Thursday, April 11, 2013


Genre: Strategy, Simulation
System: Windows, Linux, Mac
# Players: 1 - 255
Filesize: 6MB

Game Overview

OpenTTD is an open-source remake of Transport Tycoon Deluxe. Players take on the roles of transportation companies, trying to earn money with busses, trains, and airplanes. Many cities are spread across the map, and players can build roads and create networks to earn the most cash. Cities will offer subsidies to encourage players to build what they need. The game is very deep, with many different possibilities. This will keep players interested for a long time. However, the game does have a rather steep learning curve, so encourage players to try a practice round before coming to the LAN party.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Best Free LAN Games of 2012

Top 10 LAN Games of the Year

2012 was a fun year for gaming, and I think this year will be fun too. Hopefully you all enjoyed a LAN party or two with your friends and have plans for another to kick off 2013! 

Early last year, I made it so that you, the readers, could review and rate the multiplayer games listed here. What games were your favorites? Which games are the greatest? I've gathered up all the votes from last year, and the results are in. The following are the ten best free LAN games, based on their rating and popularity.

10. Farm Hands

Starting our list is Farm Hands, the 2D farming simulator. This game seems to polarize players--you either love it or hate it, and the game's rating has plenty of both Fives and Zeros. Missing is the intense action of most other LAN games, but it makes up for that with its charm, depth, and a large number of hidden collectibles. 

If you download this game expecting the action of Call of Duty, you'll be disappointed. This is a more relaxing game, where good management is key. It's also quite a bit of fun, with much to do and find.

So if you're willing to try a different type of LAN game, give Farm Hands a shot. It's also one of the few cooperative multiplayer games, if you're in the mood to help your friends instead of destroy them.

9. Counter-Strike 2D

This game has been very popular since appearing on the list in September, no doubt attracting players with its very famous name. It's a remake of the quintessential shooter, but with a top-down perspective. Players familiar with its namesake will find that the game has much in common, including game modes, guns, and sound effects. 

But of course, the new view makes gameplay itself quite different, and many fans of the original find it's not quite what they expected. However, it's still an excellent game in its own right. If you enjoy this one, also try Bloodmasters--it's another top-down shooter.

8.  Enemy Territory

Although it will be celebrating its tenth birthday this year, the appeal of this WWII FPS still has not worn off. With a variety of classes and missions, tight gameplay, and the ability to "level up" stats and abilities, it would seem this game was ahead of its time. It's been one of the top free FPS games for nearly a decade. However, it's not the best choice for small LAN parties--the team-based missions play better with good number of players on each side.

7. MegaGlest

Just as no LAN party is complete without an RTS, this list has one as well--MegaGlest. With many of the same gameplay elements as other RTS games (a variety of units, structures, and tech trees), MegaGlest is set apart by its greatly varied factions. There are six to choose from, and each is different from the rest. The learning curve isn't too steep, either. Try this game if you feel like commanding the battlefield.

6. Teeworlds

This sidescrolling shooter may feature cartoony graphics with cute Kirby-like characters, but it's not lackng any of the fast-paced action you'd expect from a shooter. Learn to use the grappling hook like a pro and you'll be leaving your opponents in the dust. Beat your enemies to the mythical katana and rack up the kills! The game is easy to learn and fun to play, earning it a spot on this list. If you're a fan, take a look at Soldat, another sidescrolling shooter.

5. America's Army

It's no surprise to see the popular shooter from the U.S. Army on this list. A game that strives for realism, this war combat FPS features a variety of roles, guns, and vehicles. On each map, there are missions to complete. If you enjoy realistic combat, this is the game for you.

4. Grand Theft Auto 2

The second of the popular series, now given away for free by Rockstar, has proven to be an excellent LAN game. Multiple players duke it out in a city, with all of the killing, driving, and thievery you'd expect. Play to kill each other, or try to cause the most destruction. The multiplayer component also features multiple maps and game modes, and up to six players can join in on the fun. And of course the single player is good, too.

3. Team Fortress 2

This team-based FPS by Valve went free-to-play in the summer of 2011. As expected, it is a high-quality multiplayer shooter. With nine different classes, collectible guns and other items, and multiple game modes, TF2 is a modern classic. The fast-paced gameplay is sure to provide endless hours of fun at any LAN party, and it's no wonder that it's one of the best free games.

