Enjoy These PC Classic for Free
PC Games Gone Free
While there are numerous big-budget AAA gaming titles out there vying for the discerning gamer's time and money, there are also numerous classic games that can be played for free. Whether it's older titles that have been cut loose by their owners (or released as freeware for the promotion of newer games), landmark games that have been released to the wild by benevolent publishers, or video games transitioned to a new monetization model, these are the best classics that have gone free.
Id Software's Wolfenstein 3D is a PC classic and rightly regarded as the grandfather of the massively popular first person shooter genre. Players step into the shoes of Allied spy BJ Blazkowicz as you fight your way past your Nazi captors in order escape the prison of Castle Wolfenstein. While it doesn't have many of the refinements of modern shooters, Wolfenstein 3D run-and-gun gameplay holds up well. Bethesda, which now holds the rights to the Wolfenstein games, released a free, browser-based version of the game to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D's release.
Team Fortress 2
Originally released as part of the Orange Box compilation, Valve's Team Fortress 2 is a multiplayer classic, taking the cooperative class mechanics of previous Team Fortress titles and giving it a cartoony spin. The game has since gone free-to-play, with microtransactions for the purchase of items and customizations. While the Source engine might be showing its age, Team Fortress 2 still provides a ridiculously fun multiplayer experience with an emphasis on the absurd. And hats.
The StarCraft Anthology
Along with the announcement of a remastered edition of StarCraft for Summer 2017, Blizzard has made un-remastered versions of StarCraft and its Brood War expansion free to play. You'll find links to the Mac and PC versions at Blizzard's website. Among the features added to this classic game are support for windowed mode, an Observer mode for multiplayer, better matchmaking for competitive players and stability improvements for Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. Compatibility with modern OSes mean old fans and new players can experience a groundbreaking RTS classic that helped cement the Blizzard gaming juggernaut.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert
As if the original Command & Conquer's over the top sci-fi action wasn't ridiculous enough, Westwood followed it up with a crazy reimagining of Soviet-American 'relations' as high-tech conflict rather than chilly espionage. Set in an alternate universe where the Cold War goes hot, Red Alert delivers classic RTS gameplay that sees users explore the map, exploit resources and exterminate the opposition.
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun is the direct sequel to the original C&C Tiberian Dawn, and brings expanded gameplay with land, sea, air and subterranean units, as well as urban environments and richer terrain. A follow-up to the first C&C game, Tiberian Sun advances to the future. The Global Defense Initiative keeps watch over an Earth ravaged by Tiberium while Kane and the Brotherhood of Nod scheme to conquer the shattered world.
Origin On The House
Electronic Arts is an old hand in the computer gaming world, and its Origin On The House program draws on their long history of games by providing Origin users with a new free game every month from EA's stable of classics. Simply log in to your account in the Origin game launcher and download the client, and then go to Free Games > On The House, and you can add that month's free game to yourlibrary forever. Each month features a new free title, with previous games in the promotion including Dragon Age: Origins, Theme Hospital, and Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger.
Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall
The second installment in the iconic Elder Scrolls series of sandbox RPGs, Daggerfall charges players with destroying an ancient golem and putting the spirit of an ancient ruler to rest. The game's real joy lies with its massive world. You can customize your character to an insane degree, craft your own spells and items, own property and interact with thousands of characters. This successful execution of a highly detailed open world set the template for later games such as Skyrim.
Beneath A Steel Sky
Beneath a Steel Skyis a post-apocalyptic/cyberpunk point-and-click thriller that takes its cues from the pessimism of British graphic novels. You play as Foster, a wasteland outsider who has gone on the run in a vast city where the wealthy corrupt live sheltered from pollution while the have nots toil for them. The dire tone of the game is offset by the light sarcasm of Foster’s only companion, the robot Joey. An engaging and intelligent story that blends shades of Orwellian paranoia with British wryness.
World of Warcraft
This MMORPG looms large over the gaming industry with its historical significance, financial success and surprising longevity. World of Warcraft is set within the world of Azeroth, established in Blizzard's hit wargame franchise. The real draw of World of Warcraft, like any MMO, is its appeal as an online hub filled with people to meet and things to do. Featuring thousands of quests, hundreds of regions, dozens of organizations and numerous expansions, World of Warcraft is a titan in the MMORPG field.
Before World of Warcraft, there was Everquest, an MMORPG whose phenomenal success earned it the nickname 'Evercrack' for its addictive combination of MUD-inspired gameplay and pioneered many of the concepts that inspired many other MMOs that followed. The newly rebranded Daybreak Game Company has stepped up to the plate with new content and expansions for players to enjoy. While the game's visuals and design are certainly showing its age, it retains a loyal player base due to its welcoming community and cooperative atmosphere.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
The MMO successor to the Knights of the Old Republic series of role-playing games, SW:TOR is notable for its class storylines, which feature the same fully-voiced, choice-driven plots that are the trademark of developer BioWare. Originally released as a paid plus subscription MMO, the game eventually switched to a free-to-play model, allowing free players to go through the original class storylines, with premium content (and quality of life perks) available to paying subscribers.
Secret World Legends
FunCom's Secret World puts players in a world almost like ours, only filled to the brim with ancient mysteries, secret societies, and other urban fantasy and conspiracy theory trappings to deliver an MMO experience like almost no other. The game is set to receive a reboot this summer titled Secret World Legends, promising and totally free-to-play experience and various refinements and features both for balancing and to fit the new model. Users can now sign up for the beta, and veteran Secret World players can reserve their user names, with active subscriptions and Grand Master status rolling over into the new Patron rewards program for the relaunch.
The Ur-Quan Masters
Star Control II was a PC gaming classic that was surprisingly sophisticated and well thought out for its time. Few games today feature the same mix of narrative depth, sandbox exploration and enjoyable space combat that have won the game a cult following to this day. Star Control II was remade as The Ur-Quan Masters for modern computers and based on source code from the 3DO port.
The Tribes series of first-person shooters has a well deserved reputation for mobile, dynamic combat, featuring vehicles, jetpacks, and a wide array of science fiction weapons to dish out far future punishment against other players. The latest iteration of the franchise, Tribes Ascend, is free to play on Steam right now, but the older games are also available for free at tribesuniverse.com, including its prologue games like Earthsiege, and Tribes Vengeance, which features a single-player campaign.
The Marathon Trilogy
Somewhere in the heavens, they are waiting. Before Cortana and Halo was Durandal and the Marathon trilogy. A groundbreaking FPS series originally released on Mac, the Marathon trilogy featured a complex science fiction tale far beyond what was previously seen in shooters, and deployed gameplay innovations such as dual-wielding weapons, innovative multiplayer modes, and other features that would become de rigueur in games that followed.