7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick

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portablegames 300   7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB StickFill 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.Β 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.

assault2   7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick

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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.

cavestory2   7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick

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.

freeciv7   7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick

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.

wesnoth4   7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick

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.

hedgewars gameplay 1   7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick

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.

openttd   7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick

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.

xpgames folder   7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick

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.

zsnessave   7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick

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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33 Comments - Write a Comment



I think the classic cube 2 engine, lying underneath assaultcube works too? I thought it was packaged.



Civilization is by Microprose, not Microsoft.

Justin Pot

Oops…will fix it when I have access. Thanks for the tip.


J Enrique F

Has anyone played Carmen Sandiego? I used to play it long long long time ago, it was a lot of fun… I think you can run it from a usb stick too…
I’m gonna go look for it now :D


Eian Ampoloquio

Great USB Games suggestion.. can’t think of any to suggest.


Adly Asraf

Been playing Cave Story for years now. Great games suggestion by the way.


Pooky Joralyn

Portable games like chess or sudoku

Justin Pot

Yeah, you can find those at PortableApps as well. There are more than a few options.



It’s good to see “Cave Story” amongst this list, because it’s one of my all-time favorite games, commercial or otherwise! I highly recommend this game if you have any interest in action/platform shooters. It would have definitely been a smash hit if it was released commercially on a 16-bit console back in the day.

And… I hate to be “that guy,” but “Worms” was actually a turn-based game, not a realtime game. Still, “Hedgewars” is a must-play, especially as a party game if you’ve got some friends/family over.


Aditya Roy

pocket tanks… :)

Justin Pot

Good one!


Adrian Barat

I like AssaultCube. Great game for a portable version.


Mohit Kumar

Thanks for sharing such an article but these games are not so much popular.

Justin Pot

Yeah, portable gaming is limited – commercial game developers don’t want their titles to be portable for obvious reasons.


Nohl Lyons

This article would be even better if it mentioned some Mac apps.

Justin Pot

That’s kind of pointless, because every Mac app is portable. Just stick that sucker on a USB!



You could try Liero. It’s a pretty fun game that keeps with the style of Worms, but has real-time gameplay instead of turn-based. There’s also a settings menu where you can set so many different options that can generally destroy everything and go everywhere. It can be terribly addictive, but it’s brilliant fun. http://www.liero.be/


Mr. Marcus

I like the fact that I can now carry the “good ole classics” like Minesweeper, Solitaire etc that came with XP, man I kinda’ miss my XP OS…**chuckle**


Assif Rock

bad game…



World of Warcraft is portable…

Justin Pot

For serious? That’s awesome! If I do another such list it will make the cut for sure.


I play it from a portable hard drive, never tried it on a usb stick. You do of course need a net connection though.



You can also play Dwarf Fortress from USB; if you are masochistic enough to play it, that is.



Mario, Dave, Limbo



Another good one, if you like RTS and your memory stick is large enough (at least 1 GB, 2 GB for full features) is installing Starcraft 1, then copying it over onto the memory stick after you have it at the last, latest patch. If you want full features, install Broodwar before copying to the flash drive, (you will need 1.5 GB at least on the drive, the original without expansion requires at least 700 MB) and you can play a great late 90’s game for the PC where ever you are.

What’s better, with the latest patch, LAN over TCP/IP is enabled so you can play this with workmates. The game works great on all latest OS (not tried Win8) with the exception of Windows Vista/7. There are minor graphical bugs, but you can still play fully. To fix those, it helps to have access to the task manager so you can end process of explorer and then restart when you’ve finished.

Justin Pot

Great tip! I’m sure you’ve lowed the global GDP with this potential workplace distraction. :)


Cheryl Buchholtz

If you have never accessed this site you are missing something. As a complete novice in many new programs and apps, I have made copies which I filed into books of every guide and cheat I needed. Today I found an unofficial guide for the new Windows 360. I am sure after a little study of this pdf, I will better understand the program and how to use it efficiently. http://www.makeusof.com provides great services.


Ning Fu




What about Terraria! It should definitely be up there.

Justin Pot

Well, now it’s down here! And that’s pretty good.



the old Serious Sam:The second encounter . also worked no on-line though

Justin Pot

It’s awesome how many older games work this way!


Gabriel K

Minecraft goes pretty good on usb

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