With everything that has been going around the world in recent weeks, we all need an outlet. Thankfully, there are dozens of free resources that provide a distraction from the chaos.
We've rounded up all the games, movies, audiobooks, e-books, and learning resources that are free right now. Whether you're looking to unwind with an audiobook or shoot some zombies in an online first-person shooter, you'll find something of interest in the list below.
All the games that are free right now
- Google Stadia: Google has launched the free tier of its Stadia game streaming service, and is offering two months of Stadia Pro for free to those signing up. The free version is limited to 1080p resolution, and consists of nine games right now, including GRID, Destiny 2: The Collection, and more. All you need to do is sign up on Stadia's site and start playing on your browser or on a TV over Chromecast. Sign up at Stadia.
- Drawful 2: Drawful 2 is a great party game. It isn't hard to figure out: you draw a character, and everyone tries to guess what it is. The game is good for a lot of laughs, and if you add it to your Steam account before April 11, it is yours forever. Drawful 2 on Steam.
- Totally Reliable Delivery Service: Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a fun multiplayer title that lets you and your friends run a delivery truck. The game's ragdoll physics makes it fun to play, and overall it is just a fun way to pass the time when you're locked indoors. The game is free until April 8. Totally Reliable Delivery Service on Epic Games Store.
- Treasure Adventure Game: Treasure Adventure Game is a 2D platformer that evokes memories of 8-bit games. There is a decent learning curve, but once you get the hang of things it is a wonderful game. GOG has a decent list of games on sale, so be sure to take a look at the full list. Treasure Adventure Game on GOG, GOG's list of free games.
- Itch.io: Itch.io has a host of games on sale right now, and there are a few standouts like Elliot Quest. If you're in the mood to try out a few indie games, take a look at the full list here: Itch.io game giveaway.
Unwind with free audiobooks and albums
- The Lord of the Rings: The only LOTR audiobook that you should listen to is the one narrated by Phil Dragash. It is the unabridged version that also includes sound effects and original score from the movies, and is a fantastic listen. As it is technically a fan-made creation, you can download the audiobook for free. The Lord of the Rings audiobook.
- Audible Stories: Audible is offering over 300 audiobooks for free during the coronavirus crisis, with a great selection of titles aimed at children. If you're working from home and need to entertain your kids, this is an invaluable resource. Free audiobooks on Audible Stories.
- LibriVox: LibriVox has a huge catalog of over 24,000 audiobooks sourced from the public domain. The public domain texts are read by volunteers from around the globe, and you can access them for free on your phone, tablet, or the web. There are a few gems, including classic sci-fi, classic literature from Charles Dickens to Herman Melville, and much more. Free audiobooks on LibriVox.
- Nine Inch Nails Ghosts V - VI: Nine Inch Nails has released two albums and made them free to download. The albums are a continuation of the 2008 Ghosts instrumental series, and feature a lot of atmospheric and haunting sounds. Perfect for the times, then. Nine Inch Nails Ghosts V and Ghosts VI.
Explore your interests with free books
- Libby: Libby is a service by Overdrive that lets you borrow ebooks and audiobooks from your local library. All you need is a library card, and the app lets you search your local library's catalog for available titles. You can download ebooks and audiobooks for offline reading, create bookmarks, and sync progress across devices. Libby by Overdrive on the Play Store, Libby by Overdrive on the App Store.
- International Children's Digital Library: ICDL has a wealth of resources for kids, and the best part is that you can sort books based on your kid's age. With a vast catalog of titles from all over the world, it is a great way to entertain your children. Children's books at International Children's Digital Library.
- Project Gutenberg: Looking for some classic literature to pass the time? There isn't a better resource than Project Gutenberg. The site has over 60,000 ebooks in EPUB and Kindle formats, and there's a search feature to sort books by genre, author, language, and more. Classic literature at Project Gutenberg.
- JSTOR: If you're looking for academic journals, then JSTOR is a great resource. The site's open access content includes a vast selection of journals and books from leading universities. Academic journals at JSTOR.
- ComiXology Unlimited 90-day trial: Amazon-owned ComiXology is offering a 90-day trial to its Unlimited subscription, giving you access to thousands of comics from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and others for free. You can download the comics on any device, including your phone, tablet, or the web. ComiXology Unlimited 90-day trial.
