Though owning a high-end gaming PC is certainly an enjoyable way to play great games, these days it's not entirely necessary. Whether you're on Windows, OS X, Linux, or something else you can still enjoy some fantastic online gaming experiences straight from your browser.
Not requiring downloads or purchase, these games are a convenient and low-cost way to pass a few hours.
From basic text-based adventures to Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) that boast impressive 3D graphics, there's a wide variety to choose from.
The only thing likely to give you pause (other than the lack of an internet connection) is potential compatibility issues. For example, Chrome (that ever popular browser option and the brain behind many a Chromebook) doesn't support the 3D game engine Unity while Firefox, Opera and Safari do.
That said, more often than not the same game that requires Unity comparability will be available as a separate app in the Chrome Web Store so if you aren't willing to break your Chrome Commitment, your woes will be minimal.
Gabe Carey also contributed to this article
- Playing on a Mac? Also check out the best Mac games
It's not everyone that's a fan of golf as a sport, but we think we can safely say there's a place in everyone's heart for golf of the more crazy variety.
Wonderputt is a game that'll give you access to the kind of minigolf courses you can only dream about with tiny ski slopes, UFOs, lily pads and herds of sheep who mow the grass to reveal a new green for you to play on.
The game has a kind of puzzle box design so although you can see the entire course from the start of the game, after you play each hole it morphs and shifts to become slightly different and reveal new sections. It instills a sense of wonder, taking something that's already fun in real-life and adding an adorable inventive twist you'll only find in a game world.
If Frank Zappa made video games, he would've made this. Created by Berkeley developer Jim Crawford it recalls the surreal humor of the Jeff Minter and Ron Gilbert.
We don't want to go too far into what Frog Fractions involves because it's at its best when you go in with zero idea of what's about to happen. Suffice it to say that on the surface it appears to be a silly and forgettable game but when you dive deeper, it has so much more to offer in the most silly and hilarious way possible.
Make sure you have the sound turned up to get the whole story.
Frog Fractions ended up being so popular, a sequel was created and released (though for a cost) on Steam. It's called Glittermitten Grove and you can find it here.
Kanye West has caught a lot of flack over the years for his ridiculous antics and ostensibly skyrocketing confidence. While you may even be familiar with his sometimes incomprehensible stream of tweets, it's unlikely you've seen The Stanley Parable developer Galactic Café's take on the famed hip-hop artist's social media presence.
Life in the West, though barely a game, will have you grinning from ear to ear upon realizing that not only are your keyboarding skills effectively useless, but typing out tweets as, well, undeniably Kanye as "Man… whatever happened to my antique fish tank?" results in Final Fantasy combat music that'll leave you reaching a controller.
Bomberman on the original PlayStation was one of the best crafted and most addictive multiplayer games ever created. Game of Bombs seeks to emulate this virtual crack. And to get the multiplayer experience you'll no longer need to fish around a drawer of knotted cables for a MultiTap – just go to their website and play a gigantic version of Bomberman online with players from around the globe. The joys of the modern world!
This text-based online multiplayer zombie game is full of little in-jokes. Upon starting up you're greeted with the cheery message "Be positive! You're going to die. Every time."
In the top right is actual server time and when that hits 23:00 the zombies will come out to play. During the daylight hours, you and the other players must work together to build defenses for the following night reminiscent of Minecraft. This is a game that's surprisingly involving and you'll frequently have to remind yourself that it's not really impacting your life but you'll definitely become invested in the online community.
If you haven't played any of Czech developer Amanita Design's games then you are missing out on some of the quirkiest, funny and elaborate point-and-click puzzlers of modern times.
The third game in this space-aged series is currently in development but you can play the one that started it all back in 2003 completely free. Chapter One of Samorost 2 is also online. And be sure to check out their other games Machinarium, Shy Dwarf, and Botanicula.
Be prepared to invest a lot of time into this one. And this isn’t your average top-down tower defence game, this looks more like Zelda crossed with Crash Bandicoot. Collect supplies, build bases and explore dungeons, you know the score. It can be installed as an app from the Chrome Web Store or played online in any browser using HTML5.
Described by the developers as 'The Ultimate Tribute To The NES' many of the jokes will probably only ring true if you are of a certain age. But that's not to say this isn't for everyone – if you appreciate a good toilet joke you have a place here.
Written by the team behind comedic website I-Mockery, it stars Abobo who is actually a standard recurring mid-boss in classic 80s beat-em-up Double Dragon. His son is kidnapped and he must battle his way through various NES-themed levels to rescue him. It's all done with warm affection to Mario, Zelda, Contra and Mega Man.
Like tanks? Like deathmatches? Then Tanki might well be the browser game for you. Graphically it's like an upgraded Quake, with several Deathmatch arenas, some snowy, others full of luscious green plants. The aim, in all however is the same: blow up as many tanks as you can. There are tons of turret upgrades, leave enemies cold with the freeze gun or pummel them repeatedly with the dual shot and rail gun.
Controlling the tank is a little fiddly but ultimately rewarding. The turret moves separately from the base so it's possible to move one way while shooting in a completely different direction like an actual tank can. There are several games modes including Team Deathmatch and Capture The Flag. Graphically it's impressive and looks close to a high resolution version of a PS2 or Dreamcast game.
