Best aol games to play online - 2023

Overview of AOL Games

America Online, or AOL, was once the premier ISOlated Intranet Service that offered dial-up internet access. Launched in 1985, AOL peaked at over 10 million subscribers in 2002. Naturally, such a massive userbase required top-notch entertainment, birthing thousands of AOL games.

In fact, AOL became one of the world’s biggest distributors of free online games back in the day. You could play AOL games in genres like action, arcade, sports, strategy, puzzle, education, gambling, and more. The library had something for everyone.

The good news is that many classic AOL game downloads are available on modern platforms like PC, Mac, Android, and iOS. Our experts did the hard work and separated the wheat from the chaff. We’ll review the best AOL games ever created below.

Best Gambling Games on AOL

This list of the best old AOL games focuses on gambling titles, seeing as this is a gambling guide. AOL had countless poker, blackjack, slots, horse racing, and other gaming machines. Some were developed by big names in the industry, while others were made by amateur programmers.

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You can still play some of these amazing AOL games FREE. If you’re curious which they are, scroll down and find the section titled “Where to Play AOL Games.” If you’re eager to start your engines and dive right into the best AOL games, here’s a top 5 ranking:

  • Puggy’s Poker Palace – Best AOL poker game
  • Luck ‘n’ Jackpot – Top AOL slot machine
  • Vegas Nights – Premier AOL gambling game
  • War of Blackwell – Great AOL blackjack variation
  • Derby 2 – Finest AOL horse betting racer

Puggy’s Poker Place – Best AOL Poker Game

Why is Puggy’s Poker Place the best AOL poker game? For starters, it has all the popular variations of the century’s most played card game. You can sit with an virtual avatar and enjoy Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, 7 Card Stud, and other .

Puggy’s Poker Place also has play money tournaments with hundreds of players. (That’s more than most online poker rooms had back in the day). This AOL gambling game even had webcam support, allowing you to see your opponents’ avatars.

Lastly, Puggy’s Poker Place had different difficulty settings. Newbies could learn poker fundamentals against dumb computers, while pros could try to outwit veteran grinders for bragging rights. Whether you want a free AOL game download for XP or a trip down memory lane, Puggy’s Poker Palace won’t disappoint.

Luck ‘n’ Jackpot – Top AOL Slots Machine

Slots have always been the gambling world’s most popular activity. Even in the early 2000s, when were king, one AOL gambling game managed to stand out above all else—Luck ’n’ Jackpot. This spinning beauty boasted awesome graphics, fun sounds, and multiple reel configurations.

Truth be told, AOL had tons of great slot machines. From Red, White & Blue to Big Wheel and Super Dice, America Online’s library was rich in one-armed bandits. Nevertheless, Luck ‘n’ Jackpot stands the test of time better than the rest.

Besides spinning the reels for dollars (well, for dollars’ worth in AOL credits), you could challenge your friends in head-to-head matches. Another unique feature of Luck ‘n’ Jackpot was the bonus stage where monkeys threw coconuts at sketches of fruits. If a coconut hit the sweet spot, you won. How cute is that?

Vegas Nights – Premiere AOL Casino Game

Is Vegas Nights a game or a dream come true? It’s both, really. Created by Simon & Vincent Productions, Vegas Nights is an AOL free game download that lets you experience the glamour of Sin City without spending a dime. Well, you couldn’t play it for free on AOL but anyways...

So, what makes Vegas Nights the premier AOL casino game? First, it offers seven different gambling activities: roulette, craps, slots, keno, poker, blackjack, and horse racing. Second, it features voiceovers by GSN’s famous game show host, Antony MS Drew. Lastly, Vegas Nights has a story mode where you try to climb the ladder in Las Vegas.

Of course, you could just ignore the main story and focus on the side missions. Each of Vegas Night’s seven mini-games has its own set of objectives that unlock extra backgrounds, soundtracks, and avatars. If you like , make sure you revive this oldie but goodie.

War of Blackwell – Great AOL Blackjack Variation

Did you know that America Online’s founder, Steve Case, is a blackjack expert? That might explain why AOL had so many card-counting games back in the day. According to our AOL games history research, users could enjoy dozens of blackjack variates via AOL gaming rooms.

