May 17, 2006

Oh no! More hand-picked free games.

The last time I presented you with my favorite free games, I strived to achieve collage-perfection. This time I tried something easier. Photo-manipulation, using the most advanced digital tools. You can see the results on the nice hand-crafted (ahem) pic, that's right above this paragraph. But, I digress. Nobody is here to read about my artistic and/or technical endeavors. You are all here for the games.

Well, the games that made it to this list, were carefully hand-picked in my rather picturesque cyber-garden. They are not shareware titles, trials or mods. They are all full free (100% legal) games, and each and every one of them has given me at least a few hours of clean-godly-gnomish fun. (America's Army is not included, and no matter how many of you moan, it will never be. I hate this game). Well, without further ado then, on to the list...

The Top of the Crop

Xenon 2000: A Xenon II update, by the Bitmap Brothers themselves. Joy, oh joy! Respects, bows and generally dances around. In a happy way. Oh, it's a classic shoot em'up if you must know.

SimCity: The original, society-altering, pseudo-scientific, but exquisite game (cyber-toy, more like it) for city planner wannabes, is at last free.

GunZ: That's one for my gore-minded friends. Go on, download, install and murder polygonal entities to your heart's delight.

Trackmania Nations: Race race-cars and have mindless fun. For free of course.

Zork I, II and III: The best adventure games ever, made it to the public domain, and there was much rejoicing. Brilliant. No screenshots provided. (They are text-adventures. Aaaah...)

Cholo: A beautiful and groundbreaking (it's an 8bit game remake) 3d action game. Requires some strategic thinking and should be avoided by epileptics. Obviously.

KKrieger: An impressive First Person Shooter in under 100kbs? Of course. Marvel at this creation by the demoscene's finest...

NetHack: By popular demand. The ultimate hack-n-slash time sink. Respect the addictive power of ASCII.

The Elder Scrolls: Arena: Apparently Oblivion's grandfather. An immense RPG, with basic but functional 3d graphics. Thank you, Bethesda.

Hidden and Dangerous Deluxe: The same. Also included are: Devil's Bridge expansion pack and H&D game editor.

Facade: The next step in AI development or the evolution of the Sims and cyber-voyeurs? No matter what you think, you really have a look at this innovative almost-gamy piece of software.

The List v.2 (TM)


Planeshift: Nothing to do with planes or planets, Planeshift is a pretty standard fantasy-themed MMORPG. It's in 3d too!

Gunbound: An amazing-looking on-line game, that's actually fun and simple.

Urban Dead: The best free MMORPG. Web-based, popular, simple and humorous. Plus you can be the Zombie.

Wyvern: It's a MMORPG, it looks like a MUD and it's in beta. What is it? Wyvern, of course.

....Strategy & Wargames

MegaMek: Live the excitement and all-around sexy action of the BattleTech board game on your PC.

Invade Earth: A sci-fi version of Risk.

Chart Wars: Apparently a management game, that has something to do with music. And charts.

GameBiz: Like Chart Wars, only with games.

Bontago: Interesting, real-time, requiring abstract strategy and in 3d.

Dark Oberon: The best freeware 2d RTS around, featuring amazing clay stop-motion animation.


Nexuiz: A pretty decent deathmatch FPS. I must admit it was rather enjoyable.

Starsiege: Tribes: Calling this a shooter is an understatement, but I just don't feel like elaborating. An amazing game, and I guess you'll have to thank Vivendi.

Red Planet Arena: Another highly-polished FPS, but for free.

Alien Breed: Obliteration: At last. A 2d shooter and a remake/expansion/improvement of one of the better games on the Amiga. Classic.


Ultima IV: A remake.

Zelda Classic: Another remake.

Eternal Daughter: Not a remake.

Dungeoncrawl: Neither a remake, nor a novel idea.


The Black Cauldron and more Al Lowe games
: Have a look at legendary Al Lowe's creation after he did Softporn and before doing Leisure Suit Larry.

Flight of the Amazon Queen (CD version): A classic 90's point and click adventure, with great humor. Quite a tough one too.

Betrayal at Krondor: Based on the works of R.E. Feist, this is an excellent adventure. By Sierra of course.

Space Quest 0: Replicated: A funny fan addition to the Space Quest saga.

Kings Quest I, II: Great VGA remakes of the classic Sierra games.

Spooks!: Short, gothic and fresh. Reviewed by me right here.

....Games in Space

Elite: The ueber classic space-trading game, available for free through your browser. Immense.

Battlecruiser Millennium: A very complex, but ultimately rewarding game. In space.

Babylon 5: I've found her: Simply brilliant. Perhaps the best space sim of our day, and it will cost you nothing. Nada. Nichts. Rien.

Wing Commander Privateer Remake: Self explanatory and very well done.


Zombie Farm: Destroy 3d zombies the old fashioned way.

One Must Fall 2097: Great 2d graphics and typical beat 'em up (one-on-one) action.

Beats of Rage: Nothing to do with the Beat generation, just a very well done Streets of Rage tribute.

Horace and the Spiders: Typical platform action from the Spectrum era. Nostalgic.

GL-117: A very-very arcadey flight simulator.

FlightGear: A rather more realistic flight simulator.

A game with a kitty: Beautiful 2d platform action with great visuals.

Little Fighter 2: Decent and with anime style.

Cave Story: Arcade-adventure-platform gameplay and retro visuals.

Rumble Box: Artsy 3d beat 'em up. Worth a look.


Cloud: What can I say for this one? It's beautiful, innovative and very playable. Makes me wonder why I didn't include it in the Top of the Crop games. Really great.

[N]: Not unique in terms of gameplay, but with highly original visuals.

Klass of '99: Relive your school years and cry like a baby.