- Scribd 30-day trial: Scribd is the world's largest digital library, featuring millions of ebooks, best-selling audiobooks, and much more. The 30-day trial is ideal to see what the service is all about. Scribd 30-day trial.
- Adrian Tchaikovsky's short stories: Adrian Tchaikovsky is one of my favorite authors, and if you haven't read Children of Time, you should fix that right now. The author is making a collection of short stories freely available, and they're well worth a read. Adrian Tchaikovsky's short stories collection in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB.
If you need additional reading material, take a look at this list by Aditya Bidikar to find novellas by noted authors, and dozens of free comics.
Pass the time with free movies and documentaries
- HBO Now: HBO is making some of its best TV shows freely accessible on HBO Now and HBO Go. These include shows like The Wire, The Sopranos, Silicon Valley, Ballers, Barry, and more. All seasons of a given show are available to stream, making this an incredible offer. Free access to HBO Now.
- Sling TV Blue: Sling is making its Blue service free until April 5, offering 45 live channels, 50,000 on-demand movies and TV shows, and free cloud DVR. Sling Blue gives you access to CNN, FOX News, HLN, MSNBC, Bloomberg TV, Cheddar News, Newsy and Local Now. Get Sling Blue free until April 5.
- Shudder: Shudder is a streaming service dedicated to horror, thriller, and suspense movies and TV shows. The service is rolling out free access for 30 days with code SHUTIN. Get Shudder free for 30 days with SHUTIN.
- Pluto: Pluto is one of the best ways to access free TV channels on all of your devices. It has over 250 free channels and thousands of movies, and the best part is that it is free. Free TV at Pluto.
- Documentary Heaven: Documentary Heaven is a wonderful resource for documentaries of a wide variety of subjects. With hundreds of free documentaries to choose from, there's enough content here to keep you busy for several days. Free documentaries at Documentary Heaven.
Get rid of stress with these meditation apps
- Calm: Calm is a great service that promotes mindfulness with guided meditations, sleep stories, and soothing ambient music. The service costs $60 a year, but right now Calm is offering a wealth of utilities, including meditation classes, sleep stories, and much more for absolutely free. Just head to this link and you should see all the free resources available right now. See more at Calm.
- Headspace: Headspace is another service that is offering free resources right now. You can access a selection of Headspace's guided meditations and sleep stories from this link without paying anything. See at Headspace.
Your favorite sports content is now free
- NFL Game Pass: With the NFL season shut down, the league is making NFL Game Pass freely available, giving fans the ability to relive the best moments from past seasons. Game Pass includes access to all games and NFL Films. Game Pass is free until May 31. Get NFL Game Pass for free.
- NBA League Pass: NBA is also making its League Pass free, with fans able to stream games from the 2019-20 season as well as classic games on-demand. League Pass is free until April 22. Get NBA League Pass for free.
- WWE Network 30-day free trial: WrestleMania 36 kicks off on April 4, and you'll want to tune in to all the action. WWE has a 30-day trial for its streaming service, and now is the ideal time to get in on the action. You'll not only get access to WrestleMania 36, but can also stream all old wrestling events. WWE Network 30-day trial.
Build your skills with these free learning resources
- Nikon School Online: Looking to learn how to take better photos with your DSLR? Nikon is offering all courses for free for the duration of April. There are ten classes in total, and they usually retail for $10 to $15 each, so this is a good way to level up your skills. Nikon School Online.
- Pluralsight: Pluralsight is making its entire catalog freely available for the month of April. That includes over 7,000 courses on everything from machine learning, cyber security, cloud computing, game design, and so much more. There's something for everyone here, so make sure you sign up and start learning. Free access to Pluralsight.
- Logic Pro X (90-day trial): Logic Pro X is one of the best DAWs in the market, and it is a great tool if you want to level up your music production skills. You now get a 90-day free trial to see what the DAW has to offer. Logic Pro X 90-day free trial.
- Fender Play guitar lessons: Fender is giving away three months' worth of free guitar lessons in Fender Play. If you've ever wanted to learn a guitar but never got around to it, now is the time to start. Three months of Fender Play for free.
- Unity Learn Premium: Got an idea for a great game? Get started with free access to Unity Learn Premium, the best way to get started with the Unity game engine. You get three months of free access. Free access to Unity Learn Premium.
That's a short list of all the free resources currently available. I'll continue to update the post with more content a few times a week, but if I missed anything, let me know in the comments below.
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