How to Play Free Games Online

By Staff WriterLast Updated Sep 5, 2020 12:37:39 AM ET
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Whether you’re a kid looking for a fun afternoon, a parent hoping to distract their children or a desperately procrastinating college student, online games have something for everyone, and they don’t have to cost you a penny. From flashy arcade games to complex strategy games to immersive role-playing games (RPGs), the type and number of free games on the internet is nearly limitless.

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If you’re new to online games, you may be at a loss as to where to start — after all, there’s no shortage of options to choose from. With these tips in mind, however, you can find games that are sure to provide you with a good time.

Stow Your Credit Card and Personal Info

Before you do anything, you should know that you really don’t ever have to spend money on a website to play free games. Although some online gaming websites, such as Pogo, offer premium memberships with access to more games and extra features, they generally provide free games to play as well. And if a website asks for your credit card while promising not to charge it, get out of there — the website is almost certainly a scam to get your credit card info.

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It’s more common for websites to ask for your email address to create a player profile. This is generally safe and may even unlock additional features on the site, but it’s also rarely necessary to play games. If you don’t feel comfortable giving out your information, or if a website seems sketchy and doesn’t turn up many search results, move on.

Avoid Downloading Unknown Files

The other thing you should be wary of when looking for free games is any site that requires you to download software to play games. While there are plenty of quality and trustworthy games you can download from places like Steam, the kind of game you play on your browser generally shouldn’t require any program to run other than Adobe Flash Player or Java.

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Even then, you should only download those programs from their manufacturer’s pages. When in doubt, search the name of the program separately rather than trusting a link to take you to the real site.

Be Mindful of Child Safety

While online games are a lot of fun, they’re not always a completely safe choice for children — even older ones. Some free gaming sites make it possible for users to create accounts so that players can chat and interact with other players. Although this is a nice feature for adult gamers, it does mean that children could potentially be talking to literally anyone over the internet.

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Parents should inform their children never to give out personal information online, especially anything that could potentially identify them. Meanwhile, children should understand that people on the internet aren’t always who they say they are. If a website with an online chat feature is deemed too risky for a child, they should instead play on a site like ABCya that is specifically designed to provide children with a safe environment. Either way, adult supervision for younger children is generally the best option.

Start Playing

With all of that out of the way, the only thing left to do is start playing. Many large, trusted organizations that you’re likely already familiar with offer games for all ages. Children might enjoy the mayhem on Cartoon Network’s gaming page or the more educational fare from PBS. Meanwhile, Adult Swim has games that are more appropriate for mature audiences, while the AARP even has a website that proves online gaming really is for all ages. Other major (and trusted) online gaming sites that you may not have heard of include Addicting Games, Armor Games, Kongregate and many more.

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