The best free games are on PC, and if you want to know what the best 50 are then you’ve come to the right place.
RPS Feature No free-to-play, just free.
Space Station 13 sits high on my list of Favourite Games I’ve Never Actually Played. When chums started talking about their space station adventures – mixing toxic drinks in the bar, turning people into clowns as a space-wizard, amputating crewmates’ bottoms to turn into autonomous cyborgs – I assumed they were talking about a pen & paper RPG. Nope. It’s a mystifyingly complex multiplayer sandbox, somewhat hindered by being built in a hacky way. I had hoped to jump onboard with its upcoming standalone remake, but development slowed over the years. With life imposing, the remakers have open-sourced their work so others can take over.
As I pressed the gleaming red button that launches the Kickstarter Katchup onto the internet, the sound of screaming klaxons and crunching gears echoed around my apartment. It was past midnight and the Publish-o-tron 5000’s precise machinery had triggered an automated warning, informing everybody in a four mile radius that one project in particular deserved to see the light of day. For those who may have missed it, here is Centration, a game in which multiple players must attempt to maintain a space station while catastrophes occur. Heavily inspired by Space Station 13, a game on which the project lead has worked, it’s a first-person survival game that hopes to combine comedy, chaos and cruelty.
Like rumbling, fume-farting modes of public transport, space station catastrophe simulators keep a man waiting for ages and then two arrive at the same time. I’ve never actually met anyone who admires Space Station 13’s tile-based terrorism and farce quite as much as I do, but I was pleased to hear that Dean Hall is a devotee. That makes sense. There’s a clear throughline from the emergent antics of SS 13’s improvised chaos to Day Z’s tension and distrust. Both games provide players with a tools and systems that allow for interactions both kind and cruel, and often lead to unexpected outcomes. They’re also both in the process of being remade – Day Z as a standalone, SS 13 in a new engine, with an improved interface.
The more time I spend with Space Station 13 the more impressed I am, but I’ll save that for a round-up post at a later date. For now, here’s another abstract update on my progress. If you missed it, Episode 1 can be found here. This is the adventures of Galactic Bartender Gengy Patel.
Barman’s log, stardate 40263.1. Dunno where to begin. I’m recording this from the station escape shuttle, and I’m sat beside the four other survivors of the blast. The bar’s been destroyed. I mean, technically the entire station’s been destroyed, but the bar was inside it. Today’s been a right pain in the arse.
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I’ve started investigating Space Station 13, a sci-fi multiplayer sandbox with the same utterly batshit more-is-more design as Dwarf Fortress. It uses Byond, and with that installed you can get SS13 here. The comprehensive Something Awful goon wiki can be read here and there’s a big map of the station here. The game lets you pick your job on the crew each game, but I’ve decided to shirk the responsibility of being captain, chief engineer, detective and so on to see what can be done as a humble barman. This, Episode 1, covers my first hour with the game on a sparsely populated server. This is the adventures of Galactic Bartender Gengy Patel.
Barman’s log, stardate 40125.8. Dunno where to begin. I guess I should be in the bar right now instead of recording this, but the power’s still down over there and I need to take a break. And find a gun. But let’s start by takin’ a break.
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