Looking for ways to get your gratis game on? Here’s how I do it.
Note: While we love free stuff, Krazy Coupon Lady’s legal team wants you to know we don’t endorse using emulators or ROMs. Play video games through approved channels.
I get free and free-to-play games at these sites.
For the uninitiated, free games that are totally free (many Facebook games are free), whereas free-to-play games are games that are free in theory, but there are usually optional in-game purchases which are said to enhance gameplay (think mobile games, as an example).
1. 8bbit.com: If you’re looking for intuitive NES, SEGA Genesis, and Atari game play, this browser games site is as simple as it gets. Bonus: They support multi-player mode, but it’s laggy if you’re not playing from the same general (physical) area.
2. Abandonia: Collects and presents all old, classic, user-rated DOS games where the copyright protection has been abandoned; hence the term ‘abandonware.’
3. Amazon MMO and Free-to-Play: Look for popular titles, but make an informed decision: Read the customer reviews and you won’t get roped into paying for digital accessories the game designers want you to spend a lot on.
4. Archive.org: This Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to video games, along with books, movies, music, and 487 billion archived Web pages.
5. ArmorGames: Offers free, online rated flash adventure and puzzle games for desktop and mobile users like Swords and Souls and Soda Dungeon. Keep track of your quests with online saves, so you can move between devices.
6. DOSBox: While not a game, this free software engine download lets you play non-browser DOS games on your computer using a DOS command prompt.
7. EA Play Free Games: Allows you to buy the game for free hoping you’ll make in-game purchases through microtransactions (like a new costume for your character, new characters/items, or extra content).
8. FreeAndLegalPCGames: Here you’ll find games typically outside of the mainstream, like Dwarf Fortress.
9. GameStop Free-to-Play: Offers a small selection of familiar titles like Roblox, League of Legends, and Command and Conquer.
10. GOG.com: This competitor of Steam offers DRM-free (Digital Rights Management) downloads, so as soon as they turn the file over to you, you can play offline on your computer.
11. Mindjolt Games: Offers arcade-style games, like Crazy Cabbie and Bubble Spinner, where you can compete with your social media buddies.
12. Origin’s On The House: Like EA, Origin, allows you to “buy the game for free” hoping you’ll make in-game purchases through microtransactions.
13. Steam Free-to-Play: Gives you hundreds of FTP games expecting you’ll get hooked and pay for more (or buy in-game accessories). Look for high-quality games like Team Fortress 2, and beware of games with pay-to-win elements (like paying for in-game advantages or to pass boring parts of a game).
14. Steam Free Demos: Here Steam lets users sample games in hopes you’ll buy them.
15. Wikipedia’s Freeware linked list: Look for some freaking great, classic games like Elder Scrolls, Command and Conquer, Castle of the Winds, Wolfenstein 3D, and Ultima 4: Quest for the Avatar.
I follow reddit’s r/freegames community.
16. This subreddit is dedicated to locating the best, most current free online gaming.
I borrow physical video games.
17. Worldcat.org is the world’s largest network of library content and services. Search their site for video games, and see which local libraries can order them via interlibrary loan.
18. The public library, despite the obvs (library = free stuff), lets me borrow games for up to 14 days (and renew online for an additional 14). My branch even has dozens of titles (some surprisingly new, like Splatoon for the Wii U).
19. College libraries like UC Santa Cruz carry over 600 games available for checkout, as well as over 40 consoles. It’s worth checking out your local colleges for the same options (some college libraries welcome locals without student IDs, too).
20. Gamefly free month of unlimited video games. Think Netflix for video games. Just make sure to read the rules and cancel the subscription before they charge your credit card if you don’t plan to continue.
I swap video games through sites and forums.
21. 4chan’s /vr/ forum has a thread dedicated to the exchange of games between individuals.
I share a Steam account.
23. Steam Family Sharing allows up to 10 devices at a time, allowing family members and guests to play each another’s games, while saving their own game progress to the Steam Cloud.
I sell back used video games and accounts for new, used games.
24. PlayerAuctions.com lets you sell (and buy) old video game accounts, characters, and in-game assets, sometimes for hundreds of dollars a pop.
26. Craigslist is pretty decent, especially if you don’t mind haggling. If you buy in bulk, sometimes you’ll get a better deal, too. Just test the games to make sure they work.
I use sites that exchange effort for freebies.
27. Freebie sites like Try YourFree360Games, Git-R-Free, or ZipNadaZilch, if you’re willing to jump through some hoops, exchange effort and referrals with free gameplay. Can’t get friends and family to sign up as referrals? Search sites like referralswapper.com.
28. Amazon Mechanical Turk pays you about $4 an hour doing tasks like categorizing pictures. You get paid with an Amazon gift card balance (minimal $1 payout). Pair with Amazon’s video game digital downloads.
29. Opinion Outpost pays me roughly $0.50 – $3 per opportunity, and I can take up to 9 surveys per day. Since each point = $0.10, I cash out with as few as 50 points for a $5 Alawar gaming gift card.
Bonus: For deeply discounted games, I watch the sales and consider how long it takes to play a game through.
– Steam usually offers high discounts on games (up to 90% off, and sometimes higher). These deals come and go, so check back regularly.
– GOG.com offers video game giveaways and deep discounts on games (up to 85% off, and sometimes more than that).
– How Long to Beat tells you on average how many hours you’ll need for a game playthrough, so you can gauge your costs against the game’s benefits.
It’s your turn: What did we miss? Where do you find your online games? Sock it to us! Sound off below or on Twitter @KrazyCouponLady