A lot of popular Steam games and console titles owe their popularity to sites like Miniclip and Newgrounds, hosts to countless free-to-play titles from small studios with marginal publishing budgets.
Few of these success stories ring as true as Superhot, a first-person shooter developed in Unity where time comes to a standstill when you do, giving you plenty of time to form coherent strategies. In a sense, Superhot blends elements of both popular FPS games with turn-based strategy mechanics for a genuinely unique and fun browser-based experience.
Browsing the web isn’t the only thing that’s improved with the intervention of Google Chrome; web-based games have gotten better as well. Whether you’re on a Mac, a PC or even a Chromebook, Unity-based Rad Soldiers will run smoothly in a normal browser window.
The turn-based shooter game starts off as expected. You choose a character avatar who is then accompanied by a soldier with a whimsical unsoldier-like name, such as Hipster Dave. Once you’ve gotten enough practice, you can even play online with friends. Rad Soldiers will then pit you up against your buddy in a shooter that may be unusually slow, but it’s also incredibly smart.
Like Superhot, Spelunky has humble beginnings. Originally developed by Derek Yu as freeware and remade for the Xbox 360 in July 2012, the game was ported to HTML 5 by Darius Kazemi (and made available as a Chrome app) shortly after. Because it was created in GameMaker, Spelunky may not be visually impressive, but its randomly generated environments and brutal permadeath system qualify it as a modern classic.
The goal of the 2D platformer is to collect as much loot as possible in a series of underground tunnels. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Populated by obstacles like traps and enemies of various species, Spelunky's world is as challenging as it is addictive.
Luckily, by default, you're equipped with a whip and your own two feet with which you can besiege enemies. And, if that's not enough, you can always be resourceful and use surrounding objects as weapons. Good luck.
A free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Runescape might not look like much, but it's actually a huge deal. Documented by the Guinness World Records, Runescape is considered the world's most popular free MMORPG, with over 200 million registered players, as well as the most frequently updated game.
Like many MMOs, the latest version of Runescape – namely Runescape 3 – takes place in a medieval setting, complete with dragons, queens, goblins and even chickens. It's not exactly an example of fine art in terms of its visuals, but for a game that's been around for over 15 years why would it be?
As long as you're equipped with some recent edition of Java, you should be set to start fighting, trading and even playing mini-games with other players in the world of Gielinor. Be careful, though, as Runescape is widely known for being highly addictive.
If you recently played the new Doom game and are wondering where developer id Software got its start, look no further than Wolfenstein 3D. Though it wasn't the first title to come from superstar duo John Carmack and John Romero, Wolfenstein 3D played an important role in heavily inspiring the first-person shooter genre.
In fact, although it's a far cry from, well, Far Cry, Wolfenstein 3D is often considered the first true FPS by purists. Kill Nazis and see how gaming has improved since 1994 in this important snippet of history. Experience Wolfenstein 3D for yourself completely free of charge, courtesy of the Internet Archive.
There are few games as close to their source material as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Created by the writer of the original novel, Douglas Adams, in conjunction with Infocom's Steve Meretsky, the game is more of a historical relic than a piece of software which stands the test of time.
A text-based adventure, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was originally released in 1984 for Apple II, MS-DOS and Commodore 64, among other platforms. Since it's only vaguely based on parts of the book, you're sure to have a unique experience that Douglas Adams so lovingly tailored to us so many years ago.
On the surface, Spaceplan is yet another repetitive clicking game designed as a means to distract you from the tasks at large. But dust off that geometrical cover and you'll realize there's something really special about this game.
If you're not one for games that take themselves too seriously, Spaceplan is for you. In fact, you spend most of your time fixing a ship using an interface called the "Thing Maker," which, as the name suggests, lets you build things to repair your ship and navigate through space. Once you get a few "things" up and running, the core game mechanic works on its own.
You'll spend most of your time waiting as you do other stuff (like your job, for example) as you accumulate watts used to power your things. It's the perfect game to keep open in another tab to poke at for a few seconds when your boss is looking the other way. The witty dialog is merely a bonus.
The mainline Dragon Age franchise has drawn in a lot of fans who just can't get enough and this is a browser game that may appeal to them. There are many things to love about the series but the dialogue, characters and lore are up high on the list of most and this game takes the story even further.
Created by Failbetter Games in partnership with Bioware, The Last Court is a tesxt-based Dragon Age adventure that fills the gap between Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition.
The game revolves around a disgraced Orlesian town, its ruler, and their quest to get back into the good graces of the Orlesian royals.
You can choose what kind of person the ruler is (a hunter or scholar) and this choice will determine how you approach your play. You'll have to raise your towns levels of Dignity, Freedom and Prosperity while fending off internal revolution and outside invaders.
Gameplay is card-based where cards instigate events and action points are collected and spent.
The game is free-to-play and although you can spend real money on action points, they refresh reasonably frequently and it never really feels necessary to purchase them. It's a slow-building but enjoyable game and although it's not essential to the Dragon Age universe, it works with it well.