sites which depend on visitors to pay their bills. This site is driven only by our enthusiasm for games, and a desire to support the creators who support our platform.

And that explains, I think, why Linux Gems is a good name for this site. It's a name that has a positive ring to it, and it also hints at something unnoticed that we want to bring attention to.


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