We are a site offering free and fun online games which can quickly be played from the browser. The thinking behind this site was since so many people are stuck at home during rolling lockdowns maybe we could add a bit of joy to people’s lives.
I used to love playing games on consoles back in the days of the original Nintendo & this site aims to pay homage to that era.
Today the gaming industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars and much of the gaming industry revolves around hyper-optimizing design for accidental ad clicks, paid upgrades, and creating addictive loops – all of which are needed to offset the cost of paying for distribution buying ads in other games and on other platforms.
In recent years many gaming companies have went public with valuations in the 10s of billions of dollars including Roblox, Unity and Applovin.
This site aims to be prettymuch the opposite of those sorts of trends.
Since launch earlier this year we have published hundreds games on our site. We try to publish at least a couple additional games everyday, so if you click on the “free games” menu above linking at plays.org/games/ you should see something new everyday. 🙂
If you do not see new games it means I am horribly sick, have died, or my internet connection was severed.
This website is powered using the fantastic WordPress blogging software and a couple plug-ins to help organize site structure and add features like game ratings. I once attended a conference with the founder of WordPress and got to eat lunch with him. It is amazing seeing how well they’ve grown over the past decade.
The blog theme was coded from scratch by the site founder using a design our web designer created. You can tell from the level of detail in the header graphic our lead frontend designer loves gaming even more than the site’s founder.
The founder has a friend who is a well known internet marketer. Originally the site was going to have a different name, but the friend advised him the name “plays” was much better. The domain was acquired from Buy Domains on January 15th, 2021 and we got to work building the site immediately.
The founder of this website could be described as an eccentric self-employed full-time webmaster who has worked on frontend and backend web development for a couple decades. He has been mentioned in the mainstream media a number of times, but is more fond of being a kid and playing with his daughter than being an adult. He is an introvert and writes in the third person. Could he be engaging in this right now? Hrm…
This site was founded by a person who purchased multiple large storage racks to hold their massive video game cartridge collection. Their joy toward vintage video games stemmed from:
This site is inspired by the above worldview. Many small snackable games. Little bits of joy. No paid upgrades or playing with the default character settings that social signals you can’t afford the upgrades. Not competing against others, but playing for the sake of play and to have fun. 🙂
This site aims to be a throwback which celebrates the web from the day before pop up ads & in-game ads that destroy the flow of playing without the need to be able to figure out how to use advanced emulation software like MAME to revisit the past & to preserve the joy some Flash gaming websites offered before Flash died.
I also get a sense of accomplishment whenever I beat a game & have beat about half the games on this site. I love games like Tales of Symphonia & if time were limitless I would love to beat the entire series, though I struggle with time now after having a child and running a company with employees.
If we had to sum up our philosophy, we’d aim to be the antithesis of Marc Pincus.
“I knew that I wanted to control my destiny, so I knew I needed revenues, right, f**king, now. Like I needed revenues now. So I funded the company myself but I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues right away. I mean we gave our users poker chips if they downloaded this Zwinky toolbar which was like, I don’t know, I downloaded it once and couldn’t get rid of it. *laughs* We did anything possible just to just get revenues so that we could grow and be a real business…So control your destiny. So that was a big lesson, controlling your business. So by the time we raised money we were profitable.” – Zynga’s Founder Marc Pincus
Other than the domain name this website did not cost a lot to build as many of the costs are concurrent with other projects. Our designer created the design for this site in between other projects,
this site is hosted on a shared web server (we just updated to a snappy new lightning fast server).
This website is funded through savings from operating other sites. Members of our team have worked for a variety of web companies including a company named after a long river and a big web portal before Google made web portals obsolete. The founder of this site is by no means rich, but is doing ok after a couple decades in the tech field.
This site was created as a way to use what we know to create something fun and to make some aspects of the work day a bit less boring than it otherwise would be, while believing we are making the web just a tiny bit better – especially for those who can not afford video games and are often stuck playing mobile apps optimized to frustrating users into buying upgrades or accidentally clicking ads. After Flash died last year it felt like something should come next to help replace all the fun Flash games which were online & we are trying to be a part of that.
We initially offered a few free games for the founder’s daughter. One time she threw the iPad after playing as the screen moved while she was trying to play the game. There’s nothing like seeing your daughter throw her iPad across the room to get you some real world user data and make you figure out how to solve such problems. From there what started as a little thing just kept growing into an obsession.
One of our most popular games is a math game named Guardians Defenders of Mathematica. Educational games can make learning fun while keeping kids focused on subjects they might otherwise find difficult or boring.
I believe video games have had a large positive impact on my life & have had a large net benefit on society. Initially there were lots of scare articles published about video games, though more recently neuroscientists have been conducting research showing how games increase neuroplasticity.
First- and third-person shooters improve spatial reasoning, decisionmaking, and, contrary to popular belief, attention. In an article published by Men’s Health, writer Yo Zushi said that “even the heart-racing pressure you feel as your mate hunts you down in Fortnite Battle Royale turns out to be good for you: ‘Positive stress’ in the context of gameplay helps to motivate you while increasing your ability to focus IRL.” – Thom James Carter, Wired Magazine
Cognitive flexibility is the key to learning and creativity (and plays a big part in a happy & successful life):
Cognitive flexibility is also associated with higher resilience to negative life events, as well as better quality of life in older individuals. It can even be beneficial in emotional and social cognition: studies have shown that cognitive flexibility has a strong link to the ability to understand the emotions, thoughts and intentions of others.
This site does not carry any advertisements. Some games have social sharing buttons. If you click through to the social networks they do, of course, track everything you do on their site for personalization of their news feeds and ad targeting.
The only tracking service on our site where we look at it is Clicky, a web analytics tool. We use data from it to see which games are popular and track our site health overall. If we see a certain specific game or category of games is widely popular with our users then we will create more related games in that genre.
While our site is young, we’ve been featured on many other websites including:
Anyone is free to link to this site without requesting. Links are what hold the web together. 🙂
I appreciate all the gamers who have reviewed this site on their blogs and on video sites like YouTube. It is your sharing that helps this site grow. 🙂
I have lost count of how many reviews of our site gamers have done. Each one helps so much, so thanks to everyone who has played our site, shared our site, or reviewed our site. Here are a few more, though going forward I will probably stop adding videos to this page directly or will rotate some in where the above ones are and place some of the above ones in a list below so the load time is still quick.
If you reviewed our site & would like featured here please leave a comment below. Thank you!
We offer a variety of logos you can use if you write about our website.
If you have a cool logo design idea you’d like to share in the comments be our guest.
If you have a media request you can contact us using either of the methods shown below.
Whenever you visit a website your web browser shows the IP address of the visitor. Beyond the IP address we typically do not collect any end user information unless you comment on our site.
The sections below descript our role with end user data & how to contact us with questions.
If we change anything significantly this page will be updated the same day.
You can email us using the address Christine@plays.
Please note our domain name which handles emails is plays.email (not .com or .org or such … .email). If you send an email to any address on Plays.org it will not deliver.
The Plays.org web server has been heavily customized by our developer to ensure fast load speeds for the games even if we have hundreds or thousands of concurrent players. We took other unnecessary loads off the server, having our email handled by a different domain on another web server.
Alternatively, you can also post comments to this page. Every game page has a contact / feedback form on it. If you uncover any bugs or issues please let us know so we can fix them and improve the site for everybody. 🙂
Even our homepage has a comments form on it. The only pages which do not have comments forms are our category pages and archive pages. Those do not have comments due to the architecture of WordPress.