Free Games, No Really

It’s not a secret that tons of people search Google for “free games.” Who doesn’t want something free? And given that most mobile games are already “free to play” (FTP), why not PC games?

Most PC games are “premium”, which means that you pay for them. Free games are a less popular way to enjoy PC games, and also tend to be smaller in size and playing time…more of a taste than a full meal. But they are an excellent way to experiment with new game genres.

What does it mean to say that a game is free on a PC?

Not surprisingly, the developer/publisher needs to be compensated somehow. The gameplayer ends up paying with their time and attention. In other words, by watching different types of ads.

There are ads at the beginning of the game, then mid-roll ads appear between levels or wherever it won’t interfere with gameplay. Finally, watching rewarded ads give the gameplayer something they want within the game in exchange for watching an ad.

Hopefully you’ve noticed that on Legacy Games, we recently started to offer a selection of free games to play online. The number and variety of games will grow over the next few months, as we determine exactly what our customers like to play.

There are free games that change up every day, called Daily Games, which feature tried and true word games, Sudoku, and solitaire.

For our more adventurous players, we host a few multiplayer games where the gameplayer is automatically paired with another gamer in a competitive match, like Words with Buddies.

There are a few free hidden object games as well as free match 3 games, like Candy Riddles and Home Makeover.

The free puzzle games are a mishmash of some of my favorite game genres… everything from jigsaw and crossword puzzles to spot the difference to bubble popper and more. Surprisingly, our most popular free games are what are known as merge games. In these games, players need to drag the same or similar items and merge them together. Once this is done, these items then turn into new and improved items. Tropical Merge is an excellent example of this up and coming style of game.

In addition to offering our customers another way to enjoy games, we are also hoping that they will learn about new, interesting game genres they haven’t played before.

Now that the these games are free, we’ve taken the risk out of experimenting. Trying out the free browser version of a time management game like Smurfs Cooking, for example, will expose the player to just how much fun that style of game is, even though they may have thought that they only liked playing hidden object games.

One last thing… we’ll be bringing you new games every two weeks!

Yes, that’s right! Keep your eyes on our ever-changing New and Leaving Soon sections as we select the best new games to bring you, from all different genres!

Live now, we have the viral, unique BitLife Simulator where you make choices to play with life itself, Hidden Cats Detective Agency for the hidden objects fans and cat lovers, and The Mergest Kingdom from the same developers as our most popular game, Tropical Merge!

Plus, there’s 6 additional games for you to explore that have been curated for excellent quality. We hope you love these picks as much as we do.

So please check out all of our free games. My personal favorite is Pets Rush and Lines but we’d love to know what you think and how we can improve the new free online game section of the Legacy Games website.

2022 – A Year of Changes

Despite the fact that Legacy Games will turn 25 years old in 2023, there have been so many changes this year that I like to think of Legacy as a startup business. We’re questioning everything we do, and experimenting all the time. It definitely makes for an interesting end-of-year summary, so let’s get started.