The pick of the litter is War of Blackwell, a steampunk masterpiece that pits you against the dealer’s hand. Like all the best AOL casino games, this title features a single-player mode, multiplayer tables, and custom avatirs. Oh, and it plays perfectly via emulator on modern systems.

Another thing that sets War of Blackwell apart from other AOL casino games is its plot. Apparedly, all the cards in the deck have been imbued with souls by a mad scientist named Blackwell. Your goal is to beat his minions and put an end to his wicked experiment. Sounds cool, huh?

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Derby 2 – Finest AOL Horse Betting Racer

Horse racing games weren’t very popular outside of the simulation genre. There were no Need for Speed: Kentucky Derby titles or Forza Horizon: Dubai World Cup editions. However, AOL had Derby 2, which allowed gamblers to bet on digital steeds and hope for the best.

Obviously, AOL horse betting games aren’t as popular as they were two decades ago. However, Derby 2 remains an iconic part of America Online’s history. Truth be told, this game isn’t as exciting as the other entries on our AOL gambling games list.

It doesn’t have a story mode, multiplayer features, or voice acting. All you can do in Derby 2 is picking your horse, checking the stats, and placing your bets. The AI then simulates the race via a series of animated frames. If your mount wins, you get paid according to your bet slip. Still, Derby 2 is a must-try for AOL retro gamers.

Best Action AOL Games

Action covers a broad spectrum of gaming experiences. Some of the best AOL games ever featured platformers, others focused on shooters, and there were even racing simulators. In this section of our AOL games review, we’ll concentrate on the former.

Platformers were the bread and butter of early console/computer gaming. Jump & Run adventures arrived on the scene alongside video game consoles and never left. America Online had numerous gems in this genre, but only one can top our best old aol games ranking.

  • Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure – Best AOL platformer
  • Agent Derrick – Premier espionage AOL game
  • Roadkill – Great AOL car game

Cosmos’ Cosmic Adventure – Best AOL Platformer

Jump, run, jump again, collect coins, defeat bosses—we’ve all played a hundred of these games. Actually, we’ve probably played a hundred Super Mario Bros. Clones. Cosmos’ Cosmic Adventure falls into the same category but deserves some credit for being one of the best AOL free online games of all time.

According to the readme file included with the installation package, Cosmos’ Cosmic Adventure cost $25,000 and three man-years of development. Herman Tong, the game’s creator, wanted to offer it for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh, but only got an answer from AOL. Thus, Cosmos’ Cosmic Adventure became an exclusive AOL game download.

Tong received $25,000 plus a share of the profits for his trouble. Needless to say, AOL had the scoop of the decade and allowed users to play this epic platformer for free. Critics praised Cosmos’ Cosmic Adventure for its graphics, music, and level design. A sequel came out in 2000, but it wasn’t as good as the original.

Agent Derrick – Premier Espionage AOL Game

If you like playing , you’ll certainly enjoy Agent Derrick. This AOL spy game puts you in the shoes of secret agent Derrick, who must stop a notorious criminal organization known as The Syndicate. You do that across five locations (New York, Paris, Berlin, London, and Sydney) featuring nine levels in total.

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Each level presents a different challenge, such as sneaking past guards, picking locks, hacking computers, shooting bad guys, or dodging lasers. Agent Derrick is one of those old AOL games that attempt to recreate the entire Metal Gear Solid experience. And they kind of pull it off.

Like all the best AOL games, this title features cinematics, cutscenes, voice acting, and various difficulty modes. Of course, it’s not Kiefer Sutherland narrating the story or anything, but it’s decent enough for a free AOL game download. If you can’t get enough MGS and are looking for a retro fix, download Agent Derrick and have a blast.

Roadkill – Great AOL Car Game

Racing simulators didn’t exist back in the days of AOL 5.0. At best, you could enjoy some simple like IndyCar Simulator or NASCAR Racing. But if you were looking for a twisted mix between Crazy Taxi and Carmageddon, you’d play Roadkill. This is why it’s the greatest AOL car game ever made.

As stated in the README.TXT file delivered with the installer, Roadkill cost $50,000 to develop. Herman Tong created it in 1998, but it wasn’t until 1999 that this game became available for AOL users. Roadkill supports both Windows 95/98 and Macintosh versions, although the latter doesn’t boast full OpenGL support.

