Are free first person shooters the way of the future?

As the video game industry continues making record profits, we’ve started noticing some companies bucking the $50 a title trend. Several big name companies have begun making free first person shooters that only require a download to get you fragging noobs and saving the free world. Nexon (the makers of Maple Story) has seen some great success with their free shooter Combat Arms (more information here), and War Rock has been going strong for almost 2 years now. These games typically make use of the razor blade theory – give the razors away for free, and sell the razor blades. In the case of Combat Arms, the game itself is free, along with weapons, but you’ll have to pony up some cash if you want the latest beret, or some stylish sunglasses.

Gamers are getting ready for two of the largest free games to date to be released. The first is a cartoon shooter by the same people that made the Battlefield series named Battlefield Heroes, and the second is a remake of the old school game Quake, named Quake Live. While Battlefield Heroes hopes to introduce new game play, emphasizing fun and low computer system requirements, it will still rely on a traditional client download. In Quake Live, developer ID has decided to go a different route – recreating the original Quake game (which has been heavily modded over the years) into a browser based – lightweight shooter. More information about Quake Live can be found in the Quake Live fan forum, and look here for the Battlefield Heroes fan forum.

Photo by Ayton.


I checked out a pretty cool game called Tremulous. Its a free and open source, team-based first person shooter. The game features two teams, humans and aliens, and the aim is to build and protect a base. I am not sure I quite got the hang of it, I managed to shoot and kill Jack, who happened to be on my team….oops.

Tremulous is licensed under the GPL, although it includes code from other projects that was released under other GPL-compatible licenses. Most of the game media is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

The release of the game as free and open source software has meant that programmers can modify the game and game engine. This has meant that a growing number of players are releasing patches for the game in order to remove bugs, add features to the game or modify the game play itself.

Its well worth a look. I am going to need a bit more practice I think.

Frozen Bubble v2.0

Frozen Bubble Homepage

Colorful 3D rendered penguin animations, 100 levels of 1p game, hours and hours of 2p game, nights and nights of 2p/3p/4p/5p game over LAN or Internet, a level-editor, 3 professional quality digital soundtracks, 15 stereo sound effects, 8 unique graphical transition effects, 8 unique logo eye-candies.

More than ever, you really need this game.

It was released a couple of days ago so also check out Pengupop.

Finally a networked multiplayer game in the vein of the puzzle classic Bust a Move/Puzzle Bobble! Beat your friends in this addictive game, or play against a random opponent! Remember to sign up to participate in the score system.


Its available on GNU/Linux MacOS X and windows. I played a few games online, at the end of each round you get to chat with your opponent. All the people I met were Spanish though they all spoke English as well. I learned some Spanish from this Wikibook and a friend who is studying Spanish at Uni so hola,  como estas ? La estudiante es tan inteligente como el profesor. If you let your kids play this game maybe think about introducing the Spanish book.

Games that Empower

Happy PLayer I put together a project called Games that empower.

Its a collection of Free, Libre and Open source games and a simple way for people to download them.

There’s been a lot of hype about the value of game based learning in education lately so I hope this project is useful to some of them. Recently a few of the teachers I’ve met seem to focus on what they call social justice and the issue of free as in gratis so perhaps this project can be helpful to people struggling financially as well. They can avoid spyware, adware, malware and violating copyright by using these games.

Feel free to spread it around, I know if I had more time for computer games I would enjoy stumbling across this project.

UPDATE: The list is over 3 years old now so the download links aren’t likely to work, visit the games website to download them.