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Update: Check the newly-added last game on our list for a game you can play in the background at work!
The days of needing a souped-up PC to play the best online games are long gone. Whether you're on Windows, OS X, Linux or something else, all you need is an internet connection and a browser to play the thousands of great games on there. From text-based adventures to Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) with impressive 3D graphics, you're spoilt for choice.
You do, however, need to bear in mind some compatibility issues. The biggest of which is that Chrome doesn't support Unity, a 3D game engine that's compatible with Firefox, Opera and Safari. But often the same game will be available as an app in the Chrome Web Store, so let the games begin!
Gabe Carey also contributed to this article
- Playing on a Mac? Also check out the best Mac games
Whatever your feelings on golf, there's a place in everyone's heart for a spot of Crazy Golf. And this intricately designed course features tiny ski slopes and herds of sheep who mow the grass to reveal a new green. The puzzle box design instils a sense of wonder, where will the next hole pop out from? There's only one way to find out… Four!
If Frank Zappa made video games, he would've made this. Created by Berkeley developer Jim Crawford it recalls the surreal humour of the Jeff Minter and Ron Gilbert. It all starts normally enough, you're a frog defending fruit from an oncoming hoard of hungry bugs. But the health bar is labelled 'Indignity Level', fractions are being scored but none of it adds up. This is just the start, we won't give too much away but there's a trip to Bug Mars, a dabble in the Bug porn industry and an entire level devoted to the early history of boxing. Make sure you have the sound turned up to get the whole story.
Life in the West
Kanye West has caught a lot of flack over the years for his ridiculous antics and ostensibly skyrocketing confidence. While you may even be familiar with his sometimes incomprehensible stream of tweets, it's unlikely you've seen The Stanley Parable developer Galactic Café's take on the famed hip-hop artist's social media presence.
Life in the West, though barely a game, will have you grinning from ear to ear upon realizing that not only are your keyboarding skills effectively useless, but typing out tweets as, well, undeniably Kanye as "Man… whatever happened to my antique fish tank?" results in Final Fantasy combat music that'll leave you reaching a controller.
Game of Bombs
Bomberman on the original PlayStation was one of the best crafted and addictive multiplayer games ever created. Game of Bombs seeks to emulate this virtual crack. And to get the multiplayer experience you'll no longer need to fish around a drawer of knotted cables for a MultiTap, just go to their website and play a gigantic version of Bomberman online with players from around the globe. The joys of the modern world!
Die 2 Nite
This text-based (don't let that put you off) online multiplayer zombie game is full of little in-jokes. Upon starting up you're greeted with the cheery message "Be positive! You're going to die. Every time." In the top right is actual server time and when that hits 23:00 the zombies will come out to play. During the daylight hours, you and the other players must work together to build defences for the following night reminiscent of Minecraft.
If you haven't played any of Czech developer Amanita Design's games then you are missing out on some of the quirkiest, funny and elaborate point-and-click puzzlers of modern times. The third game in this space-aged series is currently in development but you can play the one that started it all back in 2003 completely free. Chapter One of Samorost 2 is also online. And be sure to check out their other games Machinarium, Shy Dwarf, and Botanicula.
It's Pong on steroids in 3D. Players are pitted against a docile looking bear called Bob who is trapped in a giant television screen. The action is set along to a brilliant synth pop soundtrack that recalls classic Kraftwerk. As the levels progress more obstacles and power ups will appear, there's a mind-boggling multiball, fireballs, mirrors, shrinking paddles and deathballs. Perhaps the most innovative part of this game is that you can play against real people. Instead of Bob the Bear there's a real person on the screen via their in-built camera.
Be prepared to invest a lot of time into this one. And this isn't your average top-down tower defence game, this looks more like Zelda crossed with Crash Bandicoot. Collect supplies, build bases and explore dungeons, you know the score. It can be installed as an app from the Chrome Web Store or played online in any browser using HTML5.
Abobo's Big Adventure
Described by the developers as 'The Ultimate Tribute To The NES' many of the jokes will probably only ring true if you are of a certain age. But that's not to say this isn't for everyone, there are toilet jokes too! Written by the team behind comedic website I-Mockery, it stars Abobo who is actually a standard recurring mid-boss in classic 80s beat-em-up Double Dragon. His son is kidnapped and he must battle his way through various NES-themed levels to rescue him. It's all done with warm affection to Mario, Zelda, Contra and Mega Man.
Like tanks? Like deathmatches? Then Tanki might well be the browser game for you. Graphically it's like a much upgraded Quake, with several Deathmatch arenas, some snowy, others full of luscious green plants. The aim, in all however is the same: blow up as many tanks as you can. There are tons of turret upgrades, leave enemies cold with the freeze gun or pummel them repeatedly with the dual shot and rail gun.