The concept behind Roadkill is simple yet efficient—drive around a city packed with pedestrians, run them over, cause traffic accidents, earn cash, and buy new vehicles/skins. Unlike Beam Software’s Test Drive Cycles or Anyplace Sports’ Hardball V Enhanced, this title allows you to mow people down with delightful cartoon graphics. Highly recommended!

Best Strategy AOL Games

Strategy is the most intellectually stimulating genre out there. While some folks enjoyed blowing stuff up in AOL shooters, smart alecks were planning global domination via turn-based warfare. America Online supported all kinds of gamers back in the day.

There were real-time battles (Warlords), turn-based confrontations (Global Conquest), sci-fi clashes (Alien Invasion), medieval skirmishes (Castles I & II), and more. With so many great AOL strategy games at their disposal, modern turn-based tactics like XCOM: Enemy Unknown truly have big shoes to fill.

With all these amazing AOL strategy games, choosing the top three was no easy feat. Fortunately, one of them stood out above all else. Read below to find the best strategy AOL game and its rivals.

  • Alien Invasion – Best AOL strategy game
  • Warlords – Finest real-time AOL strategy title
  • Castles II – Great AOL medieval strategy game
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Alien Invasion – Best AOL Strategy Game

Aliens are everywhere nowadays. There were no Avatars, no Hunger Games, no Walking Dead before the arrival of James Cameron’s blockbuster. Suddenly, xenomorphs were hot property, and every developer wanted a slice of the alien pie. Id software served us Aliens vs. Predator, Westwood unleashed Command & Conquer: Red Alert, and Stormfront Studios released…Stormwind Keep? Whaaat?

OK, OK, Stormwind Keep wasn’t exactly a rival for Dune 2000 or Warcraft II. It was more of a turn-based tactical affair along the lines of Jagged Alliance or X-Com: UFO Defense. However, it was also a free AOL game download set in the sci-fi genre, so let’s give Stormfront’s designers a round of applause.

Alien Invasion supports hotseat and email turn-based modes, plus it packs four campaigns (Marine, Alien, Colonial Marine Squad Leader expansions), random maps, and more than 100 units. The only downside is that it takes place on Earth, long after the events depicted in Aliens. Oh well, at least we got to face-hug army managers back on our PCs or Macs.

Warlords – Finest Real-Time AOL Strategoy Title

Although AOL had plenty of turn-based strategy games like Stormfront Studios’ Alien Invasion, it lacked quality real-time affairs. Stormfront tried to fill the gap with Age of Empires, but the result was rather mediocre. Fortunately, Paragon Economics came up with Warlords, which became the finest real-time AOL strategy title.

Like all the best AOL strategy games, Warlords features hotseat and email play options. You can engage in combat on random maps with up to seven players, each controlling one of the seven factions (Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Japanese, Persian, Roman, or Viking). There is no campaign mode, however, which is a shame.

On the bright side, this free AOL game download boasts 3D graphics, day/night cycles, tech trees, and tons of troop varieties. Despite its name, Warlords is not a city-building title like Pharaoh or Zeus: Master of Olympus. It’s a real-time strategy game through and through. Highly recommended if you like Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft series.

Castles II – Great AOL Medieval Strategy Game

Our AOL games history research shows that users liked medieval times more than any other era. That might explain why there were dozens of Castles clones flooding the AOL gaming rooms. The original Castles was developed by Steve Marshall and published in 1997 as Shareware. Its success led to the creation of Castles II, which became an AOL exclusive.

Like the original, Castles II: Siege Mode places you in charge of a medieval castle under siege. Your task is to repel the enemy forces and survive until reinforcements arrive. To do that, you recruit soldiers, build traps, fortify walls, and launch counterattacks. Simple, right?

Compared to the original Castles, this sequel boasts better graphics, sounds, and AI. As you may have guessed, it cannot be played online—only in hotseat mode versus human opponents. If you like tower defense games and can look past the outdated visuals, Castles II will keep you entertained for hours. It’s easily one of the best free AOL games ever made.

Best Educational AOL Games

Who says learning can’t be fun? Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, AOL was home to some of the best educational games ever created. Our experts found math, reading, geography, history, physics, chemistry, biology, music, art, and language learning titles. Check out some of the top educational AOL games:

  • Jeopardy! – Best AOL trivia game
  • MathBlaster Junior – Premier AOL math game
  • Geographymania – Great AOL geography game
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Jeopardy! – Best AOL Trivia Game

Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros., Tetris—all great games in their own right. But nothing beats the sheer intellectual satisfaction of answering trivia questions correctly. That’s why Jeopardy! is the best trivia game on AOL.

