Video Games 101: Where can I find some free games online?

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I've never been one to pick a fight with Friedrich Nietzsche, so I'm willing to concede that free will may be an illusion. On the other hand, I am completely unwilling to give ground on the fact that free video games are 100% real, and I further aver that it's our duty as gamers and as human beings to take advantage of those free games whenever we can. Now, almost everybody knows that you can go to sites like addictinggames or Yahoo! and play online versions of Asteroids or Euchre. Ho-hum. The good news is, sites like that are neither the be-all nor the end-all of free gaming. Other, lesser known avenues to no-cost fun are scattered all over the internet, and only require a little exploration to track down. As a public service, here in no particular order are five of my personal favorites.

1. The Kingdom of Loathing

Anyone who likes games with challenging puzzles and a satirical edge will love The Kingdom of Loathing, a turn-based MMORPG which makes up for its lack of graphical sophistication (most of the game world is drawn in a crude stick-figure style, and there's almost no animation) with clever writing and a bizarre, complex world that takes months to fully explore. It's also the only game I know of where a player can get hopelessly addicted to goofballs and then ascend to a higher plane of existence in the span of 15 minutes. That should tell you all you need to know.


A treasure trove for the old-school gamer, offers anyone with an internet connection the chance to relive the 8-bit era by presenting a massive library of NES, Sega Master System, Gameboy, and even Commodore 64 games for free online play. While using a keyboard to control Mario might seem a little awkward at first, I promise that you'll soon find yourself burning away the hours in the futile (but pleasant) pursuit of your long-lost childhood

3. America's Army

To paraphrase the great Chris Rock, it wouldn't cross my mind to join the army if there were Libyan tanks rolling down Forbes Avenue right now. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy America's Army, an online first person shooter developed (appropriately enough) by the U.S. Army as combination video game and recruiting tool. The game itself is remarkably realistic and extremely tactical in nature, so fans of games like Rainbow Six will find a lot to enjoy... as long as they can look past the jingoistic presentation and tedious training missions.

4. Trackmania Nations

Much as I generally dislike racing games, I was able to get a surprising amount of enjoyment out of Trackmania's blistering pace, twisting levels full of pipes and loops, and polished graphics. If you're looking for a free game that will test your reflexes and give you a little motion sickness to boot, then you can't go wrong with this one.

5. Liquid War

One of the most unique strategy games I've ever played, Liquid War has up to six players controlling blobs of colored pixels as they maneuver around obstacles and attempt to assimilate each other. My friends and I used to play this game back in high school when we were supposed to be programming in C++, and while I never got any good at it, I still think I made the right decision.

By Eric Keihl



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