Who needs an expensive gaming console when you have a lightning-fast home internet connection? Power up your fibre and kill some time with these epic (and entirely free) online games.
Your Home Fibre is good for more than just hour-long Teams meetings with your work-from-home colleagues. It's also a game-changer when it comes to streaming entertainment, including music, movies and video games.
Don't be put off by the hefty price tags on console games; there are plenty of online gaming options that don't have to cost you a cent. And thanks to that super-fast fibre line, the PC/laptop experience is just as good as any console.
Before we get into the next-level modern-day stuff, try some proper classics like the OG Prince of Persia, with its notoriously impossible to beat final boss, Sid Meier's Civilization, Commander Keen 4 or Wolfenstein 3D. If you're of a certain age, you'll be nodding nostalgically at that list, and possibly wondering why we left out Doom II (we didn't; it's here).
Looking for an immersive adventure game with classic storytelling? Look no further than 1986's epic King's Quest III, lovingly recreated a couple of years ago by AGD Interactive. Dig a bit deeper and you'll find remakes of other Sierra classics like King's Quest I and Quest for Glory II.
If you weren't a kid in the 1990s, or you don't really care what your parents did on their PCs in the crazy days before Windows 95, then you'll probably want to move swiftly along.
You're not limited to retro games for your free PC gaming kicks. Looking for a racing game? Try Forza Street, which you can pick up for free in the Windows app store. It links to your Xbox Live account (if you have one), and while the gameplay is fairly basic (it won't take you long to master the braking and accelerating), the progression through circuits and difficulties will keep you entertained for ages. The choice of cars, meanwhile, will have you thinking of your real-life options.
Speaking of which, Rocket League will have you checking your virtual car insurance options. This one, given away gratis by Epic Games since September 2020, is an infinitely playable arcade-style hybrid of car racing and soccer that has to be seen to be believed.
Epic Games, of course, are most famous for one of the greatest free-to-play games of the modern era: Fortnite. Choose from Creative, Save the World or (our choice) Battle Royale modes, and combine Minecraft-style building skills with Call of Duty-style first-person shooting. You can spend money on it, but you don't have to: work hard enough and you'll earn enough V-Bucks (the in-game currency) to pay for rad new skins and other mods.
Epic Games regularly gives games away for free – get your timing right, and you could pick up games like NBA 2K21, Borderlands 2, Grand Theft Auto V and Paladins for your PC, all without paying a cent. Paladins is an especially good choice. Like Fortnite, it's colourful and fun, making it a PG13 (or all-ages) online hero shooter that you don't have to take too seriously.
For something grittier, try the 16-rated Modern Combat 5, which is sitting for free in the Windows app store waiting to be downloaded. This first-person shooter (FPS) is split into two modes: Deathmatch and Campaign, with solid controls and pretty decent graphics. Again, it's free to play. Unbelievable.
If you have time on your hands, get stuck into Arc Games' epic Neverwinter. This free-to-play MMORPG (that's massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, in case you were wondering) lets you play as one of eight Dungeons & Dragons character classes, working with friends in groups of up to five player characters. Geeky? Yes. Free? Absolutely.
Where Neverwinter cranks up the fantasy elements, PlanetSide 2 goes all out on sci-fi. Another free-to-play MMORPG, PlanetSide 2's thoroughly deserved popularity is borne out by the fact that it holds the world record for the biggest FPS battle, with 1,158 slugging it out in a single, epic battle.
Finally, if you're looking for real value from your fibre internet connection, download DC Universe Online. More immersive, more playable and way more fun than many games that cost a lot more, this free-to-play MMORPG is set in the DC Comics universe. Y'know, the one with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman... You'll love the superheroes and the gameplay, but what you'll love even more is that you can play as a hero or villain, and you get to design your character's look.
It's all for free. All you'll have to pay for is the high-speed internet connection. Your heroic Hippo has you covered there, though. Head over to our interactive, geolocated Home Fibre Internet comparison tool and compare Home Fibre, DSL, satellite and LTE options side by side. For free, of course.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.