2. Build And Shoot

Formerly known as Ace of Spades, this free shooter looks a lot like Minecraft--but don't let that fool you. Under the blocky graphics is an excellent WWI FPS experience that no other game can provide. Players can both create and destroy blocks, changing the battlefield to suit their needs as they dig trenches, crawl through secret tunnels, build walls, and erect sniper nests. And although there are only three guns to choose from, the game is well-balanced and has plenty of depth. In this unique FPS experience, you can be sneaky, strategic, or run in with guns blazing. And there are plenty of user-made maps available, in addition to the randomly-generated ones. This easy-to-pickup game is worth trying.

And here it is, folks--the number 1 LAN game of the year! 

1. Trackmania Nations Forever

To top our list is the wildly fun racing game, Trackmania. This game is fast-paced with tight controls and a great physics engine, but where it really shines is in its tracks. Certainly, Trackmania is aptly named. With plenty of tracks included, and thousands of user-made tracks available online, the game never gets old. Novices and veterans alike will be able to find great challenges in this racing game. The game also includes a built-in track editor, so you can create your own and challenge your friends. 

Honorable Mentions

These games didn't earn quite enough votes to make the list, but they were very close to making the cut and are definitely worth checking out.

Soldat -- An excellent sidescrolling shooter with plenty of action and many different game modes.
Bontago -- A unique strategy game centered around building towers from blocks.
Sauerbraten -- A fast-paced shooter that features a multiplayer map editor.

Til Next Year

So that's it for the top games of 2012. Will these games reign again in 2013? Or will this year see a new batch of games on the rise? Make sure to rate and review your favorites, and don't forget to take a look at all the other free games on the list! I'll also continue to add new games, so be sure to follow.

The List in Short

Which free LAN games do you think should've earned a spot on this list? Share with a comment.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Bub's Brothers

Genre: Miscellaneous, Cooperative
System: Windows, Linux, Mac
# Players: 1 - 10
Filesize: 12MB

Game Overview

The Bub's Brothers is a LAN remake of the classic multiplayer game Bubble Bobble. Each player controls a dragon who can shoot bubbles. The goal of each level is simple: defeat all of the enemies by trapping them in bubbles and popping them. Defeated enemies release food and other prizes which an be eaten for points. The game can be played coopeartively, or you can compete for points. Up to ten dragons can join in on the fun, and setting up a LAN server is easy using the built-in web UI. Unfortunately, if you were hoping to play this game online, you likely won't be able to find any active servers.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Counter-Strike 2D

Genre: Shooter, Team-Based
System: Windows, Linux, Mac
# Players: 1 - 32
Filesize: 7MB

Game Overview

Counter-Strike 2D is a fan-made, top-down-perspective recreation of the famous LAN Party staple, Counter-Strike. The game features many of the same multiplayer game modes as the original, including Hostage Rescue, Bomb Defuse, and Assassination, and some new ones of its own. Fans of the original game will recognize many of the sound effects and weapons. The game also features a scripting system, allowing servers to run mods; bots for smaller LANs or single-player; and a map editor.

Those looking to play online will easily be able to find active servers, and the game has a fairly active community.


From what I've played so far, this seems like a solid game. Setting up a LAN server is easy using the built-in GUI, as is joining a game. The game itself is quite fun, although the sound effects can get quite annoying ("Fire in the Hole!").

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Farm Hands

Genre: Miscellaneous, Cooperative
System: Windows
# Players: 1 - 4
Filesize: 3.4MB
Watering my potatoes.

Game Overview

Farm Hands is a cooperative farming game. Players live on a farm and have to work together to earn money, with which they can buy new tools that allow them to explore new areas and perform new tasks. Players can farm (of course), fish, mine, and do other activities. Farm Hands includes a lot of easter eggs and special items to be discovered by the hard worker (many of them paying homage to Nintendo's classics). I've seen the game described as "Multiplayer Harvest Moon"--I've never played Harvest Moon, so I can't say for sure, but it seems an accurate description.

