What games can you play Without GPU passthrough?

I know about the difficulties and security risks with GPU passthrough, and I don’t intend to try and deal with that. I mean, on a relatively stock Qubes install (i.e., without any relevant device modifications), where is the upper limit on what can successfully run? By “successfully,” I mean it can start up and run without crashing and without lagging to the point of more resembling a slideshow than anything else.

Obviously, AAA games are out, and probably anything 3D in general. The following is what I’m envisioning, in roughly increasing order of graphics complexity:

  • Dwarf Fortress
  • Arbitrary DS/Game Boy ROMs
  • Stardew Valley
  • Celeste
  • Factorio

I don’t imagine these would be unplayable without a GPU, but I was wondering if anyone had any relevant experiences they could share.

Simple: just try it.
Performance will be poor, but might be playable. With your fan spinning up like crazy and high cpu load, also high energy consumption.

I haven’t been able to find a game I want to play that runs well without a GPU.

You can install Lutris and run pretty much any game on the CPU, but performance is terrible. Even games that don’t seem GPU intensive don’t run at all, we are talking less than one frame per second.

I haven’t tried the games you mention, maybe you will have a different experience. If they have a native Linux client, there should be some hope you can get it to work.

For me the solutions was to repurpose an older workstation just to run games, I’ve hooked it up with a KVM switch and that works fine.

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I do have some experience at least when it comes to my gaming taste.

It’s not like 3D is completely out. I can successfully play PS1 games via PCSXR full speed. Translating this experience to PC games is something like: games from the late 90s that run fine with WineHQ may run well but those from the 00s will result in a slideshow.


Ahaha, great!

Battle for Wesnoth runs fine.

What games can you play Without GPU passthrough?
Imagine this not relevant but if solitaire card games interest anyone PySol Fan Club Edition work in debian 11. Does anyone have experience with MAME or other emulators?

MAME works out-of-the-box in the Debian template, you can install gnome-video-arcade if you want a xorg front-end for loading games.

If you want to play old PlayStation games, you can use pcsxr, it also works out-of-the-box.

The only issue I have is that my controller doesn’t work.

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Online chess works fine-ish, but lags a bit.