  • While our digital store, at, is only 2 1/2 years old, it’s working remarkably well. We sold more than twice as many units in November 2022 compared to the previous year!
  • At the start of 2022, Legacy had 66 casual game packs to sell. Guess how many we have now? We have a total of 114 game packs, with new ones coming every week. Thanks to our great business partners who trust us to sell their games ethically and profitably. One of our new game packs includes Ancient Aliens, a Legacy Original title, based on the popular History Channel TV show, and of which we are very proud.
  • What was just a possibility became reality in 2022. We opened PC game stores on both and Amazon in April and started to sell DVDs with bonus digital codes. Customers can play with or without internet access, with or without DVD drives. Ecommerce sales have grown rapidly since then, increasing approximately 20% per month.
  • Also starting in April, in partnership with Amazon, we launched monthly Amazon Prime Promotions. The impact of this monthly promotion cannot be overstated in terms of the increase to Legacy’s website traffic and new customer accounts from all over the world. This caused some long days and nights as our team worked to increase our server capacity. If you noticed some technical issues with our website in the past few months, you now know why.
  • In October, we launched our first FTP (free-to-play) mobile and PC game ever! Pearls of Atlantis is a unique game, described by one reviewer as “an upside down bubble shooter with physics.” It hooks you immediately. There is a sharp learning curve associated with designing a FTP game, a crash course in confusing acronyms like LTV, DAU, ARPDAU, CTR, CPM, etc. While there is lots more work to do, the early results are promising, with new features, live events, and game levels planned by our wonderful development partner, Alder Games. Try it on PC or mobile, and let us know what you think!
  • We have 15 boxes on the shelves at Walmart stores this Christmas, but each year that business becomes more challenging. COGs (cost of goods) rose rapidly in 2022 and together with supply chain issues caused our retail profit margins to decline. Our crystal ball is a little cloudy about this channel of distribution, so stay tuned for more news in 2023.
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So here is the $64,000 question. What can you, our esteemed customers and business partners expect from Legacy next year? Besides more great game packs of course…

1. Our successful cloud streaming partnership with Google ended in October, with the closing of their Stadia platform. We disagreed with and were devastated by that decision. But stay tuned. We’re big fans of streaming technology, which allows customers to play their games on almost any device they choose, and we expect to announce new streaming partnerships in 2023.

2. Legacy completed a 1000-person marketing survey after the massive influx of Amazon Prime customers. They said, by a wide margin, they they would prefer to buy games on our website that are downloadable from Steam. As a result, Legacy will be offering Steam codes on our website in Q1. Look for different types of games, like platformers and action adventure, in our new Steam section, still packaged in our signature game packs.

3. We’ve been watching with interest how browser based online games have improved over the past few years. Newer games offer deeper gameplay, and can be played on a phone or desktop. They are free to the customer, with ads. We certainly don’t think they will replace downloadable games anytime soon, but they offer a casual, quick, and social experience that appeals to a lot of game players. We plan to add some well-curated online games to the Legacy Games website in early 2023.

It’s surprising to me, after 35+ years in the games business, that I continue to enjoy what we do at Legacy Games – finding new and better ways to entertain our customers. And our small but mighty team overcame every challenge this year, with talent, hard work, and grace under pressure. I am grateful to each and every Legacy employee.

I am also deeply grateful to you, our customers and business partners, for your ongoing support. On behalf of the amazing team here at Legacy, may you, your friends and family stay healthy and safe this holiday season. I hope you start the new year recharged and ready for 2023. Thanks for being part of the 25-year story of Legacy Games.

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The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

If you’re looking for something small that will fit into that real or metaphorical stocking over the fireplace, look no further. Our DVDs + bonus digital code packs on Amazon and Walmart are the perfect stocking stuffer, with more than 80 game packs to choose from. Regardless of whether you are looking for hidden object, card, mahjong, puzzle, or match 3 style games, we have a great selection, sure to delight your friends and family.

Two Ways To Play

Play games directly from the DVD without internet OR download the games from the Legacy Games website with the bonus digital codes included in the package. You don’t need a DVD drive to enjoy the games!

Bang for your Buck

With prices as low as $12, you won’t find a better deal anywhere. Each disc contains from 3-15 games, and each game has 3-6 hours of gameplay.

Just In Time for Christmas

Know a fan of mysteries or detective stories? The paranormal? Deep sea adventures? Then check out some of our best selling PC packs on DVD. Or explore even more games in our Amazon and Walmart stores!

Adam Wolfe

Driven by your sister’s mysterious disappearance, take to the brooding streets of San Francisco, where crime and paranormal occurrences intertwine in dark corners.

Adam Wolfe on Amazon | Adam Wolfe on Walmart

Lost Grimoires Collection

An alchemist’s apprentice returns home to train under a great master. Little does she know, the real adventure has only just begun….