Also, since the game's original information thread seems to have disappeared, I'll have to tell you guys the basics. When you run the game, a simple menu comes up that lets you enter a name and pick a color, and gives the option of Server or Join. Select Server, and this creates a server and shows you a black status screen. To play, open up another instance of Farm Hands, and Join your own game ( is localhost, i.e. your own computer). Other players can connect by Joining to your IP address.

Your character can be controlled using the arrow keys. 'X' and 'C' are contextual action buttons, and 'Z' is used to run. In the top right you'll see what X and C will do if you press them at that time--for example, they may say "Take Tool" if you are standing next to one, or "Refill" if you are holding the watering can next to a water source.

At the top of the screen, you'll see an amount of money, shared by all players. You can spend money at the shop, which you'll find if you travel north. To earn money, you'll have to sell things. To do so, pick up the item you want to sell and bring it to the little doghouse-shaped structure next to the tool shed (in my screenshot, it's right below the blue 'X').

Also at the top of the screen is your stamina, which is needed to perform work. Each time you do something, a bit of stamina is lost. To restore stamina, you'll need to buy energy drinks at the shop (or, later in the game, make your own). If you ever run out of money and can't afford an energy drink, you can sell the mushrooms that are growing everywhere.

To get started, head north to the shop and buy some seeds (and likely an energy drink). Head into the tool shed and grab the hoe. Find a good spot in the farming area and till a spot until it turns into a square. Do this for each seed you want to plant (a bag from the shop contains 16 seeds). Then, head back to the tool shed and trade your hoe for your seeds and plant them in the freshly-tilled land. After planting, grab the watering can, fill it up at a watering hole, and water your seeds. Soon they will sprout, and you'll have to water them again. Once they are fully grown, they will yield whatever crop it was you planted, and you can sell them for a large profit!

That may sound like a lot of steps, and that's why it's important to work together!

Soon you'll have enough cash to buy some new tools. Be sure to explore the surrounding areas--there's a fishing hole to the east, and a mining area to the west (although this one takes some work to get to).

There's no goals built in to the game, just continued development. You can set your own goals, like "Try to earn $10000" or "Collect all the Spiritual Stones from Zelda."

Quick Review

Farms Hands is a fun multiplayer cooperative game. It's a good break from all the high-octane action games and FPSes you normally play at a LAN party. It's fun and interesting to manage your farm and try to earn money, and the varied tasks keeps the game interesting. However, it's not for everybody--if you're an action junkie, you may be bored; and for strategy nuts, there's no deep thinking involved. It's a calm and relaxing game ( a rarity indeed).

The game is enjoyable and well put-together, with many different things to find and collect.  However, it does have its flaws. For one, there's no way to save your game. Each time you restart the server, your farm is starting fresh. This can be rather disappointing if you had collected many things. Also, there are a few bugs--for example, if you try to connect to a non-existent server, the game does not handle that gracefully. Also, the area to be explored is rather small, and after a while you may get bored.

Overall, I found this game to be enjoyable, and I think it's a very unique in the world of LAN games. I think Farm Hands is a great game.

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Friday, July 6, 2012


Genre: Real-Time Strategy
System: Windows. Linux, Mac
# Players: 1 - 4
Filesize: 179MB

Game Overview

MegaGlest is a free and open source 3D RTS, based on the popular Glest (which is a free LAN game in its own right). In the game, players can pick from one of six factions, such as Magic or Tech, and battle it out on a variety of maps. The game features many different units and structures, and there are also a number of mods available. The game also has an active online community.

MegaGlest Homepage
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Little Fighter 2

Genre: Fighting
System: Windows
# Players: 1 - 8 (But only two networked computers; be sure to bring a controller if you plan on playing with more people)
Filesize: 30MB

Game Overview

Little Fighter 2 is a 2D fighting game that features both cooperative and competitive gameplay. In Versus mode, players duke it out in the arena in a way similar to many other fighting games. The game also features "Stage Mode", which plays more like a beat'em up than a fighting game and allows players to work together to defeat computer opponents. The game also features a sizable cast of characters, and each one has a unique set of special moves that keeps gameplay interesting.

I've only had one opportunity so far to play Little Fighter 2 with another person, but from that experience, I can say that this is definitely a fun game. The only real drawback is that the number of computers that can be connected for LAN play is only two, so multiple players will need to share a machine at a LAN party.

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