Right now, Steam
is running all kinds of crazy year-end deals and there are loads of games you can buy at crazy low prices. But maybe you're all tapped out right now -- and you'd like to get your hands on some fun games without having to shell out your remaining hard-earned cash?
No worries! We just pointed out 20 great free programs
to install on your new system, and it's just as easy to find plenty of free games. First, some good news about your new Windows 7 computer: it's got some really great free games installed like Mahjong Titans and the much nicer-looking Solitaire.
Now, onward to the free games!
To get you started with an assortment a free goodies, first install Valve's Steam client software and create an account (assuming you don't have one already). There are several great games you can download at no charge, and there's something for everyone!
So, you and three of your friends feel like going toe-to-toe with some nasty intergalactic creeps? Alien Swarm lets you do that, and with 8 unique characters and loads of awesome weapons to find (and -- more importantly -- use
), your foursome will have a blast gunning its way through the alien landscape.
America's Army 3
For free FPS action, check out America's Army 3. You'll "experience Soldiering in the U.S. Army like never before," which stands to reason -- since the game is
the U.S. Army's creation! Join up with friends to complete missions, and unlock nearly four dozen Steam achievements in the process.
America's Army 3
If you're a fan of the casual games, Peggle will probably be right up your alley. It's an addictively challenging little game where you blast and bounce balls to clear the play area and score points. The Extreme... well, that's because this version is themed with sounds and artwork from other Steam favorites like Half Life and Team Fortress 2.
Trackmania Nations Forever
Racing fans, this one's for you. Trackmania lets you zip around on more than 60 unique racetracks, and there's even a track editor so you can design and build your own fantastical tracks. Want some real competition? Connect and play with racers all over the world on tracks hosted on the Trackmania servers!
Trackmania Nations Forever
... and now on to the games which don't require Steam!
Originally released as freebie for Vista Ultimate owners, Microsoft Tinker is now free for everyone to enjoy! It's a great little puzzle game with stylish, retro artwork that will keep you engaged for hours (assuming you're the kind who enjoys puzzle games). It's box-sliding, flip-switching fun!
Grand Theft Auto 2
GTA2 is a classic, and Rockstar Games has been generously giving it away for quite some time. It's not as complex as the more recent entries in the series, but it's still a fun way to have a little law-breaking fun on your PC.
Frets on Fire
Grab your keyboard and rock out! Frets on Fire is a free, open-source game that plays like Guitar Hero and is every bit as fun. Use the built-in song editor to add your own tracks, or download thousands already created by other players!
Download Frets on Fire
Secret Maryo Chronicles
for a little 2D platform action -- like the kind you'd get in the classic Super Mario games? You've got to check out Secret Maryo Chronicles (see what they did there?). With cute (and very well-done) graphics and level after level of jump-and-squash fun, it's a must-try PC game.
Download Secret Maryo Chronicles
Wormux (now WarMUX)
Who doesn't enjoy a little trajectory-based team combat? Grab your favorite weapons and do battle on scores of fun, ridiculous, cartoony backdrops. Play against a friend or challenge the computer, and revel in all the geeky inside jokes -- or don't, it's still fun even if you're not a geek.
This game refers to itself as 'a ridiculous shooter' and that's a pretty darn good way to describe it. If you love fast-past games with lots of laser blasts and explosions, this frenetic space shoot-out is for you.
If you like games like Civilization, Colonization, and Settlers, download 0 A.D. It's still being developed, but a very playable alpha release is available for download. The graphics are quite stunning -- especially for a free game -- and you'll fritter away countless hours amassing units and expanding your empire.
Download 0 A.D.
"I love making stuff blow up, but I want my minions to do it for me," you say? Well, by all means, take control of doomsday machines, hulking mechs, and even tiny insectbots to defeat your enemies. Transform the landscape to suit your needs and take first-person control over your units for in-your-face battle action!
Want more free games? Check out our previous post with 25 more downloadable freebies
If you've got a game or two or three to suggest, post them in the comments -- we'll run down your suggestions on Boxing Day
(the 26th, for those of you outside the Commonwealth.)