Being bored online is a common thing in the online age. Despite the internet being home to so many millions of fascinating experiences, it's difficult to find a perfect time sink through the sheer volume available.
With that in mind, a little research can reveal some of the best games to play when bored online. Whether you're looking to spend a few minutes here or there, or drop hours into engaging experiences, the titles below should have something for everyone.
One thing to keep in mind before diving in is that, depending on the title, some of the suggested games to play when bored online might be difficult to get working. This is because, for a long time, browser games were built off Macromedia Flash.
Since Flash is now defunct and not supported by most browsers, this can make access a little tricky.
The best games to play when bored online don’t have to be the most in-depth. In fact, they’re often the exact opposite. This is the attitude adopted by QWOP, which could also generously be called a kind of racing game.
In QWOP, the player uses the eponymous keys to control the main character’s thighs and calves. With the end goal to complete a short race, this game is hilarious, especially when challenging friends.
Make no mistake, QWOP is not a game people get good at, rather they just do less terribly with time. An internet classic, QWOP might not be worth hours of dedication, but for quick diversions, it’s easily one of the best games to play when bored online.
As for how somebody with such basic coordination skills managed to find his way into a foot race or even dress himself, that's a question for another day.
Games can just be for fun, but they can also be useful tools in finding new and engaging mental experiences. Trivia Machine takes this path, as it tests different levels of knowledge in a wide range of themes and disciplines.
From three different challenge levels of Elementary, Scholar, and Genius, Trivia Machine is one of the best games to play when bored online to challenge a player, and maybe even help them learn something new.
As an older title, Trivia Machine can sometimes require BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint to work correctly on certain browsers, so keep that in mind.
Otherwise, whether the title is used to improve knowledge or challenge other player’s high scores, Trivia Machine only gets better, and easier, with time.
Cookie Clicker was the game that started the clicker game craze, and for many players, it's still the best in the business. Built on the idea of slow growth, those after the best games to play when bored online for long periods need look no further than Cookie Clicker.
The way the game works is by, well, clicking. At first, players simply click to earn cookies, to accumulate as many as possible. Aiding in this pursuit are cookie-making Grandmas, factories, light-bending cookie prisms, and even Elder Gods drawing from Lovecraftian inspiration.
Eventually, players will reach a point where they can reset their progress and start again with a larger cookie multiplier, repeating the process over and over.
Sometimes the best online games to play when bored online never stop, and Cookie Clicker holds this attitude close to its sugary heart.
A game called Flappy Bird became all the rage a few years ago due to its simple and addicting nature. Widely regarded as one of the best games to play when bored online at the time, Flappy Bird was actually a clone of an older game – Helicopter.
Helicopter, first released in 2004, quickly became all the rage in high schools and workplaces as players competed in what was a deceptively difficult title.
Like with Flappy Bird, players controlling Helicopter do so by pressing to guide the namesake through a range of vertical obstacles. Since the machine quickly falls to gravity, finding the right balance is tricky.
Following crashes in Helicopter, players will usually hear announcements of unfairness, and then the player claiming how much better they can do. Rinse and repeat dozens of times, and it's no wonder Helicopter is one of the internet's best games to play when you're bored.
Some games can be instantly playable with just a glance. Others, like Dwarf Fortress, can require an immense amount of reading and preparation before achieving even a base level of understanding.
This can be an instant turnoff for many, but for those who put in the effort, Dwarf Fortress is often considered a contender for one of the best games to play when bored online.
Playing Dwarf Fortress means setting out with a small Dwarf settlement and bracing it against the threat of the coming monster horde.
While appearing simple due to the original's use of ASCII imagery, the gameplay beneath the surface of Dwarf Fortress is some of the most complicated gaming has ever seen. It might take some time to learn, but as every fan will tell you, the effort is worth it.
Games you choose to play when you're bored online are often relaxing, but sometimes all you want is a challenge. For gamers in this group, Meat Boy can be a perfect choice.
This is a platform game and one which doesn't pull its punches in putting players through their paces.
Beating a level in Meat Boy is simple, in theory. Get to the exit of each small screen, and continue through the game, it's that easy. The only things in the player's way are spikes, saws, monsters, and jumps that appear completely impossible until they’re not.
This game was so popular that it went on to inspire a direct (and much harder) sequel, so for anyone who loves Meat Boy, the challenge isn’t over yet.
The Tower Defense genre was once one of the most popular forms of online robot games, and while it might no longer hold that position, the games are still undeniably great.
Perfect Tower 2 is a, well, perfect illustration of one of the best games of any genre, to give a shot at when bored online. It might look simple at first, but stick with it, and eventually, the reason for simple graphics will make itself known.
The goal seems easy, just stop the enemy cubes from reaching and destroying the base tower. With each new wave, more enemies arrive, with battles growing increasingly frantic.
Players of Perfect Tower 2 will eventually be fighting off thousands of monsters at once, all while building their base and engaging in minigames. Like with Cookie Clicker, there’s an idle element to this one, so players don’t have to stay active if they don’t choose to.
No matter a player’s choice of games to play when they are bored online, we've collected enough information here that nobody will be left wanting. Even better, these games aren’t locked to PC as they used to be, so players can engage through whichever avenue they think is best.
Whether on a home computer, MacBook, mobile phone, or any other device, there are no wrong answers – so feel free to experiment, and choose whatever feels right to you!