Ocular Ink: Plain weird. You get to control an eyeball...

....Casual Time Wasting Thingies (CTWTs)

Lemmingball Z: Quirky little game, that's got Lemmings in it.

Plasmapong: Pong with fancy graphics. Guaranteed to break the ice at parties.

Future Pinball: A work in progress it might be, but an impressive pinball game it is.

Grid Wars and other nice and short casual games.

FooBillard: 3d Billard would have been more appropriate, me thinks.

Oh, and ABA Games are offering a modest collection of interesting and mostly 3d freeware games.
. . . . . . . . .

Related Gnome's Lair articles: Running old DOS games, Morrowind mods, Play retro games on Java, Telltale Texas Hold'em review

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  1. WOAH!!! Free stuff overload!! Hey, I remember Xenon II Megablast - it had the best music ever!

  2. And it was the first playable shoot em up on the Pc. Ever. Almost makes me cry....

  3. Motherload!

    Your photo manipulation is also stupendous, Self taught?

  4. Why of course not... I learned everything on the streets.

  5. I've taken the obscene liberty of posting a link to your extraordinary post. And here's the killer bit I've also taken the liberty of using your "urbanised" art. If you've copyrighted it let me know and I'll take it down immediately.

  6. Thank you so much, oh wise Mr. Elderly... And luckily, my art is always in the public doamin ;)

  7. Another excellent roundup of Free Game Goodness, as usual. Kudos!

  8. Thank you so much dear possum!

  9. Its like an orgasm - too much goodness all at once!

    Gnome delivers again!

  10. They don't call me 'the deliverer; for nothing...


    Thanks ross

  11. Downloading Xenon 2000 now, Gnome. Great find!

    Cholo is an EXCELLENT pick. I'm not familiar with the C=64 original, but I fell in love with the whole retro/wireframe/hacking style of the remake. Also, it reminded me somewhat of the classic Tau Ceti for the Spectrum.

    Sad to say then that the Cholo remake is one of the few games that make me motion-sick, meaning I can't play it for more than 10 mins at a time. Which for all practical purposes means "at all" :(

    Fellow sufferers be warned!

  12. Glad you enjoyed Xenon KDE, and thanks for the warning...

    Tau Ceti? I've never heard of this game. Sound intriguins. Thanks.

  13. Ever heard of BZflag? It has ok graphics (by ok, I mean nothing too good), its multiplayer, and it works for mac, windows and linux.

  14. Never heard of it..Thanks mate...

  15. These look pretty good and for free.. I will start downloading some now!

  16. You do that dear, you do that...

  17. Cave story requires more recognition. It is a masterpiece of free gaming!!

    Also, I assume you are counting abandonware as free games(you've got hidden and dangerous on the list)- so there are a multitude of other games but if I had to pick 2- Ultima VII (best in the series) and Loom. 2 absolutely awesome games, check them out!!


  18. Kaikara,

    that's a second great comment in a row. Thanks.

    Oh, and you 're right about Cave Story, but H&D is not abandonware. It's been released as freeware (as every game on my lists). As for Loom 2, I might try it. Let's hope it respects the (breathtaking) original...

  19. N is a great game, kept me on for hours...

  20. And there are hundreds more of N levels....

  21. An admirable colection of gaming artifacts worth pound gold per bit.
    My downloading starts as of now.
    Thank you, good sir Gnome, for all my game related desires foufiled.
    Oh, Nice pohto manipulation as well.

    All in all. Good job! :D


  22. Thank you very much oh kind and noble Nikolas Sire... Always glad to be of service :)

    Oh, and the name does ring a bell too...

  23. just found your site and I'm in love..thanks for what you do!

  24. Thank you so much David. Means a lot mate, really. Thanks!

  25. Not counting free flash games (Desktop Defender for instance) you overlook one of the greatest games ever: Star Control 2 (PC/3D0). The title is under Accolade (and Parent Company) control so the original creators have given us "Ur Quan Masters" (

    This is a kicking top-down 1-on-1 space shooter in the vein of Escape Velocity (an open source game IIRC), with hundreds of planets to explore, dozens of species to interact with, and comes with a VS mode as well.

  26. Not counting free flash games (Desktop Defender for instance) you overlook one of the greatest games ever: Star Control 2 (PC/3D0). The title is under Accolade (and Parent Company) control so the original creators have given us "Ur Quan Masters" (

    This is a kicking top-down 1-on-1 space shooter in the vein of Escape Velocity (an open source game IIRC), with hundreds of planets to explore, dozens of species to interact with, and comes with a VS mode as well.

  27. I know dear anonymous, Ur Quan Masters is indeed an amazing game (and an update of the excellent 3D0 version of SC2) but I covered it in my previous list:)

  28. thanks for the free game downloads im downloading 8 of the games as im writing this, keep it up and i will be back and will be telling my mates, thanks again.

  29. Thank you very much for the kind words sleathdogg. Glad to have you around. :)

  30. Klucky McCockles1/2/12, 8:27 AM

    Ahh my good gnome. Did I ever tell you that I love you? Did I ever tell you that I dont like gnomes & that you are the only 1 I actually like? My respect is to you fine good sir!

  31. You are too kind Klucky. Thank you so much and let me wish you a very happy 2012!

  32. I love kkrieger, too bad it isn't being developed. :(
    Here's a working link to kkrieger:(from

  33. Just wanted to add some of my favorites:
    SUAVE: Fun Arcade 3D tank game now free(~5MB)!

    Wild Metal (Country?)(~100MB) A very good 3D Tank game developed by Rockstar but now available for free! It has a tricky control system that allows you to control the the left and the right track independently.

  34. Thanks a ton for them tips. I will be compiling a new list pretty soon :)