Sunday, July 15, 2007

PC: A Few Fun and Free Games That I Enjoy

Are you looking for a game to play but don’t have the money for it? Are you tired of the current games you have? Do mini-games bore you? Then read my selection of free PC games that I play and love.

NetStorm: Islands at War

NetStorm was originally developed by the now defunct Titanic Entertainment and published by Activision. It was released around the same time as Microsoft’s Age of Empires and was poorly marketed by Activision, leading to poor sales of the game. Not only that, but there was a flaw in the demo that was released in 1997 that allowed users to convert to the full game. Titanic Entertainment seemingly dropped out of existence and Activision slowly abandoned the game.

Fans of the game found an unsupported in-built editor that can be used to create custom campaigns and fan-made content. After Activision fully abandoned the game in 2002, fans created unofficial servers to keep online multiplayer functioning. Fans also created badly needed unofficial patches to fix the multitudes of bugs and errors in the game. These fans then formed an unofficial non-profit organization dedicated to keeping NetStorm alive known as “Ticonderoga Entertainment”.

NetStorm is a simple yet VERY innovative game for its time. It is a real-time strategy game but with very few moving units. The game takes place on a floating realm known as Nimbus where the three ‘Furies’ of Wind, Water and Thunder fight an everlasting war.

Each player starts out with a priest that represents an element, be it Thunder, Water or Wind. All three elements have access to a 4th ‘neutral’ element known as Sun.

Resources are in the form of ‘Storm Crystals’ gathered from ‘Storm Geysers’. You construct transport units (which are the only moving units in the game) that are used to gather Storm Crystals. Transport units are also used to capture the enemy priest.

You can build an infinite amount of bridges to connect to other floating islands and floating geysers, you can also build on the edges of bridges, allowing for the advancement of your military on the enemy islands.

The objective of the game is to capture and sacrifice the enemy priest(s). Doing so will give you access to more powerful units and the sacrificed priest’s knowledge, which is basically the use of units of his element in future battles. If your priest dies then you lose.

Offensive and defensive units are static and built on the edges of bridges or on your controlled island(s). They have a set range, be it circular or a direct line. Once you reduce the enemy priest’s health to zero, he will be immobilized, allowing a transport unit to pick him up and sacrifice him on an altar.

The online community is very strong with plenty of people online and many official tournaments and ladders along with clans. NetStorm features some addicting gameplay and a very innovative and unique way of playing. An expansion being created by the fans is under development.

You can download it free here:

America’s Army: Special Forces

The U.S Army developed this online tactical first-person shooter for free (at least for us overseas freeloaders, seeing that the game was made using the American public’s taxes =) ). It is by far one of my most favorite games, where I have recorded a whopping 1000 hours on.

America’s Army is probably one of the most realistic FPSes in terms of gameplay where teamwork is required to win. America’s Army is constantly updated and patched with their newest release being 2.8.1 and the inclusion of a mission editor, allowing for user created maps.

In America’s Army, you have to go through a very realistic and accurate presentation of army training, where you attend a shooting range, obstacle coarse, parachute training, advanced marksmanship training and more. Once you have completed your training, you may gain qualification for certain maps, roles and weapons.

Maps are played online and usually reflect real-life scenarios and locations. You can play in urban areas, open fields, desert plains, village ruins, forests and more. Maps are fought between two teams, both of which are US Army but one appears to be a group of Russian terrorists to the other. There are also “co-op” maps where you and your friends battle hordes of AI enemy soldiers and complete objectives.

America’s Army is not for those who prefer run-n-gun type FPS gameplay and can become slightly tedious for those too impatient to be cautious ingame.

You can download this fun piece of army propaganda at:


Nexuiz is a free run-n-gun FPS developed and published by Alien Trap. It is relatively new but boasts a large and active community. Nexuiz is based on the modified DarkPlaces Quake engine, which allows most Quake modifications to work with Nexuiz.

Nexuiz has a large variety of weapons and maps along with many mods that take ideas from Id Software’s Doom and Quake series and Epic’s Unreal Tournament series.

Nexuiz is a very PC friendly game on which GeForce 2 cards and old Pentiums could work on, whilst at the same time offering many eye-candy features found in newer games, such as high-dynamic rendering, bloom and coronas, shaders and more.

Nexuiz is a highly addictive game and worthy of being on your hard-drive.

You can download it at:

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