7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick

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games you can run off usbFill your USB stick with great games, so you can play even on computers that don’t allow you to install software.

Whether you’re at work, the library or even someone else’s house, sometimes you cannot – or simply don’t want to – install a game on a computer. But what if you could take some games with you on a USB drive, and play them on any Windows computer? Turns out you can with a wide variety of software – all of it portable.

Find below my humble attempt to outline some of the best portable games out there. You’ll find shooters, strategy games and platformers – there should be something for everyone. Please note: most (not all) of these downloads requires the Portable Apps Suite, so be sure to look into that software if you’re confused by the .PAF files you’ve downloaded.

AssaultCube: First Person Shooter

You can put a first person shooter on your flash drive, right now, and take it to work. Don’t believe me? Download the portable version of AssaultCube.

Our own Ryan claims this game combines some of the best features from a variety of shooters, and it even offers a LAN multiplayer mode – so you could get your entire office in on the whole “not working” thing.

games you can run off usb

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Cave Story: Perfect Tribute To 8-Bit

Prefer your shooting games to be two-dimensional? You’re not alone, and this beauty of a game is one of the best. Cave Story’s been around since 2004, but it looks, sounds and feels at least a decade older than that. But it’s not derivative – there’s a lot more here than meets the eye. You’ll be hooked.

games you can run off a flash drive

Read more about Cave Story, or go ahead and download the game. Everything you need to run this game is in a single folder, so you can easily run it off your flash drive (though you’ll need to apply a language patch – see the site for instructions).

FreeCiv: Empire Building

Strategy games are great fun, and Civilization is among the best. FreeCiv isn’t a perfect replica of Microprose’s classic, but it comes pretty close – and is completely free.

games you can run off a flash drive

Games like this are a lot easier to get away with playing at work – turn your monitor away and you’ll basically look like you’re focusing. Not to encourage time theft, but you get the idea.

Read more about FreeCiv, or go ahead and download the portable version of the game from Portable Apps.

Battle For Wesnoth: Turn-Based Strategy

Take your time to think. Battle For Wesnoth is a turn-based adventure game with fantastic music and an immersive plot. It’s a game you’re going to want to take with you everywhere once you have it.

games you can run off a flash drive

Read more about Battle For Wesnoth, or download the portable version of the game from Portable Apps.

Hedge Wars: Worms-like Strategy

Remember Worms? It was a classic in the 90’s, combining slapstick with realtime strategy. Hedge Wars takes that concept and runs with it – and it’s a blast.

usb games

Read more about Hedge Wars or download the portable version of the game from Portable Apps

OpenTTD: Transportation Simulator

Transit Tycoon Deluxe is, over a decade later, an absolute favorite game for many – but no update seems to be coming. Luckily there’s OpenTTD, a free version of this classic available to everyone. Managing a public transportation doesn’t sound like fun, but the challenge of it is strangely addictive.

usb games

Read more about OpenTTD, or download the portable version of the game from Portable Apps.

Grab The Windows XP Classic Games

Windows 8 denies you even the basic games that came with Windows by default. Don’t panic, though, because if you’re got a Windows XP CD lying around you can grab Minesweeper, Solitaire and the rest quickly. Even better: once you have the files you can run these games on any computer, from your USB drive.

usb games

Stick Minecraft On Your USB Drive

Do you wish you could play Minecraft as school, but can’t because you cannot install software? You’re in luck, because there’s a tutorial for putting Minecraft on your USB key over at MineCraftForum.net. It’s long, but it just might be worth it.

Retro Gaming Made Portable

Love retro gaming? Fill your USD drive with retro emulators, then.

games you can run off usb

We’ve outlined major emulators for three eras of gaming, and most of these are portable apps as-is. Fill your USB drive with ROMs and these pieces of software and you’ll be good to go. Check out these articles for more details:

What Did We Miss?

Using this list and you can play pretty much any kind of game directly from your USB drive.

I’m curious, though, what else can we add? Let me know what portable games you find in the comments below, and together we’ll build the ultimate USB of portable games for Windows!

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Comments (39)
  • Anonymous

    How about Angry Birds and Super Mario Brothers X?

    • Justin Pot

      I did not know there was a portable version of Angry Birds! Where can you get it?

      As for Super Mario Bros X, good one!

  • XxAnimeReaperxX

    You can also have halo games unreal tournament 2004 and half life i have them all on mine just make sure you keep all the files it comes with on the drive

    • Justin Pot

      A few other commenters have pointed this out, I’ll have to check it out sometime!

  • Harry

    If you do have a disk copy of Half-Life lying around, you could put that onto your flash drive, along with Counter-Strike!

  • Anon

    Unreal, Unreal Tournament, Halo, Age of Empires II w/ 2.0e, most emulators

    Portable gaming has more to do with the game engine than the specific game. Mostly all Unreal Engine 1 games run from USB.

  • Gabriel K

    Minecraft goes pretty good on usb

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.