Sure, there were other AOL games like Jeopardy! back in the day. Game Tech’s Wheel of Fortune was excellent, and so was IBM’s Trivia. However, this AOL free online game based on the legendary TV show is in a class of its own.

Jeopardy! was created by Activision and released in 1997. It features single- and multiplayer modes, three difficulty levels, and all the categories from the actual show. The idea is simple: browse through the categories, select a value, and answer questions in response to three types of clues (word phrases, answers, value). If you enjoy playing AOL games free editions like Minesweeper, you’ll love Jeopardy!

MathBlaster Jr. – Premier AOL Math Game

Back in the late 90s, there were few things more embarrassing than asking your teacher to help you with algebra. Fortunately, we had MathBlaster Jr., an AOL math game that turned arithmetic into a space shooting adventure.

Although this title was developed by Knowledge Adventure for Microsoft Windows, it also became available on AOL in 1999. MathBlaster Jr. Is designed for kids aged six to nine, with lessons covering addition, subtraction, time, money, measurement, and more.

At the beginning of each mission, CBiz, the tutorial spaceship captain, identifies the child’s skill level via several questions. Then, the little spaceman is sent on a series of math-based missions where he/she must shoot down answered questions and avoid wrong ones. If you’re wondering whether there are AOL free games for kids, the answer is YES—and they don’t come better than MathBlaster Jr.

Geographymania – Great AOL Geography Game

“What is the capital of France?”

This classic quiz show question would stump about half of all adults out there. Fortunately, there were (and are) games like Geographymania that teach geography in a fun way.

Unlike other AOL games like Jeopardy!, this title focuses exclusively on countries, capitals, flags, and currencies. You can choose between several game modes, including the classic one that puts a random country on the screen and asks you to identify it via various criteria.

Other AOL geography games failed to deliver the same level of fun and efficiency as Geographymania. Sure, there were classics like SimCity’s SimEarth and the Settlers franchise, but nobody could match Maxis’ game in terms of straight-up geographical knowledge. Want to learn about the world without reading boring textbooks? Download Geographymania ASAP!

Best Miscellaneous AOL Games

The previous sections of our AOL games review focused on specific categories. Now, we’re going to cover all the titles that cannot be labeled as puzzlers, shooters, racers, gamblers, strategists, or educators. These are the best miscellaneous AOL games—the ones that defy conventions and push boundaries.

As you can see, AOL’s library was incredibly rich in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Users could play simulators, manage teams, conduct experiments, play musical instruments, and more. Unfortunately, none of these games lived up to Cosmos’ Cosmic Adventure or Alien Invasion in terms of criticism acclaim or popularity.

One of these titles certainly deserved a place in our top ten ranking, but which one? We’ll leave it up to you to decide which is the best miscellaneous AOL game. Read the following descriptions and then visit an AOL games free site to test them out for yourself.

  • SimLife – Best AOL life simulator
  • GM – Premier AOL guitar simulation
  • Elements – Coolest AOL science simulator
  • Tycoon 2000 – Great AOL business management game

SimLife – Best AOL Life Simulator

Maxis’ God Particle Series was not completed until 2003 with the release of Black & White. Until then, the studio kept AOL gamers busy with classics like SimCity, SimTower, SimFarm, and SimLife. Of the aforementioned titles, SimLife is undoubtedly the best AOL life simulator.

Like all the best AOL free online games of this genre, SimLife allows players to observe the growth of living organisms. However, this title goes beyond the usual cell splitting and tries to recreate the complexity of nature in all its forms. You can even upload your own DNA (!) via a TXT file.

First, you must choose between abiogenesis (spontaneous generation of life) or seeding (starting with existing creatures). Then, you enter the evolution phase, during which your species fight for survival via sex, predator-prey dynamics, mutations, and tools making. Finally, you can end the simulation and analyze the results. If you like Populous or Black & White, you’ll definitely dig this AOL game.

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GM – Premier AOL Guitar Simulation

Playing an instrument is not easy, especially if you’ve never taken a lesson. That’s why GM (for Guitar Menus) was such a handy tool back in the day. This AOL music game allowed users to strum acoustic or electric guitars via their keyboards.

