Open-source and some online games are free to download and play – there’s no denying some can be incredibly addictive! So if you’re looking for a challenging new game to play but don’t have the cash to spend on the latest releases that cost money, it is well worth checking out our guide to the best open source games that are authorized or licensed for free distribution. From first person shooters to platformers, there’s something here for everyone and most can be downloaded (usually much faster) using a file sharing program such as Vuze  or direct from the game’s website.

1. Alien Arena

At number one is a game designed for all those addicted to first-person shooters. Alien Arena is slick, fast and exciting, sort of like a hybrid of Quake III and Unreal Tournament. The single player campaign is fun and frantic in itself but it’s the multiplayer where you’ll really become hopelessly hooked. With 11 player characters, 9 weapons and over 30 maps, there are plenty of game modes to choose from including capture the flag and team deathmatch.

2. Secret Maryo Chronicles

This may well be inspired by a classic game we all know and love, but this two-dimensional platformer is a fresh take on Super Mario. You can even edit the game yourself – just hit F8 and you can insert a graphic or change your start position. It’s a great game for younger players and you’ll find a number of cool powerups and secrets waiting to be uncovered.

3. FreeCiv

Prepare to be hooked and kiss sleep and your social life goodbye. FreeCiv is a remake which includes FreeCiv, Civilization 1 and Civilization 2 and you can create your own tilesets, nationsets and so forth. The game supports internet/LAN play and up to 30 players and you can even download an optional scenario/map editor called CivWorld!

4. Valyria Tear

If you’re looking for a JPRG to play then look no further – Valyria Tear is free, has a cast of great characters and is inspired by classic console RPG’s; what more could you want? With entertaining story and character development, puzzles and colourful maps, it’s an engaging game with a large online fan base. If you’re looking for more RPGs a good place to start is Reddit’s guide to open-source games for every type of gamer – there’s sure to be something there to tempt you!

5. Speed Dreams

The selection of free racing games out there can be rather limited, but Speed Dreams is a popular choice, and it’s easy to see why. The game is regularly updated and has a loyal fan base so there are sure to be more updates to come over the next few years – and it looks pretty good too!

6. Unknown Horizons

Open-source strategy games are one of the most popular game genres and you’ll find hundreds to choose from; the problem is picking a good one! Keeping up to date with the latest news and releases in the world of open-source gaming is a good place to start, and websites such as Free Gamer are updated regularly with new releases and information. Unknown Horizons is a 2D realtime strategy simulation game where you’ll get the chance to expand your tiny settlement into a wealthy colony. It’s all about city building and economy, so if you’ve always wanted the opportunity to grow your own city, you’ll love Unknown Horizons.

7. Pingus

If you’re a fan of the original Lemmings game, you’ll love Pingus, which is a clone of the game. It’s essentially a puzzle game and runs with a variety of operating systems including Windows and Linux. You can view screenshots of the game online before you decide to download, and it provides hours of fun with a few ideas that are unique to the game itself and can’t be found in the original Lemmings game. If you’re looking for a puzzler that will keep you busy, Pingus is a great choice.

Hunting for open-source games can become a full-time hobby in itself and there are plenty of sites out there where you can find lists of games, whatever genre you’re into. Sharing the games you have downloaded on file sharing sites is a great idea, and once you’ve downloaded your game, don’t forget to seed it so that other gamers can enjoy it too – this is what keeps the file sharing community going! You should always ensure you use a reputable file sharing site or program (like Vuze), as there are plenty out there which will install added ‘extras’ onto your system that you may not want!

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