By Justin Peters
Posted Friday, Dec. 21, 2007
Christmas is a difficult time of year for America's cheapskates. There are plenty of sturdy, reliable toys out there-broom-handle horses, packs of UNO cards, wooden blocks with wheels on them-all of which are inexpensive and delightful. But all anybody wants these days are video games: a PlayStation 3 or a Nintendo Wii, and full complements of pricey games to go with each. This stuff is expensive and often difficult to obtain, but your nephew will hate you if you give him one more toy that's fashioned from scrap lumber. What's a well-meaning penny pincher to do?
Lucky for you, Slate (in association with the Internet) has your solution: the best free computer games that cyberspace has to offer. The games listed below are exemplars of the casual gaming genre - video games meant to be played incidentally, as a break from work, for instance, or in lieu of sending an e-mail. Many of the games listed below are as clever and fun as their retail counterparts; all of them are free, free, free. They're the perfect last-minute gifts for those out-of-town nieces or second cousins who don't deserve $350 worth of love. Granted, an index card with a URL scrawled on it might not provoke as many cheers upon unwrapping as a copy of Halo 3. But it's the thought that counts. Right?