Ah, the humble web browser. Once considered simply a way to explore basic text-based websites (with the occasional image or moving element if you were lucky), you can now access so many different games and ways to have fun from apps like Chrome and Edge that they’ve effectively established themselves as separate gaming platforms.
There are many games you can play directly from your browser; so much so, in fact, that it can often feel like you’re spoiled for choice! Here are the 10 best browser games we think you should check out in 2023.
If you’ve never heard of iGaming, it essentially refers to the online betting industry, in which you can place real cash (or otherwise, if you’re so inclined) on games like roulette and poker. You can think of it as the online equivalent of a brick-and-mortar casino, and you can have lots of fun on these sites if you’re safe and clever. Out there on the web, you’ll find a wide range of games at crypto gambling sites if you prefer to use Bitcoin or other decentralised currencies, so what are you waiting for?
This is another catch-all for lots of different services, but there are several excellent cloud gaming platforms out there that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your browser. Whether it’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate’s cloud gaming offerings or GeForce Now’s wide range of games, you can fire these titles up without needing dedicated top-of-the-range hardware to run them, making them ideal even for less powerful machines.
Frankly, it’s a wonder that Pokémon Showdown hasn’t been shut down. Nintendo is famous for its cease-and-desist-happy approach to fan games and endeavours, but Pokémon Showdown, a site that lets you simulate Pokémon battles with a variety of different teams and builds, is still running today. If you love Pokémon, then you owe it to yourself to give this a look, and perhaps to take on some serious competitors online.
Want to see what one of the world’s biggest games looked like way back when? Then you need to check out Minecraft Classic, an old-school version of the original Minecraft released to mark the game’s tenth anniversary a couple of years ago. As you’d imagine, Minecraft Classic is pretty basic when compared to the current game, but that simplicity gives it a charm that makes it relentlessly addictive, just as it was back then.
Before there was Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, there was QWOP, one of the most notorious games on the internet. Named for its eponymous control scheme, QWOP has you controlling an athlete as they attempt to make it over the finish line, with one caveat: each key controls part of one of the athlete’s two legs. What follows is an exercise in pure frustration, but also in pure catharsis when you finally manage to achieve some degree of movement.
There’s never been a better time to go check out Neopets, the classic early-2000s virtual pet game that kickstarted a generation of nostalgic fans. Recently, it was announced that Neopets would undergo a major overhaul thanks to new management, so if you’ve never checked it out before – or if you’re a fan looking to climb your way back onto the bandwagon – then now’s a good time to do so.
The basic concept of Agar.io is simplicity itself: you are a blob, and you’re trying not to get swallowed by another blob while also looking for smaller blobs to eat. If you’ve played Will Wright’s maligned 2008 experiment Spore, then you’ll recognise this setup from that game’s cell stage. Despite the basic nature of Agar.io’s gameplay, it’s somehow very easy to spend hours upon hours playing it, as you’ll attest if you try out the browser version.
If you love games like Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, then you should definitely check out Friday Night Funkin’, which calls back to the classic Newgrounds era of Flash-style web games. With an excellent soundtrack and simple yet deceptively tricky gameplay, Friday Night Funkin’ should prove a great way to occupy your time if you’re of a musical bent. What’s more, there are tons of great mods and custom songs out there to try, too.
The original Kingdom of Loathing was released all the way back in 2003 as a sort of semi-parodic online RPG, and it’s still going strong today thanks to a dedicated community and a devoted set of developers. The visuals and presentation are pretty simplistic, but much like Minecraft Classic, this just gives Kingdom of Loathing a charm that makes it stand out against legions of visually impressive but mechanically samey AAA offerings.
You knew we’d be including this game on the list, right? If you’ve ever spent any amount of time offline and waiting for your internet connection to come back and you’re a Google Chrome user, then you’ve almost certainly enjoyed the simple pleasures of the browser’s built-in dinosaur game. It’s an endless runner in which you control a dinosaur and must dodge obstacles, and that’s really all you’re doing, but somehow, it’s possible to waste hours making sure that little dino achieves its dreams.