Review Criteria

The search for high quality Free video games is somewhat like hunting for treasure among the vast wreckage of a sunken ship.  There are so many places to explore, curious objects to sift through, even dangers to watch out for.  And yet, every so often one may just discover a rare hidden gem.  For many, the freeware treasure hunt is a burden.  For me, it’s one of the small pleasures of PC gaming.   And thanks to the dedication of talented, independent game designers quality free games really do exist.  Over the years I’ve probably playtested dozens of titles and among those I’ve tried some have earned a permanent place in my personal collection.  And that’s really what this folder is about, highlighting some of my personal favorites based on a very selective [and demanding] criteria.  You’ll probably notice as you browse through the collection that I tend to prefer games with an original idea or good gameplay versus those that rely on big explosions or fancy graphics. I’ve had a lot of fun discovering and playing these (and hope to maintain this collection indefinitely).  Hopefully you’ll enjoy discovering some of these gems for the first time.  Scroll down if you’d like to skip straight to the games; otherwise keep reading to learn more about the selection process.

Selection Criteria: Each consideration must…
1.  Be 100% Free.  No Shareware, Trials, Demos or Mods.
2.  Be compatible with Linux, WINE, ReactOS or Windows XP
3.  Be hosted at a site with a gray or better WOT rating.
4.  Have a focus on Single Player experience.  Online multiplayer games are the rare exception.
5.  Have Family Friendly Content (in-game and at the homepage).
6.  Be relatively easy to obtain and install (100 MB or smaller download) and not requiring an emulator to play.  Although for many of these you will need to be comfortable working with compressed files. 7-Zip is a great utility for this.
7.  Provide English language support.
8.  Be free of in-game advertising or microtransactions (IAP)
9.  Be a truly quality title, the best (or nearly best) in its class.
10.  Be a game I’ve actually played and…I Like It.

Concerning browser games of the Flash/HTML5 variety – these browser technologies are a legitimate gaming platform, but the problem with so many of these types of games is they are all too often front-loaded with (and otherwise surrounded by) advertising.  This doesn’t fit well with the ethos of truly free games where players are given the option to support a developer, usually in the form of direct donations.  In order for a “Free” browser-based game to pass criteria it must be hosted at a dedicated homepage by the developer and for that specific game.  Ideally, there should also be a downloadable stand-alone version, although this is more a preference than a strict requirement.

Guiding Influences: My lack of fondness for wanton violence, juvenile humor, M-rated content, anime, puzzle games, card games, fighting games, escape the room games, scrolling shooters, keyboard controlled platfomers and the majority of flash-based casual games.  My love for depth, originality, solid gameplay, engaging art and sound design, simulation & strategy games, classic retro titles and all around great presentation, whatever the genre – especially if it comes in a small package.


Concerning Adventure Games
You might notice there is a conspicuous lack of Adventure Games in this collection.  That’s because I tend to regard these titles separately from all other game types.  From this point on I’ll be maintaining a separate page, created specifically to feature my favorite Adventure Games, free or otherwise.

Note: Featured titles are listed in no particular order.  In other words, a game’s placement in the list should not be construed as a ranking.  They’re all favorites…

If you don’t see the games below click HERE.

UPDATE:  As it turns out it isn’t practical for me to do a full review on every outstanding free game that I play.  This is why the reviews will appear to have dropped off.  But I do still playtest the occasional discovery, and those finds (when they happen along) will be added to the Free Video Game list, maintained separately from this folder.  For an even larger selection visit the Honorable Mentions list.  Both are static pages (located in the right column there) that may even receive an update now and then.

Published in: on May 11, 2009 at 11:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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