Get Battlefield 1942 (PC) for free

Can you believe this game is 10 years old? It looks it, too -- but it's still a ton of fun. Get your World War II on free of charge while you can.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Electronic Arts

Avid gamers will recall that EA's Battlefield 1942 was one of the most popular titles...of 2002. It was the game that kicked off the entire Battlefield series, which, in the past decade, has produced some monster hits.

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, EA's Origin store is offering Battlefield 1942 (PC) free of charge. Don't worry that it appears on Origin's Demos page; it's definitely the full game.

To get it, you'll need an Origin account and the Origin download client, both free, both akin to Steam (but solely for EA games, natch). With those items in place, just click Get It Now and you're off to the races -- er, battlefield.

If you've never played the game, it's a first-person shooter set during -- duh -- World War II. Unlike most scripted shooters, however, this one drops you on the battlefield with only the most basic mission outline, then gives you free reign (i.e. an open world, or sandbox) in which to accomplish that mission. You can run-and-gun on foot, or jump into a jeep, tank, dive bomber, or dozens of other vehicles.

Of course, it's really meant to be enjoyed online, with other players -- up to 64 of which can share the same map. And I'm happy to report that game servers are alive and well, so there's plenty of massively multiplayer action yet to be had.

And what a blast from the past. Battlefield 1942 was designed with square monitors in mind, not the wide-screen LCDs we're all accustomed to today. And visually, well, it looks about as muddy and muted as you'd expect a 10-year-old game to look. That said, the core game remains outstanding -- and you can't argue with the price.

I'm not sure if this is a limited-time giveaway or EA plans to make the game free from here on out (though I'm guessing the former). If you want to see how the Battlefield series began, or you're just in the mood for some awesome World War II combat, today is definitely your lucky day.