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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.