Controlling the tank is a little fiddly but ultimately rewarding. The turret moves separately from the base so it's possible to move one way while shooting in a completely different direction like an actual tank can. There are several games modes including Team Deathmatch and Capture The Flag. Graphically it's impressive and looks close to a high resolution version of a PS2 or Dreamcast game.
A lot of popular Steam games and console titles owe their popularity to sites like Miniclip and Newgrounds, hosts to countless free-to-play titles from small studios with marginal publishing budgets. Few of these success stories ring as truly as Superhot, a first-person shooter developed in Unity where time comes to a standstill when you do giving you plenty of time to form coherent strategies. In a sense, Superhot blends elements of both popular FPS games with turn-based strategy mechanics for a unique browser-based experience.
Browsing the web isn't the only thing that's improved with the intervention of Google Chrome; web-based games have gotten better as well. Whether you're on a Mac, a PC or even a Chromebook, Unity-based Rad Soldiers will run smoothly in a normal browser window.
The turn-based shooter game starts off as expected. You choose a character avatar who is then accompanied by a soldier with a whimsical unsoldier-like name, such as Hipster Dave. Once you've gotten enough practice, you can even play online with friends. Rad Soldiers will then pit you up against your buddy in a shooter that may be unusually slow, but it's also incredibly smart.
Spelunky HTML 5
Like Superhot, Spelunky made its way from humble beginnings. Originally developed by Derek Yu as freeware and remade for the Xbox 360 in July 2012, the game was ported to HTML 5 by Darius Kazemi (and made available as a Chrome app) shortly thereafter. Because it was created in GameMaker, Spelunky may not be impressive visually, but its randomly generated environments and brutal permadeath system qualify it as a modern classic.
The goal of the 2D platformer is collect as much loot as possible in a series of underground tunnels. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Inhibited by obstacles like traps and enemies of various species, Spelunky is as challenging as it is addictive. Luckily, by default, you're equipped with a whip and your own two feet with which you can besiege enemies. And, if that's not enough, you can always be resourceful and use surrounding objects as weapons. Good luck.
A free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Runescape might not look like much, but it's actually a huge deal. Documented by the Guinness World Records, Runescape is considered the world's most popular free MMORPG, with over 200 million registered players, as well as the most frequently updated game.
Like many MMOs, the latest version of Runescape – namely Runescape 3 – takes place in a medieval setting, complete with its fair share of dragons, queens, goblins and even chickens. It's not the most glittery example of fine art in terms of visual appeal, but for a game that's been around for over 15 years why would it be?
As long as you're equipped with some recent edition of Java, you should be set to start fighting, trading and even playing mini-games with other players in the world of Gielinor. Be careful, though, as Runescape is widely known for being highly addictive.
If you recently played the new Doom game and are wondering where developer id Software got its start, look no further than Wolfenstein 3D. Though it wasn't the first title to come from video game superstar duo John Carmack and John Romero, Wolfenstein 3D played an important role in heavily inspiring an entire genre of video games: namely the obscenely popular first-person shooter (FPS).
In fact, although it's a far cry from, well, Far Cry, Wolfenstein 3D is often considered the first true FPS by purists. Kill Nazis and see how gaming has improved since 1994 in this important snippet of history. Experience Wolfenstein 3D for yourself completely free of charge, courtesy of the Internet Archive.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
On the surface, Spaceplan is yet another repetitive clicking game (see: Cookie Clicker) designed as a means to distract you from the tasks at large. But dust off that geometrical cover and you'll realize there's something really special about this game.
If you're not one for games that take themselves too seriously, Spaceplan is for you. In fact, you spend most of your time fixing a ship using an interface called the "Thing Maker," which, as the name suggests, lets you build things to repair your ship and navigate through space. Once you get a few "things" up and running, the core game mechanic works on its own.
You'll spend most of your time waiting as you do other stuff (like your job, for example) as you accumulate watts used to power your things. It's the perfect game to keep open in another tab to poke at for a few seconds when your boss is looking the other way. The witty dialog is merely a bonus.
Since being introduced as competition for the MacBook Air, Ultrabooks have come a long way. They manage slim and lightweight designs without compromising on performance. Full-size Intel Core processors, lightning-fast SSD storage and superb battery life are only a few factor's responsible for the Ultrabook's success.