Lost Grimoires Collection on Amazon | Lost Grimoires Collection on Walmart

Detective Stories Vol. 2

Solve three chilling cases as the world’s best detectives. With a sense for the supernatural, you’ll tackle cases like you’ve never seen before!

Detective Stories Vol. 2 on Amazon | Detective Stores Vol. 2 on Walmart

Magical Matches Vol. 4

Face fearsome dragons or venture into enchanted forests… the choice is yours in this 10-pack of fantastic match 3 games!

Magical Matches Vol. 4 on Amazon | Magical Matches Vol. 4 on Walmart

Wildcard Adventure Vol. 2

From the mountaintops to the candy realms to the baseball pitch! Ten exciting games await you in this collection of fantastic solitaire and mahjong puzzles.

Wildcard Adventure Vol. 2 on Amazon | Wildcard Adventure Vol. 2 on Walmart

Bring fun and adventure to your friends and family this Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

What’s New Under the Sea

Making good games requires a lot of things…money, creativity, expertise, luck…but most of all it requires patience.  Legacy and its uber talented development partner, Alder Games, have been at work on our new game, Pearls of Atlantis, for more than two years, and it’s finally launched!

But that’s only part of the story. Pearls is just the latest incarnation of this charming mobile/PC game. Ten years ago, Legacy launched the original version of the game (called Atlantis: Pearls of the Deep), described by Gamezebo as “The Best Match 3 Game of 2012”. We still sell the original PC version on our website!

Why did it take so long to create the new game, Pearls of Atlantis, given that the basic gameplay – match 3 with physics – is similar in both games?  Simple answer. Because while the original game focused on match 3 puzzles, the new game includes that plus so much more.  

What constituted a prize winning game ten years ago is no longer competitive given how dramatically the market has changed.

Let’s start with the biggest difference between the games. 

The new Pearls of Atlantis is the first free-to-play game that Legacy has ever created. This style of game, where you can download and play for free, is very common for mobile games, but less so for casual PC games. As the publisher, the only way we make money is if players watch an ad or decide to buy something in the game store that enhances their gameplay in some way, e.g., more “energy” to keep playing, decorations for Atlantis, etc.  

The second big difference between the games is that there are many more things to do in the new Pearls of Atlantis. You can churn through match 3 levels of varying complexity and then play zen mode when you’re looking for a little less challenge. (Both the old and new games offer this.)  However, Pearls of Atlantis also includes a story mode with fun tasks that in turn spawn a variety of powerups that enhance gameplay. 

There is a decoration mode in which you recreate the original beauty of the underwater city of Atlantis. Scoring is new, with leaderboards soon to follow. There are daily and weekly events that challenge you to improve your score and winning chains that result in special currency (shells) you can use elsewhere in the game. And the list goes on.

While the match 3 mechanic is similar in the two games, the gameplay loop is completely different. You play match 3 puzzles in order to earn currency that you can then use in other gameplay modes. The rich story context and multiple modes of the new game, Pearls of Atlantis, provide many more reasons to play and keep playing.

We love Pearls of Atlantis, and think it’s one of the very best games we have ever produced.  Please give it a try and let us know how you think it compares to the original. It’s available for iOS and Android phones. And in another first, it is also available as a free-to-play PC game.  Enjoy!

Welcome Graffiti Games and Curve Digital!

About six months ago, my colleagues and I decided to launch a new game pack every week on Legacy Games. Given that each game pack includes 3, 5, 10 or 15 games, that decision translated into a big effort for everyone involved. Constantine, our intrepid game finder, had to amp up his search for new games to distribute. Amanda, our project manager, worked overtime figuring out which games can be packaged together and how to merchandise them. Magne, our webmaster, swiftly launched the titles on our website as well as Amazon and

At the same time, we made a conscious decision to create more Indie game packs. (We consider Indie games to be games from small developers that introduce some innovation and variety into game play.)

