I am thinking of changing my operating system from Windows to possibly Linux or something else. Just curious what people think and whether I should stay with Windows or go to linux.
I recommend *BSD UNIX!!!
I use NetBSD for my OS -- although FreeBSD and OpenBSD are good choices, too. I also use Slackware for certain things -- and I have to deal with Windows in my job as as System Administrator.
1)How much computer knowledge will I need to run it?
If you good with a Linux distro such as Ubuntu -- you don't need to know anymore than a Windows user. But, you can potentially do more than a Windows user in the realm of system management -- if you so choose. Distros such as Ubuntu aim to make Linux as "user friendly" as possible.
Linux distros such as Slackware, require a moderate amount of computer savvy -- and I wouldn't recommend those distros to a green Windows user. After you explore Ubuntu (or similar distro) for a while, and that means actually reading manpages and some light tweaking on the command line, you should be able to handle a distro such as Slackware.
*BSD, while it is in my opinion the best OS currently available in so many ways, is not for the faint of heart. For example, I have NetBSD on my laptop -- I rarely run X. I do most of my work on the command line. It fits me like a glove -- but, I have manually configured it so.
I should also mention that I am a System Administrator and a Computer Science major -- I know what I'm doing. My OS -- NetBSD -- may not be suitable for you right now. If you want to explore *BSD, I would probably recommend PC-BSD (which I put in the same difficulty category as Slackware).
2) Is there some sort of free Windows Office equivalent for Linux or is Windows office still compatible?
There are several. There is OpenOffice, which is based off of StarOffice; there is KOffice, part of KDE; there is Gnome Office, part of the Gnome project; and an plethora of individual components that you can combine into your own personal office suite.
3) What version of Linux would people recomend?
To get you started...Ubuntu. The best Linux, in my opinion, is Slackware -- but, you need some experience with Linux before I would think that that would be a viable option.
4) Is there a lot of conflict with programs such as games, video playing programs?
Depends on the games. Linux can run natively a growing list of games. A good portion of Windows games can be played through an emulator such as WINE. Most video card's 3D is supported in Linux now. And, most multimedia formats are able to be played in Linux using the proper software and codecs.
As a parting note, you won't know until you give it a try. A good number of distros can be run as a LiveCD, which means that they aren't installed on the hard drive, they run entirely from the CD/DVD. You can test them and see if you like it -- note that you can't save any settings from one session to the next (easily that is) and you can't save any files without an external device such as a USB drive.