Admit it. We all love free stuff, even things we don’t need, and the same goes for gamers and our games. There is something reassuring to see an ever-growing library of games, in physical or digital forms.
Since physical space is finite, and digital space is somewhat infinite (therefore, solving the age-old geek question about whether space is finite), the answer to the question, “what’s better, physical or digital?”, is certainly digital.
So here we have a collection of websites for free and totally legal games. Some let you add to your digital collection of games; others let you play games on their sites for free. We split them into free games and free-to-play games currently available for Windows (and possibly Mac).
Oh, and we know that Amazon’s Prime Gaming offers free games as well but since you need an Amazon Prime membership to benefit, it’s technically not free so it’s not on this list.
Don’t forget, while you game online, be sure to invest in a good VPN service for greater security and connectivity.
From current AAA games to timeless classics, these sites gives you games that don’t come with the scourge of microtransactions that plague free-to-play games.
#1. Epic Games Store
Not everyone likes Epic Games, but you cannot deny that it is the best place to get some of the best PC games today for free. Since it started its giveaways in 2019, Epic has given out hundreds of games, including popular games such as GTA V, Alien: Isolation, Nioh, Vampyr, Tomb Raider, Surviving Mars, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, Metro 2033 Redux, Hitman 3, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Frostpunk, and… you get the idea.
Epic’s regular giveaways refreshes every Thursday 10am CT (Friday 12am SGT). Once claimed, any time within that week, the games are yours to keep forever. All you’ll need is an Epic Games account, which is free to sign up for. Epic has also done 15 days of giveaways in December, so watch those as well.
Get your free games on Epic Games Store.
#2. Internet Archive
Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library containing millions of free things, including books, movies, music, and games. In particular, they have a treasure trove of arcade games and MS-DOS games, all playable (and only playable) on your web browser.
Its Internet Arcade collection contains arcade games from the 1970s to the 1990s, which has been emulated to run on our computers. Say hello to old classics such as Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Dragon Ball Z 2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Turtles in Time, Street Fighter EX2, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Metal Slug 2, and over 2,600 more.
Its MS-DOS Games collection holds classics such as Doom, The Oregon Trail, Double Dragon, Prince of Persia, Golden Axe, Super Mario World, Master of Orion, Donkey Kong, and over 7,000 others.
Controls can be a little finicky. For the arcade games, try pressing ‘Tab’ for some general control scheme. Otherwise, try Google searching, and if all else fails, the good ol’ mash-the-keyboard-and-see-what-happens tactic usually works.
GOG is an online store that offers DRM-free games. It is owned by CD Projeckt, best known for The Witcher games and Cyberpunk 2077. It began by selling classic games that have been modernised to run on current operating systems, no DOS-boxing required. It has since grown to also sell AAA and indie titles, all DRM-free.
You can get games like Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar, Beneath a Steel Sky, and Shadow Warrior Classic Complete for free. Game demos for more recent titles are also available. You will just need an account with GOG; signing up is free. Once in a while, they do have free games available for a limited time so do keep a lookout.
Check out free games on GOG.
The largest online store today, Steam has an ever-expanding library of games. Since Steam doesn’t curate what games go on it, it is a wild west of sorts there.
Its list of free games is also substantial, but you will have to filter through the free-to-play and fake-free games to get to the gems (since you can only sort by free-to-play). A Steam account is needed, but signing up for it is free. Like GOG, there are times when Steam will be handing out free games for a limited time, so keep a lookout.
Check out free games on Steam.
If Steam is the wild west, itch.io is the Amazon rainforest. The indie games store hosts some of the weirdest, creepiest, funniest, and other -est games you can imagine (or not imagine). There are also good indie games.
With over 500,000 games listed (in March 2022), of which 95% of them are free, you have to really trawl through them for the gems that interest you. Other than Windows, you can filter the games for macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, or even just web browsers.
No account is needed. You can donate to the developers, but games will remain free even if you don’t. Other than games, itch.io also sells books, comics, physical games, game assets, and a bit of everything else.
Check out free games on itch.io.
#7. Game Jolt
Game Jolt is an indie storefront for games, which includes games that are free and pay-what-you-want.
#8. Blizzard Entertainment
The developer best known for its Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft series has made available some of its games for free (and yes, both Starcraft games are free, details below).
Three games are free from Blizzard’s classic games category, no strings attached. Blackthorne and The Lost Vikings are awesome classic platformers that still retain their charm today, while Rock N’ Roll Racing is a racing game with some catchy 8-bit tunes.
If you install its launcher, BATTLE.NET, you’ll get to play the real-time strategy games, Starcraft and Starcraft II (limited content), absolutely free. Plus, you’ll also get access to two other free-to-play games, Hearthstone (strategy card game) and Heroes of the Storm (MOBA).
Check out these free games on Blizzard.
