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Free PC Games to Download and Play

by: Simon Hill ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Gaming needn't be expensive there are plenty of options out there for gamers looking to play quality PC games for free. In this article we give you a run down of the best options currently available for gamers seeking a free gaming fix.

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    Free PC Game Downloads

    There are a number of sites offering free PC game downloads. Your gaming obsession doesn’t always need to hurt your pocket. You can find various types of game for free on the internet. There are casual puzzle or adventure games, free browser games, multiplayer first-person shooters and even massively multiplayer online role playing games. There is plenty out there to download and play them for free if you are willing to search.

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    Free Trial Versions

    The most common method for publishers determined to drive sales is to offer a free trial which allows you full access to the game for a period of time or allows you to complete the first few levels to get you hooked before they jack up the price. A good example of this is the indie PC game Mount and Blade. It’s an RPG where you take on the role of a knight and can engage in some swordplay and jousting action. You can download the full game for free but you can only level up so far before you have to pay. If you do get hooked then check out our Mount and Blade Guide.

    The free trial can be a great way to see if you think a game is worth purchasing and you can get a good few hours of free gaming but ultimately you will always be hit with that frustration of reaching your limit and having to pay to continue. Fear not there are alternatives to get your free gaming fix.

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    Old Commercial Titles offered as Free Downloads

    Many developers are offering their back catalogue as free downloads now, the classic games of yesteryear are no longer selling and giving them away for free helps developers to promote their brand. You can read about some of the best available free games in this category in previous articles on this website.

    As well as old commercial titles now freely available there are also independent games given away for free. Here's a list of 100 full version games to download.

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    Completely Free PC Games

    A new technique that publishers in the West are beginning to experiment with is something that has been popular in the Asian market for many years; they give away a full version of their game and aim to generate money through advertising or through micro-payments in the game. An exciting upcoming release in this category is Battlefield Heroes, a cartoon style multiplayer first-person shooter brought to you by the same developers who created the Battlefield series of games. It is due to be released this year and is completely free for gamers, aiming to make money via advertising.

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    Free MMO's and RPG's with Micro-payments

    The micro-payments category is generally for Massively Multiplayer Online games and Role Playing Games. In the Asian market this has been a common practice for quite a while with developers giving away full versions of their games and making their money by offering gamers in game items such as customized avatars for a small fee. The advantage for developers is massive uptake of their titles which instantly provides a bustling community and packed servers for their games. With reports that the micro-payments are earning them big bucks you can expect more publishers in our part of the world to follow suit.

    While the micro-payment model is currently rare for gamers in the US and Europe you can find some examples which are heading in that direction. One such game is the highly rated Guild Wars. You will have to purchase a key to download the game but it is far cheaper than paying a monthly subscription.

    A game in this category which you can download and play for free is Dungeon Runners. It’s a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game and you can download the full game and play it for nothing but you can only get access to certain bits of kit within the game by paying a small fee.

    If you like football then you should check out the free MMO game Football Superstars. It challenges you to develop as a player both on and off the pitch. If you want to know more then read our Football Superstars Review.

    Another example of a completely free option is Sword of the New World.

    Here's a great list of the best free MMORPG games - watch out for Brighthub reviews of these games soon!

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    Free Game Modifications

    Your last port of call when looking for free games is the mod scene. Game modifications are free although they use an existing game as the base to run on. This is a great way to get more out of your purchases. Popular game engines such as the Source engine which is used for Half-Life 2 or the Unreal engine used for the Unreal Tournament games have spawned thousands of mods which can be downloaded and played for absolutely nothing. The only catch here is that you must own the original game and sometimes the mods are poor quality because they are often developed by amateurs.

    A great place to find the best mods is the Mod database where you can see how various mods have been rated and decide what is worth trying.

    So as you can see there are many options for gamers seeking free PC game downloads. Your only problem now is choosing what to play.