My mom always tells me money doesn't grow on trees She also continually says, "A penny saved is a penny earned." Considering my mother's encyclopedic knowledge of money-related addages, she'd probably be proud to know that I've been strictly playing freeware games for the last month. That's right, freeware.
By now you've probably conjured up an idea of what I mean by freeware gaming. You're probably thinking about Evony's insultingly sexual advertisements or those FarmVille vouchers at the 7-11 checkout stand. While Mafia Wars and its ilk continue to dominate the free-to-play genre, they certainly don't have an oligopoly.
If you're broke and jonesing for some PC-related fun, you're in luck! Here are four excellent games which are free of any barrier to entry. You've no need to shake your fists at your wealthier friends — you'll be gaming in style with the following free-to-play titles.
Developed by FrozenSand, Urban Terror was originally intended as a map pack for Quake 3 Arena, but quickly expanded to become a total conversion mod, introducing tactical, team-based combat in addition to realistic environments.
Having previously required Quake 3 to play and install, Urban Terror 4.1 is now a standalone game — and free. While the visuals have suffered from age, this first-person shooter maintains a high learning curve and demanding level of skill.
What keeps me coming back to Urban Terror is the small, close-knit community. It may be their collectively unique sense of humor or it could be their insistence on playing a 10-year-old game that find endearing. Either way, if you decide to play Urban Terror, be prepared to meet some truly outrageous characters in-game.
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
Enemy Territory (or ET, as it's colloquially known) continues the tradition of free-to-play games that began development as expansion packs. In this case, funding for ET's single-player campaign fell through and left developer Splash Damage with few options. Fearing their efforts would go to waste, the studio released Enemy Territory's multiplayer portion as a standalone freeware game.
Instead of an expectantly poor multiplayer experience, loyal fans received a game of unparalled quality for its time. While the community has diminished in size, the fervor of its members hasn't.
Tired of World War II shooters? Well, Enemy Territory will, rather ironically, replenish your enthusiasm for the genre with its quirky blend of WW2 weaponry and over-the-top mechanics. Flamethrowers have never — and will never — be as fun.
TrackMania Nations Forever
What is there to say about TrackMania that hasn't already been said? Its use of slightly exaggerated physics and mind-meltingly bizarre track layouts will leave you giddy. If ever a game has caused uncontrollable excitement, it has to be TrackMania Nations Forever. Just watch this:[embed:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gK8y6Df4hFY&feature=related ]
Do yourself a favor and download this game.
America's Army 3
For the uninitiated, America's Army has little to do with actual combat. Despite being a recruitment tool for the world's largest military force, this online-only shooter does little in the way of brainwashing or propagandandizing.
If you're capable of suffering through the unending (and mandatory) training regime, you'll be treated to some of the most realistic game mechanics this side of Operation Flashpoint.
If you have any favorite freeware games you'd like to share, fell free to share any suggestions in the comments section!