You can now play Age of Empires 2 on your Chromebook locally

By - Dan Millward

Published -

If you want to play games locally on your Chromebook then you’d most likely be looking at an Android App or online game. Google recently announced Steam Alpha on Chrome OS, which is in very early stages. Steam Alpha allows you to play PC games locally on your Chromebook.

When I tried playing certain games a few weeks ago the only one I could get working was Civilization. Civilization is a game that has been written for Linux, so you don’t have to worry about the game being made for Windows. These types of Linux games should run more easily on Steam.

I found any game that was made for Windows did not appear to work. To try to use these games on Steam Alpha you need to enable Proton. This is a way of getting PC games working on Linux and is also used on the Steam Deck. When you enable proton in Steam; it lets you install Windows Games on your Chromebook.

Age of Empires 2

I decided to see if I could play Age of Empires 2 and I was pleasantly surprised when I got to play it without any issues. If you’ve not heard of Age of Empires it’s a long-running game format, which goes back over twenty plus years. I played the original but it wasn’t that impressive.

Age of Empires 2 is arguably one of the best of the series. This is mainly down to the gameplay and how difficult it can be when you try playing at harder levels. It’s a great game and I’m sure if you were gaming over twenty years ago you would have come across it.

Age of empires 2 game on Chromebook
The classic Age of Empires 2 playable on the Chromebook

The version that worked for me, which I had already purchased to play on my Windows PC was Age of Empires 2 HD Edition. This is an upgrade of the original game but all the gameplay is exactly the same as the original. It works really well on Steam Alpha and I’ve already spent about ten hours playing it without any issues.

If you’re interested in giving it a try and you don’t yet own Age of Empires 2. I would recommend buying Age Of Empires 2 definitive edition rather than the HD edition. After looking into it, the definitive edition is the better option, as it supports better graphics and can be played on 4K displays. The price when I took a look was the same as the HD edition, so it makes sense to buy the better of the two.

Steam Linux Alpha

You need to remember Steam Linux Alpha is just that. Alpha means it’s in very early stages, so you shouldn’t expect all games to work without any issues. The good news is after every game a survey appears where you can give your feedback. Providing feedback is essential because it allows the team to look into fixes for the game in question.

I’ve been using Steam Linux Alpha using my Asus CX5 Chromebook. This is one of the very limited numbers of Chromebooks that will currently work with Steam Alpha. Although it’s fair to say Age of Empires 2 is a pretty old game. There is still a lot going on when you’re playing the game, so I’m pretty impressed it worked without any issues.

I was expecting a possible crash a few minutes into the game, but I come across none of these types of issues. Everything worked just fine. If you have one of the Chromebooks that is currently supported for Steam Linux Alpha. Then I’d strongly suggest installing it to see how it works for your device.

Summary

I’m really interested to see how far Steam Linux Alpha can go. I do strongly believe it will take some time before we get to a stage where a huge number of games are playable. That being said, It’s a great step in the right direction for local gaming on your Chromebook.

If Steam Linux Alpha does become a success then I can imagine we’ll start seeing a new type of Chromebook. Much more powerful devices, which have been specifically designed with gaming in mind.

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