I was hunting around for free games on Steam in the hope of finding some that my chums and I could all play together. Oddly enough, there isn't any kind of section on Steam that allows you to find them easily. Annoyingly, I got about halfway through making this list before finding one written by Ivan Doomer (which was way better).
With each game, the "storefront" link will open the Steam store page in your browser. If you have Steam running, clicking the "install" link will open it up and set the install going. Some games on this list don't have a storefront page because they're super secret black helicopter shit and you're a leet hackxor just for looking at them.
Alien Swarm: install - storefront
Alien Swarm is basically a multiplayer top-down shooter. You, and up to three of your friends, move through a spaceship killing off the alien life that's come to visit harm upon you. There are different classes and you can choose and customise your weapons. Hackers can get through locked doors and computer systems, heavies carry big guns, medics can heal other players and so on. It's quite good fun and well worth installing.
America's Army 3: install - storefront
Designed as a recruiting tool for the US Army, America's Army is a series of First Person Shooters (FPS). It's like many other FPS games apart from the inclusion of Rules of Engagement which determine what you're allowed to do in game. It was released in 2009, based on the Unreal Engine 3 so it's not the most graphically impressive FPS, but you may like it for its reality-based approach. Okay, so it's a computer game and the realism can only go so far, but there's a distinct lack of torture and ear collecting.
APB Reloaded: install - storefront
After the initial release of APB died on its arse and took down Realtime Games with it, it's been resurrected under a new owner and it's free to play. I'm actually surprised by how popular it is as I had a go early on and found it annoying as hell. But maybe it's worth another look.
ArmA II Free: install - storefront
This is a slightly cut down version of the full ArmA II game in that it doesn't have any single-player stuff and you can play DLC or expansions. The only other thing missing is the highest level of textures. So it looks slightly less pretty than its full-priced brother. Oh and you're not restricted to playing other free users, you can play with anyone. The storefront page says it's a demo, but it isn't.
It's a fantasy RTS that uses cards (a la Magic The Gathering). EA were originally going to charge for this, but they changed their mind and so it's free. It will oddly show up as "Battleforge Demo" in your Steam library, but it's a full game.
Between : install - storefront
Oh, this one's a little difficult to explain (especially as I haven't played it). It's an indie game in a retro style (doesn't that just mean shitty graphics?) combining several different playing styles in order to uh... um... sod it, look at the video. Oh, that didn't help much either. Damn it, you'll just have to find out for yourselves. Oh and it's another one that says it's a demo on the storefront page, but it's actually the full game.
Bloodline Champions: install - storefront
PVP online fantasy smack 'em around. Yeah, that's it. If you like League of Legends or DOTA, you may well like this.
Do you remember Freedom Force? No? It was probably the first decent superhero game. Champions Online is an attempt at a free superhero MMO. Is it any good? I dunno, but it's free.
Codename Gordon: install
Hey, this looks like a sort of 2D Half Life 2, doesn't it? Yeah and it sort of is. Feels a little like Abuse, if you remember that game.
COIL: install - storefront
Yet another game that Steam insists is a demo, but isn't. Actually I'm not even sure it's a game. The author says "Coil is an experimental autobiographical game that plays out more like a song or painting then an actual "game". I was basically trying to create an experience that put the player into an open minded space and let them question not only what the game was about, but what a game can actually be." And he's right. Play it with just movements of the mouse, not even any clicking. Heck I can't even find a video of it in action.
CrimeCraft GangWars: install - storefront
Crimecraft is another attempt at an FPS MMO and it's partly successful. I played it as part of the Steam Christmas thing where you needed to collect coal by doing various things in various games. The Christmas version had you taking part in snowball fights - effectively throwing grenades that didn't explode but killed instantly on direct impact. That was fun. I can't help but feel that that was better than the way it's supposed to be played.
DC Universe Online: install - storefront
This cost ten quid a month to play just a year ago. Now it's free. If you want a superhero MMO and you care about DC comics, then I suppose this is the obvious choice. Their trailers are all cinematics and no gameplay, so let's see what Yahtzee had to say over at Zero Punctuation.
EverQuest II: install - storefront
Want to play something like World of Warcraft but don't want to pay all that money? Yeah, well try this. The free version is a bit restricted, but you can play through the whole thing without spending any money at all.