The conversation between me and the team went something like this:

ME: At the rate we are launching new game packs, we will run out of hidden object games sometime in 2022. What should we do?
TEAM: Indie games, especially the puzzle ones, are so much fun to play. Why don’t we sell them?
ME: We could, but do you think our customers will like them?
TEAM: Don’t know. Hidden object games are clearly everyone’s favorite, but they’re just a type of visual puzzle, so maybe?
ME: OK, let’s see what happens. Let’s distribute indie puzzle, arcade, platformer, story games… you know, the family friendly ones. And only those games that get excellent reviews on Steam.
TEAM: Roger. Fingers crossed!

Since that fateful day, Legacy Games has been steadily finding and selling more and more great Indie games. Some of my favorites include: Kingdom, Wanderlust: Travel Stories, Lyne, and Evergarden. All of our Indie games get “very positive” reviews on Steam, and Legacy bundles them together with other similar products to create a unique and value-packed collection for our customers.

Two new companies recently joined the ranks at Legacy Games: Curve Digital and Graffiti Games. Both are well known in the Indie community for representing popular, fun and quirky games by great developers. Legacy is distributing Curve’s Human Fall Flat game in Walmart stores, and we couldn’t be prouder. As the first in our new Game Gems line, Human Fall Flat has sold more than 2,000,000 games overall, and is beloved by customers.

And from Graffiti Games, we just launched three of their best titles – Turnip Boy, Blue Fire, and Cyber Hook – on our website. They are funny and fun, combining puzzles, traps, quests, and some of the wackiest heroes ever! And in keeping with our pricing policies, this awesome bundle, worth $50 elsewhere, will be priced at $9.99 on Legacy Games.

Don’t miss out! Stay tuned for more news about our ever-evolving game lineup!

A Building Year at Legacy Games

I know what you’re thinking. Not another year-end summary! Yes, it’s true, but I promise to make it quick, and per usual, It’s not all rosy for those of you who enjoy a little schadenfreude.

So let’s start with the negative.

1. As a company, our gross revenues were up, but our profits were down. Despite the fact that we are a 23-year-old company, this year, my first full year back as CEO after a 3 year absence, feels like start up time. We’ve invested in our website, new products, and new platforms, and it’s hit the bottom line.

2. Legacy’s push into indie games, so far, has been a bust. Most of our wonderful customers on the Legacy Games website seem not to be interested in indie games and have voted with their pocket book. It’s clear that if we expect to be successful with games other than hidden object and match 3, we need to find new customers. Moreover, it is increasingly difficult to source new high quality hidden object games on PC, creating a sense of urgency.

Now the positive.

1. The small but very talented Legacy team created an awesome ecommerce website and game launcher desktop app, all with WooCommerce, WordPress and assorted plug ins, something that simply wasn’t technically possible a few years ago. The sales this year on our website went from basically zero to almost 500 units per month.

2. We signed 29 new developers/publishers in 2022, and launched 41 new compilation packs on our website.

3. This Christmas we have 20 products in-store at Walmart, the most ever!

5. We just launched our first mobile game, Pearls of Atlantis, in 4 years!

We’ve made some very strategic product investments this year that will hopefully bear fruit in 2022. We’re both doubling down on our strengths as a company as well as reaching for the stars. It’s somewhat surprising that, after 35+ years in the games business, I continue to get excited about new products, new platforms, new opportunities. I am grateful to still enjoy what we do at Legacy Games – finding new and better ways to entertain our customers.

May you, your friends and family stay healthy and safe this holiday season. I hope you use the holiday break to spend time with your loved ones and recharge your batteries. And thanks for being part of the 23-year story of Legacy Games.