More than anything else, though, Ultrabooks represent the bleeding edge of what laptops can be; case in point the sexy yet competent Acer Swift 7, the revolutionary Lenovo Yoga Book and Microsoft's own contributions, the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. While not all necessitate as Ultrabooks by definition, the influence they've drawn is evident.
Of course, this also means Ultrabooks come at a premium. Don't confuse small with cheap. Ultrabook prices typically start at $999 (around £584, AU$1,064), extending upwards of $2,000 (around £1,169, AU$2,131).
It's an arms race in the Ultrabook world, and there's no room for losers. As such, it's hard not to find a great machine. But, if your rich taste demands the cream of the crop without going broke, you've come to the right place.
1. Dell XPS 13
The best laptop on the planet, Dell's latest Ultrabook is a masterpiece
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 – Intel Iris Graphics 540 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD
The new Dell XPS 13 manages to pull off nothing short of revolutionary laptop design. Touting a 13.3-inch display, it bears the footprint of a mere 11-incher, effectively making it one of the most compact and lightweight offerings on the market.
Don't confuse portability for weakness, however, as the Dell XPS 13 packs enough horsepower for both work and play, accompanied by a lengthy battery life that's dressed to impress. All in all, the Dell XPS 13 balances the best of both worlds – great performance and yet stellar power management – for no doubt an extensive lifespan at that.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
2. Asus ZenBook UX305
A truly excellent ultrabook at a very agreeable price point
CPU: Intel Core Intel Core M3-6Y30 – M7-6Y75 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3200 x 1800) IPS display | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
The ZenBook UX305 is an exquisitely-built, fully metal machine that's thin, light and very attractive. This lightweight system can easily take on any task whether it's browsing the web, watching video or editing images. What's more, its seven hour battery life is exceptional, and a sub-$700 price tag only sweetens the deal.
While it isn't exactly a shining symbol of innovation in the Ultrabook space, not to mention the processor which pales in comparison to more capable devices on the market, the UX305 is one of the most affordable Windows 10 laptops available today, and it won't disappoint you. Plus, if you're willing to shell out an extra hundred bucks, the updated UX305LA packs in a full-fledged Intel Core i5 CPU.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX305
3. Surface Book
The heavy duty performance Ultrabook
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD graphics 520 – Nvidia GeForce graphics | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense Display | Storage: 128GB – 256GB PCIe3.0 SSD
The Surface Book is both the world's most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 PC as well as an excellent laptop. This is all thanks to its ability to swap between being a really terrific notebook and tablet.
Plus with all the power of an Intel Skylake processor and a discrete Nvidia GPU, this machine outpaces almost every other Ultrabook. The only thing users might find annoying is how it's heavier and bigger than most 13-inch laptops thanks to its 3:2 aspect ratio and 13.5-inch screen.
Read the full review: Surface Book
4. Lenovo Yoga 900
Performance meets design, Lenovo's latest flagship is a jewel
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 IPS display | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
If you're all about style and want power to back it up, things don't get much better than Lenovo's latest flagship hybrid Ultrabook. It's much more punch than its Intel Core M-toting predecessor thanks to trading in Core i5 and i7 CPUs, and it has bigger batteries to boot.
Though it's no longer one of the lightest Windows laptops to date, the Yoga 900 still retains an incredibly sharp and thin design. Although it comes at a steep price, such panache will be worth it for style nuts.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 900
5. Samsung Notebook 9
One stellar entry-level Ultrabook
CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB DDR3 1866 | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED anti-reflective display | Storage: 256GB m.2 SSD
The Samsung Notebook 9 retains the paper-thin (not literally) design of the Series 9 notebook we all came to know and love back in 2012.
This time, however, we're greeted with a considerably competent Core i5 Skylake processor in addition to an attractive screen, design, and - unlike past Samsung ultrabooks - an approachable price.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9
6. HP Spectre
Thin, powerful and delightfully chic
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS UWVA WLED | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
One glance at the HP Spectre, and you'd think it belongs in a mansion. As if looks weren't enough, this gilded machine is actually more powerful than the latest MacBook and for a lower price at that.
You won't find laptops thinner than this and with an optional Intel Core i7 configuration to the trio of USB-C ports, it's supremely capable and not to mention future-proof. Even when it only boasts a 1080p screen, it renders deeper blacks and brighter colors than most.
If there were ever a such thing as a MacBook killer, it would be called the HP Spectre – front and center, folks.
Read the full review: HP Spectre
7. Dell Latitude 13 7000
A higher class of business laptop we deserve
CPU: Intel Core m3 – m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD (3,200 x 1,800) InfinityEdge display | Storage: 128GB - 256GB PCIe SSD
Following in the footsteps of the king of Ultrabooks, Dell has revamped its Latitude series of business notebooks with the Infinity display redesign. With a compact chassis, the best keyboards ever and great build quality, the Dell Latitude 13 7000 is one of the best Windows laptops to take on the road.
