Blockbuster games can set you back a small fortune today, with most new releases costing more than $50. Flashy graphics, online multiplayer and purchasable character customization don’t necessarily make a great gaming experience though.
Sometimes, free games can be just as fun (if not more) and have the benefit of not hurting your wallet at the same time. Here are some great free games you can play on your PC today.
Many people spent hours in the early 2000s building roller coasters in the hit Chris Sawyer game, Rollercoaster Tycoon. It spawned many other “Tycoon” games, some created by Sawyer, and many not.
This theme park simulator was not his first game though. He saw success with the 1994 game, Transport Tycoon, which let players become the owners of a transport company, tasked with moving people around cities and cargo between factories.
It was a massive hit and developed a cult following. Unfortunately though, the game’s age and a lack of patches and updates meant it stopped working after the release of later versions of Windows in the late 1990s.
So in 2004, a bunch of developers created OpenTTD, an open-source game that was built by reverse-engineering the original release and converting the code to C. It remains one of the most contributed to open source projects in the world, with a vast library of mods.
Today, players can take part in LAN and online multiplayer games where they work together or compete against each other in scenarios.
Although the game has always been free to download, it used to require the player to have a copy of the original game files. This has since been removed as new base graphics packages have been created by third parties, avoiding any copyright issues.
Poker is one of the oldest games that we still play today, and for good reason – It’s easy to learn but takes thousands of hours to truly master. There are countless ways you can play Texas Hold’em, 5 card draw, or any other version of the game online, but PokerStars offers one of the best all-round experiences.
Its free-to-play game lets you experience the thrill of taking part in tournaments without having to spend a penny. This is a great way to practice as you work your way towards mastering the game.
As well as having many of the most popular rule variants, PokerStars has some exciting game formats including Spin & Go, a fast-paced hyper-turbo tournament format where just three people take part at each virtual table. There are also ring game and tournaments, and even the opportunity to play online with some of the game’s best-known professionals.
The app is free to download for Windows, and also has a mobile version that can be used on the same account so you can play wherever you are.
Fortnite Battle Royale
If you want something a bit more lively, then Fornite might be the game for you. It boasts more than 250 million global players and is popular in esports and online streaming.
This free to play game packs in many of the features you find in first and third-person shooters. Its graphics are a little more cartoony than games like Call of Duty, but this is just part of the game’s charm.
Simple mechanics make it easy to play, even if you’re a casual gamer or total newbie.
The Battle Royale version uses the format that was made popular by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in which 100 players parachute onto a map and must fight and scavenge to survive. Over time, players get eliminated by being killed by another player or by being outside the safe zone when it shrinks.
Nearly everything within the map can be interacted with, often being harvested for materials to build fortifications for protection from attack or to hamper the movement of other players.
There’s no need to shell out large sums. With these games, you can have countless hours of fun. They also don’t need powerful hardware to run, making them great for gaming on a laptop or an old computer.