If At First You Don’t Succeed: PEARLS OF ATLANTIS

When I think back on my 30+ year career, there are a few mistakes that stand out. One I regret the most was my decision to stop supporting our first successful mobile game, Atlantis: Pearls of the Deep. It was featured more than 100 times in various Apple and Google mobile stores and downloaded more than 1M times in the first few weeks. Reviews were great: It’s a wonderfully unique twist on a familiar formula, and an easy pick for our Match 3 Game of the Year. (Gamezebo, 2012)

Atlantis: Pearls of the Deep

Unfortunately, ten years ago we didn’t really understand how to monetize a FTP game. The money from ads wasn’t sufficient to support further development. Other opportunities beckoned. I lost interest and Atlantis: Pearls of the Deep languished…until now.


I am very, very happy to announce that Legacy has released an entirely new version of our original game, now called Pearls of AtlantisIt employs the same, wonderfully creative match 3 with physics gameplay as the original, but that’s where the similarities end. There are all new characters, story, and setting. The “core loop” (as game designers say) involves solving puzzle levels and earning stars, which is turn allow you to repair Atlantis’ Cove of Memories and restore its original beauty. Legacy is partnered in this project with Alder Games, the developer of the original Atlantis: Pearls of the Deep game, and a wonderfully talented team based in Hungary.

Pearls of Atlantis


Please download the beta version of Pearls of Atlantis, iOS or Android, and give it a whirl. Game design is not a science, and we rely on data gleaned from the gameplay of users to make decisions about what needs to change and what content to add. That is the purpose of releasing a beta version. Plus, I really think you will enjoy playing the game.

Pearls of Atlantis

On iOS, click HERE to download the beta with TestFlight. And on Android, click HERE to download it with Google Play. Or, scan the QR code below with your mobile device:

Thank you! And there’s more to come. The story’s just beginning…

The Lure of Mystery Games

I’m a big mystery buff. I like TV shows about mystery, e.g., Twin Peaks, and more recently, Enola Holmes. I like mystery movies (Knives Out), mystery books, (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Maisie Dobbs), mystery podcasts (especially true crime ones like Serial – In the Dark). Basically, I like mystery stories in any format!

I’ve had the very good fortune of being able to apply my mystery “habit” to games, and over the years have worked on some high profile ones at Legacy. These include Law & Order, CSI, Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer, Psych, Paranormal State, Sherlock Holmes, Twilight Zone, and my personal favorite, Murder, She Wrote.

I believe that games are the perfect way to enjoy a good mystery. In one of Legacy’s early Sherlock Holmes games, there was an impossible-to-solve crime, followed by a slew of clues that made no sense to the baffled police. Then Sherlock appeared on the scene, noticing objects and neglected clues to pull it all together and arrive at a brilliant solution. (That basically describes the formula of most detective stories from Edgar Allen Poe on.) And how were the clues revealed? They could be found in lavishly illustrated hidden object scenes and as a result of solving challenging environmental puzzles. The game player became another sleuth, searching for clues alongside Sherlock.

Legacy’s four Law & Order games, published 2002-2005, provide another example of how compelling a good mystery story can be, wrapped in a game format. These adventure games required the game player to do even more than find clues in a hidden object scene in order to solve the crime. Typical of a good adventure game, the player interviewed suspects and had to ask the right questions in order to learn about the next possible perp or clue. They had to solve logic and visual puzzles that were built into the scenes, often using objects they had picked up along the way and stored in their inventory. And like most good adventure games, gameplay involved a great deal of exploration and discovery, where the player decided which leads to pursue and in what order.

In almost every mystery story, there are usually facts about the characters or events unknown to you, the “mystery box,” that keeps you in the dark and prevents you from predicting the solution. The advantage that games have over other media is that the unraveling of a mystery is achieved through direct actions of the player. It isn’t revealed simply because you watched a 43 minute episode, in which the solution arrives around minute 42. You actively solve the mystery box while playing a game, and discover information crucial to the solution by choosing enough of the right options and alternatives. Your choices as a game player make all the difference. In addition, the tantalizing possibility exists in many games that the mystery may not be solved in your first attempt.