We’ve seen similar programs under DOS like Flying Fingers and Bouncing Balls, but GM took the cake because, well, you could play it online. Moreover, this TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) utility was so popular that it became an integral part of many AOL games.

All you needed to run GM was a PC compatible with MS-DOS and a MIDI synthesizer/sound module. You could then use the function keys as fret buttons and the number row as strings. Voila! Instant guitar solos courtesy of AOL music games. Too bad there are no AOL free sites offering GM these days.

Elements – Coolest AOL Science Simulator

What do you get when you cross SimCity with Chemical Plant Danger! ? The answer is Pangea Software’s Elements, one of the coolest AOL science simulators ever made.

As you may have deduced from the title, Elements is a take on the periodic table. Your task is to create new elements by combining the ones already discovered. Each element has certain properties, so you must pay attention to how you arrange them on the playfield. Oh, and there are disasters too.

Like all the best AOL strategy games, Elements supports hotseat and email multiplayer modes. Up to eight players can mess around on the same map, trying to create the heaviest known element. The last stable element wins! If you’re into sandbox games like Digger or LittleBigPlanet, you’ll adore this AOL game.

Play AOL Games Free Online Now

Now that you’ve learned all about the best AOL games, it’s time to put theory into practice. The easiest way of doing that is visiting an AOL games free website. Unfortunately, most of the classic AOL titles are no longer accessible online due to copyright issues.

However, there are a few exceptions. You can play classic AOL games like Jeopardy!, checkers, chess, and tic-tac-toe on various websites, so let’s check the best of them.

AOL Retro Games at MiniGame

MiniGame is a small but elegant website offering classic AOL games free versions in your browser. As of our last update, this page had three throwback apps, including Jeopardy! Archive Edition.

Launched in 1997, Jeopardy! was activated for a whole year before being deactivated forever. MiniGame still hosts the Alex Jordan Production’s trivia game, so you can enjoy it via your browser. No downloads or registrations required.

Besides Jeopardy!, MiniGame also features a checkers app developed by Donner Development and a tic-tac-toe title created by David Schwartz. Both are pretty basic but should kill some time if you’re desperate for AOL free games. Visit now 

AOL Games Free Downloads at OldGamesolutions

OldGamesolutions is a huge database of vintage PC games, including some AOL classics. If you’re looking for AOL free games to download and play offline, this is the place.

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OldGamesolutions features screenshots, videos, manuals, and box art for all AOL games listed on the site. More importantly, you can download a setup file and install any of these apps on your Windows PC. No online connection is required after the initial setup, so you can play anytime anywhere. Pretty neat!

Examples of AOL games you can download from OldGamesolutions are Jeopardy!, Marble Madness, Missile Command, Lights Out, Checkers, Tic-Tac-Toe, and Reversi. As you can see, most of these are AOL logic games, but there are others genres represented as well. Check out the collection at .

AOL Gambling Games at LittleCesars

LittleCesars is not an AOL free games site per se. On the contrary, this page is all about casino games and requires registration and deposits to play. However, accepts fake gold for wagers, so it’s sort of like AOL poker and blackjack.

Using virtual credits, you can play slots, roulette, keno, video poker, and more. Mind you; these are not the AOL blackjack games developed by VGT or IGT but similar apps powered by SoftGams and Proprietary. The selection is limited compared to’s real-money casino, but it’s enough to satisfy any gambling animal out there.

If you’re at least 18 years old, you can access’s AOL casino games from any US state except for Washington and Idaho. Other US states may allow this site, but we advise you to check your local laws before creating a fake ID and depositing cash. After all, you’re looking for free AOL casino games, not trouble with the law. 

AOL Games Free Downloads & Online Alternatives

This page presents free AOL games downloads and online alternatives for retro fans. If you miss the good old days when AOL was the only ISP and Bill Clinton was the president of the United States, you can relive those moments by playing Jeopardy!, checkers, and tic-tac-toe.

We have provided direct links to AOL games free websites and installation files. Remember that old AOL gambling games can be played for free credits at if you live in most US states. It’s better to stay away from real gambling, though. Cash prizes kinda spoil the fun of vintage AOL card and table games.

If you like these oldies but goodies, wait till you see the best classic casino games online. We have prepared a separate list with the top old school casino sites and games. For further reference, check our guide