With digital distribution increasing in popularity, free-to-play games have become more and more widespread. You can find free games for just about any genre you’re interested in, all completely legally. Follow this guide to find a free game that suits your tastes, and get paying as quickly as possible.
Playing Free-to-Play Games
Find a service that hosts free-to-play games. Free-to-play games are games that you don’t have to purchase and can be played legally for free. They typically require you to create an account in order to play. Most free-to-play games have online shops where you can purchase in-game items and bonuses for real money.
There are free-to-play games available for almost every genre that you could imagine, from first-person shooters, to racing games, online RPGs, puzzle games, and more.
Some companies offer their game directly from the company website. Others are available through digital distribution platforms such as Steam.
EA has a large selection of free-to-play games on their website and available through their distribution platform Origin.
Use search engines to find the kind of game you want. Enter the genre into a search engine along with the words “free-to-play” and browse the results. Check reviews to make sure that the game is fun, as many free games are designed to extract money through cash shops. Some of the most popular free-to-play games include:
League of Legends
Team Fortress 2
World of Tanks
Path of Exile
Ensure that the game can run on your system. Check the recommended system requirements and compare that to your own computer. This will save you time if you download a game and it ends up not working.
Download the game. There are two main types of free-to-play games: those that are played in a web browser with no download required, and those that are downloaded and installed like a typical program. If it needs to be downloaded, you will be given a file that will be installed on you computer
If you are using Steam, you will need to create a free Steam account and download the Steam software. You will then download the game using Steam, and launch it from the Steam program.
Install the game. The installation process is different for every game, but in general you can leave the installation options at their default settings. If you are using a digital distribution program, the installation happens automatically after the download is finished.
Run the game. If you are using a digital distribution program, find the game in your library and run it directly from the distribution program. If the game was installed like a typical program, you can find it in your Start menu.
Navigate to an abandonware website. Abandonware are games that were released by now defunct companies. Most of these games are legally free, though some operate in a legal gray-area due to the fact that someone may still hold the rights. Popular sites include:
Home of the Underdogs
Find the game that you want to download. Most abandonware sites categorize their libraries by genre and release date. Browse through your favorite genre and look for a game that you want to try.
Check old reviews to see how the game played back when it was released.
Download and install the game. Most sites will provide instructions for installing the games on modern operating systems, as well as instructions for bypassing old CD key checks.
Find any fixes necessary to run the game. Modern operating systems may not be able to run the games correctly. Oftentimes, old games don’t work properly with widescreen monitors, or with modern graphics cards. Abandonware sites may provide information on how to fix these issues, but you may need to track down specific fixes yourself.
Use a web search with the game title and the specific problem you are having. You will often find forums with fixes posted by community members.
Downloading Flash Games
Visit your favorite Flash game website. Flash game websites host a large collection of flash games that you can play in your browser. You can download these games so that you can pay without an internet connection. Popular sites include:
Open the game that you want to download. For easiest downloading, use the free Firefox web browser to open the site.
Right-click on the background of the website. Make sure that you click on the background of the site and not on the actual game itself.
Select View Page Info. This will open a window that contains all of the information about that webpage.
Click the Media tab. A list will appear containing all of the objects that exist on the webpage. Sort the list by Type.
Find the game file. Flash games are listed as “Objects” and have an .swf extension. Scroll through the list until you find the flash game. It will typically have a name similar to the title of the game.
Click Save As. Highlight the game in the list and click Save As. The game file will be saved to your hard drive in your normal download folder.
Open the game. Right-click on the downloaded file and click Open With. Select Firefox from the list of programs, or if it is not listed browse for it on your computer. The game will open in a new Firefox window.
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