#9. Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls
No free version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim here, but what you’ll find, is the first two games in the series that started it all, Arena and Daggerfall. Large, expansive open worlds that put most modern open worlds to shame. The UI though is from the early 1990s so it is quite clunky.
Currently, you’ll need a Bethesda account and launcher (both free) to run those games. It will likely change in April 2022, since Bethesda is retiring its launcher and transferring its games to Steam.
#10. AGD Interactive
Those who played point-and-click adventures in the 1980s and 1990s will surely remember Sierra Entertainment’s King’s Quest. AGD Interactive has released remakes of King’s Quest I-III, as well as Quest for Glory II, that you can download and play for free. If you like these games, you can also check out their commercial releases.
#11. Spelunky HTML5
Spelunky HTML5 is the web-based version of the original Spelunky (2008), the procedurally-generated 2D platformer roguelike, filled with cute sprites, that is brutally difficult.
It doesn’t look as good as the commercial remakes released in 2013 and later, but you still get all the gameplay mechanics that made Spelunky such a hit. Plus you get to go spelunking on your web browser.
Play Spelunky on your browser.
#12. 3D Realms
3D Realms’s claim to fame is its Duke Nukem series, the first of which it first released back in 1991 while 3D Realms was still Apogee Software. You won’t find the Duke Nukem games here though, probably because that IP has been sold to Gearbox. However, you can get your hands on some other Apogee Classics like Major Stryker and Arctic Adventure. As usual, a free-to-sign-up account with 3DR is needed.
Check out free games on 3D Realms.
We said above that Duke Nukem is not available for download at 3D Realms. But somehow, the series is playable on browser at playclassic.games. Other games include classics such as Sid Meier’s Civilization, Oregon Trail, Wolfenstein 3D, Nox, and Diablo.
Check out classic games on playclassic.games.
14. Minecraft Classic
The renowned block-building simulation by Mojang Studios has a free web-based version that you can play any time on your browser. Minecraft Classic is Minecraft in its original 2009 glory, with its old-school UI and bugs.
Your world is generated with its own unique URL, which can be sent to nine friends for them to join your world. However, the joining link didn’t work when we tried so the whole function may actually be broken.
Check out free Minecraft Classic.
#15. Chrono Divide
An unofficial fan-made project of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 that you can play on your web browser. An alpha build is currently available, with the latest patch update made in Dec 2021.
You’ll have to create an account, and only multiplayer “Custom Match” is available (no campaign mode or matches against AI). So best played with a friend or two.
#16. Reddit’s Giveaways and Deals Communities
The reddit online forum community is home to over millions of interest groups (known as subreddits), covering almost any topic you can imagine, including games.
Within these subreddits, there are subreddits where people actually give away legitimate copies of games they don’t want. Any reddit user (free sign up) can join the raffle.
Also, you can join subreddits that alert you to news about free games and deals.
#17. Price Comparison Sites
These websites give you a quick look at the historical best prices for any game, on any multiple platforms, to help you make the best choice of when to purchase. Like any respectable aggregate site, they also have a list of available freebies from all over the web.
Games that are free to start, but incentivise you to spend money on in-game purchases to get ahead, get stuff, or get to play. We won’t list everything, since many of them are easily found on platforms such as Steam and Epic.
Best known for its Assassin’s Creed series, the French game company has also dipped into the free-to-play segment with games like Trackmania (2020), Might & Magic Chess Royale, and Assassin’s Creed Rebellion (Google Play and iOS only).
The one non-microtransaction game they have is Rabbids Coding, a game to learn basic programming (it’s quite fun). There are also downloadable demos for some of Ubisoft’s games, including Immortals Fenyx Rising, but mostly the Tom Clancy’s series of games.
You will need a Ubisoft account and the Ubisoft Connect launcher for these (free of course). Some regional restrictions may apply.
Check out Ubisoft’s free games.
#19. Electronic Arts (EA)
Electronic Arts offers three free-to-play games: Apex Legends, Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances (browser game), and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Like most free-to-play offerings, you’ll get access to the basic game by creating a free account and/or downloading the EA’s Origin launcher. For the complete experience, or if want better loot, faster, you’ll have to pay for them.
Check out EA’s free games.
#20. Catan Universe
The digital version of the classic board game, Settlers of Catan, this free version lets you play the starter scenario in multiplayer mode, against up to two other players. There is a one game limit every 12 hours. Included as well is the introductory version of the 2-player Catan card game.
In-game purchases unlocks unlimited playtime, expansions and game modes. Cross save and crossplay is enabled between Android, iOS, Mac and Windows devices.
Play Settlers of Catan.
It hosts over 120,000 web-based free-to-play games. You don’t need an account to play, but Kongregate members (sign up is free) can earn badges and points, and keep their game progress.
Play web games at Kongregate.
And there you have it. Do you know of more great sites that we should add to the list? Let us know! Don’t forget, while you game online, be sure to invest in a good VPN service for greater security and connectivity.