However, thanks to only Intel's Core M chip inside, it isn't the fastest business brain on the block. Still, if you're looking for a reliable machine, you'll be pleased with the Latitude 13 7000's seven hour battery life.
Read the full review: Dell Latitude 13 7000
8. Acer Aspire S7
Acer's luxurious laptop is an ultraportable star
CPU: 5th Gen Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – WQHD (2560 x 1440) touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD
If you have a passion for white electronics, the Aspire S7's looks alone may seal the deal, but the laptop is more than just a pretty face. Acer packs in Intel's Broadwell Core i7 processor, a battery that lasts close to a full work day, plenty of storage and RAM all into a sleek body.
The Aspire S7 is an attractive and powerful laptop, but not one without compromises. If you're willing to invest a little time to removing bloatware and can live with a keyboard with the shallow key travel, then the Aspire S7 rewards you with a very capable computing experience that also looks stunning on your desk.
Read the full review: Acer Aspire S7
9. Toshiba Kirabook
A high-res Ultrabook that's easy on the eyes
CPU: 5th Gen Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3 inch 2560 x 1440 WQHD touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD
The Toshiba Kirabook (otherwise known as the Kira in the UK) sits at the higher end of the Ultrabook spectrum. It offers a high-res screen and a fully metal body that feels so premium, it even gives the MacBook a run for its money.
While there were a few missteps with the annoying keyboard and dim screen, you'll be pleased with this long lasting machine that's easy on the eyes.
Read the full review: Toshiba Kirabook
10. Toshiba Satellite Radius 12
The best 4K screen available on an Ultrabook today
CPU: 6th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) TruBrite LED backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD
High resolution screens have become synonymous with Ultrabooks but few have a true 4K screen and that's where the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 comes into impress. Packing a vibrant and very color accurate screen, this 12.5-inch hybrid notebook is one of the new Technicolor-certified devices on the market.
Of course, that makes it an excellent choice for photographers and those in media production. That said, it has a few flaws including a shrunken keyboard and competitively shorter battery life.
Read the full review: Toshiba Satellite Radius 12
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article
- OK, now what about the best Chromebooks?
Facebook can resume tracking Belgians online even if they don't have an account with the social network, an appeals court has ruled.
The Brussels Court of First Instance had previously ordered Facebook to stop placing its "datr" cookie in Internet users' browsers unless they were Facebook members. It ordered the company to pay a fine of €250,000 per day until it complied with this interim ruling.
But on Wednesday the appeals court overturned the cookie ban and the fine on the grounds that such interim orders can only be made in urgent cases. In this case, Belgium's privacy commission waited until 2015 to forbid something Facebook began doing in 2012, suggesting it hadn't acted with urgency.
In the future, the US Air Force hopes to have armed drones flying in formation with human pilots, responding to their verbal and digital commands to fight the enemy and strike targets. That would require an artificial intelligence capable of interpreting commands and applying knowledge of combat tactics—something that is already being proven in a project funded by the Air Force Research Lab.
ALPHA, an artificial intelligence trained by a retired Air Force expert in air combat, was originally developed as what amounts to ultimate video game AI—an autonomous simulated enemy for use in training fighter pilots. The AI is so good that it has consistently beaten human pilots in simulated air combat—even when heavily handicapped by simulated physics. And now AFRL is investigating using ALPHA as the AI for Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) in the physical world, potentially flying missions alongside human pilots.
Described in a paper recently published in the Journal of Defense Management, ALPHA was created using a "genetic fuzzy tree" (GFT) system. There's a lot to unpack in that term, but in short, the methodology uses genetic algorithms—code intended to mimic evolution and natural selection—to train a collection of independent but interconnected "fuzzy inference systems" (FISs). Instead of training each bit of fuzzy logic independently for a given task, as is normally done in fuzzy systems, the genetic algorithm "is utilized to train each system in the Fuzzy Tree simultaneously," lead researcher Nick Ernest, CEO of Psibernetix Inc. (the company that developed ALPHA) and his co-authors wrote in the paper. "Each FIS has membership functions that classify the inputs and outputs into linguistic classifications, such as 'far away' and 'very threatening', as well as if-then rules for every combination of inputs, such as 'If missile launch computer confidence is moderate and mission kill shot accuracy is very high, fire missile'. By breaking up the problem into many sub-decisions, the solution space is significantly reduced."