Gaming can be an expensive hobby, and not everyone can just drop a pay check on the latest consoles or afford the videogame library of their dreams. Though, there are plenty of worthwhile games out there that will not burn a whole in your wallet let alone cost a dime! Here are a handful that I have really enjoyed.
If you are a fan of old tycoon games, especially Transport Tycoon, or city simulation, OpenTTD is a great game to check out. It has been continually updated for years and even encourages modding.
2. Dwarf Fortress
Text games may not be worth more than a glance to younger generations, but if you can endure passed the lack of graphics (there are mods and graphic sets to make the game more visually appealing) and a very steep learning curve, you will find a very rewarding game. This game has you ordering around a small band of dwarves who seek to establish a settlement at you predetermined location. A good balance of “micro vs macro” management will have you struggling to keep a bustling dwarven populace happy and playing an economist. Once you think you finally have a handle on everything, you will be arming your dwarves to protect their home from hordes of goblins!
3. Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead
Bringing up Dwarf Fortress reminded me to include just one more text game. C:DDA is a zombie survival game where a character you design is dropped into a post-apocalyptic world and you do your best to last as long as possible. There are a wide variety of interesting strategies you can design to help you fight or flee. Personally, I loved luring a slow line of zombies around while I pelt their heads with rocks.
4. Unlok’s Wayward
Wayward is a fun little survival game which has you dealing more with coming to terms with winding up on a deserted island than fighting waves of zombies. One thing to note is that you do not have to download anything if you do not wish too, it is completely playable in your browser. I enjoyed the amount of crafting in the game. It was really fun to forage about, desperately trying to fit “puzzle pieces” together to come up with the next great thing. If you find it just as entertaining as I have, be sure to check it out of Steam’s Greenlight and help their team progress the game.
5. Battle for Wesnoth
If you miss old, fantasy strategies, look no further. There are tons of campaigns and the community is always looking for new ways to improve it. There are even guides to help you customize it so you can make your own maps or even your own race.
Fans of Sid Meier’s Civilization, particularly Civilization 2, will be able to jump right into this game. It is everything you loved about it with more customization, and most of all, free!
I hope you found something here that you can really get into. If you are looking for another list, or perhaps a particular genre of game, feel free to drop me a line. I may know just the game you are looking for, or be eager to put together another list for you to browse.