Global Agenda: Free Agent: install - storefront
Shoot men in the face. In space. And now watch a video and think Todd Harris a dick. I think what I'd hate the most about being a games programmer (other than everyone complaining all the time about how I don't know what I'm doing) would be being forced to appear in videos like this. Everyone in this video is no longer alive, proving that it is actually possible to die of embarrassment.
Iron Grip: Marauders: install - storefront
When I saw a game with a name like this, I somehow imagined that the character I would play would be Japanese and that the entire game would take place on a train where I raped schoolgirls. But no, this is a turn based strategy game with hardly any rape at all. I'm not sure if I'm relieved or disappointed.
Mightier: install - storefront
Oh now this is unusual. Mightier needs a printer and a webcam in order to play. It'a gentle puzzle game and has some rather interesting features. You print out a puzzle and solve it with a pen then hold it up to a webcam and it gets scanned into your game for you to play through on the computer. Quite honestly the technology is sufficiently fascinating that you simply have to play it. My wife used to design arcade games and worked on a number of arcade games over in Taiwan and she hates pretty much every computer game, but this one is "alright I suppose" which is about the highest praise I've ever heard from her about anything except pandas.
Moonbase Alpha: install - storefront
What should be a fabulous game is now ruined by flaky servers. Join together with a bunch of friends to repair the oxygen processing centre of a moonbase in the aftermath of a meteorite shower. It's slow, you don't kill anything and it can be frustrating at times, but it's great when it all works. I've been bugging NASA games to get this fixed and they assure me that they're working on it. This is also the fore-runner for a full NASA MMO. Hmm.
Peggle Extreme: install - storefront
Ten levels of Peggle for free and all themed around Valve games. Really rather fun. You'll even get to understand why the Japanese sit in front of incomprehensible pachinko machines for hours on end. Did you know that pachinko is a North Korean invention? This blog's educational. I keep saying that, but no one believes me.
PoxNora: install - storefront
Did you think this was another Japanese rape game? Of course it isn't; the name's way too obvious. They're normally named shit like "Improper Deviation Experience Self Offering Young Married Lady" So this is a turn-based fantasy strategy MMO and it looks quite nice.
Puzzle Pirates: install - storefront
Isn't it nice that nerd girls are cool and attractive all of a sudden? It enables chicks like this who aren't quite whorish enough to be mainstream airheads to stick on some ugly glasses and pretend to be geeky. I like to think this video is an exploration of how quickly pity can turn into outright contempt. Watch as she reads what's on the screen, tries to make her pirate slutty (I kid you not) and then partakes of some of the most amateur swearing I've ever had the misfortune to hear. In any other country in any other time she'd have starved to death by now, but 21st century America has made it possible for someone so worthless to actually have a job where her inadequacies can be compensated for by some fake spectacles. Oh and there's a puzzle game... with pirates!
Rise of Immortals: install - storefront
Fantasy grindfest that makes me hate myself more than I loathe it. So it's got that going for it.
Sam & Max Episode 104: Abe Lincoln Must Die!: install
You must surely know what the Sam and Max games are about by now. If you haven't tried the new ones, then you may well enjoy finding out if you like them by playing a whole episode. Personally, I preferred the bitmap art of the old ones. The 3D lacks a certain charm for me, but plenty of people like it.
This 2MB(really!) game is actually a test to show programmers how Steam features are integrated. It's not much of a game and it's not very well done. Some of you may remember Spacewar as one of the very first computer games, in which case you are true gentlemen of the circuit and I salute you.
Spiral Knights: install - storefront
Charming little fantasy MMO. Very nice graphics. Not much rape.
Star Trek Online: install - storefront
It's Star Trek. It's online. It used to cost money, but now it's free. Any good?
Team Fortress 2: install - storefront
It cost money until recently and now it's free. The free version is very slightly restricted, but not so anyone would notice. Make just one in-game purchase (buy a frigging hat or something for a few pence) and it suddenly becomes the full version anway.
The Cat and the Coup: install - storefront
Frigging weird and has to be played! "The Cat and the Coup is a documentary video game in which you play the cat of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. During the summer of 1953, the CIA engineered a coup to bring about his downfall. As a player, you coax Mossadegh back through significant events of his life by knocking objects off of shelves, scattering his papers, jumping on his lap and scratching him." Intrigued?
TrackMania Nations Forever: install - storefront
Little cars zooming round tracks.