That’s precisely why mystery-themed hidden object games are Legacy’s consistent top-sellers. (As of the end of August 2021, Murder Mystery Vol. 2 was our #1 seller, with True Crime taking the #3 spot!) These game collections give players agency to reveal the mystery for themselves, with each hidden object scene and environmental puzzle acting a miniature mystery that must be worked through on the path to unraveling the larger narrative questions.

One series in particular that does this well: Adam Wolfe, a newly released game pack on Legacy Games. There are three interconnected layers of mystery; overarching questions about a sister who vanished year ago; the stand-alone cases in each episode; and finally, the puzzles presented to the player throughout each game. They consistently provide enough information for players to understand the next step, but don’t give away too much, as that would jeopardize the brilliant “Ahah!” of a mystery (and puzzle!) well-solved.

On a personal note, I couldn’t conclude without revealing part of the reason why I wanted to riff on mystery games. Forgive a proud mother, but my son, Jonah Lehrer, wrote a new book about our fascination with mystery. I think anyone with an interest in games and game design will find his discussion of infinite games and slot machines particularly interesting. I also loved the stories about Agatha Christie (who knew she staged her own death?), Good Night Moon, Emily Dickinson, and more. It’s a fascinating read, and I think you’ll enjoy it: Mystery: A Seduction, A Strategy, A Solution.

Mystery on Apple Books

Games at Retail are Definitely NOT Dying

I’ve said to partners for the last five years, “Retail is fine. But who knows how long it will last?” Meanwhile, Legacy has sold PC games into retail continuously since our founding in 1998, and now has the largest number of SKUs on the shelves of Walmart of any casual game company, 15 currently.

And no one is more surprised by this fact than I am. Legacy’s retail revenue peaked in 2014 and sales have been decreasing slowly since then. Why, then, is Legacy doubling down on PC retail this Christmas?

There’s a simple answer. Legacy continues to pick up shelf space from our competitors who have lost focus on the PC retail customer and are chasing the elusive mobile market. There is a vacuum and Legacy has the products and people to fill it. We know and understand what the customer wants. This summer we’ve already shipped five hidden object jewel cases to Walmart ($10 SRP). Covering the usual topics – paranormal, time travel, love, crime – these games join our other signature “Amazing Games” compilations on the shelf. In addition, we only select products for retail that are already proven best sellers on our website,, a step which contributes to our success ratio at retail.

We also distribute $20 and $30 PC games in amaray cases. The first one, which will be in stores in August, is a value-packed collection of slots games from IGT/Masque. Our retail partners are always looking for licensed games or well-known brands, and we have high hopes of shipping even more such higher priced games before the end of the year.

I’d like to take credit for Legacy’s success at retail, but as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, it takes a village. A very talented one. First, let me give a shout out to Ezra at our distributor. He is the first person I ask when we have a hair-brained product idea. I need and appreciate his sage advice. Thanks to Magne and Karl for their endless creativity and printing oversight. I think, modestly, that we have some great packaging, thanks to them. Constantine does endless scouting for the best games, both casual and indie, to include in our game packs. Amanda and Patrick carefully choose which games go together in a signature Legacy game pack and write the marketing copy. Terence and Keith keep our inventory and orders in synch. But the folks who deserve the most credit for our success are our customers. They look for our new SKUs as soon as they hit the retail shelves and reward our focus on quality and value with their business.

Speaking of our customers, I talked about them in a recent article in Forbes about digital inclusion. Why are they still buying physical goods rather than downloading games?

“With the move to mobile and streaming, most people don’t realize that CD-ROM products are an ongoing business. Our customers still prefer playing puzzle games on discs for a variety of reasons. Some still do not own a smartphone and in many parts of the U.S., there continues to be a lack of good internet access. We focus on these customers who are left behind in the digital transition.”

So, in addition to all of the other reasons to be in retail, we feel good about the fact that at least some of our customers who are on the wrong side of the digital divide can still enjoy our games, have fun and smile.

Now it’s your turn. I hope you enjoy what remains of the summer and have some fun!