Word and puzzle games engage your brain, expanding language and logic skills. Online word games include variations of anagrams, crosswords, Scrabble, Hangman, and letter arrangement selections like Boggle and Text Twist. Online puzzle games are among the most popular games on the Internet, including Sudoku and Hitori, action puzzles Tetris and Zuma, and award-winning classics like Bejeweled and Bookworm. Many online game sites allow users to play for free on their browsers, with no downloads required.
Shockwave.com, a part of Viacom's MTV Networks, features free online (and downloadable) games. The game website has over 450 games to choose from, and is updated weekly. The site is extremely easy to navigate—you can search for online games only in the puzzle or word categories. They have extensive online word (46) and puzzle game (286) selections, which include the most popular game titles.
According to their website, AddictingGames.com is the largest source of free online games in the U.S. They have thousands of games to choose from, with a wide selection in the "puzzle & board games" (50) and word (32) categories, along with arcade, flash, shooting, racing and role-playing games (RPG), to name a few. AddictingGames also allows you to embed their games on your website or other social media (a social networking site or blog). They add more than a dozen new games each week, develop games and encourage users to submit their own games for a potential spot on the site.
AOL's Games.com has 128 online puzzle games and 20 online word games. If you don't have an AOL account, you are allowed to play for free as a guest. You can also register for free in order to participate in online chats to share scores and tips. Click the sitemap in order to see a list of all the games by genre.
Kongregate, a beta site, was a 2009 Webby nominee for Best Games website (it won the Games Webby in 2008). It's been called a social networking site for independent games. The community is centered on thousands of online flash-based games you can play for free. Users earn cards and badges for being great gamers, and the site also provides for profiles, chat, forums and private messages. Game developers can upload their creations, so there are plenty of new and innovative games to choose from. You can tell the popular games by the millions of plays it has. Puzzle games is a category that has at least 200 games; do a search for "word games" and you will find hundreds of offerings.
WebSudoku is a game site offering "billions" of free online Sudoku puzzles. Play is categorized into four different levels—easy, medium, hard and evil. They also feature online Sudoku tutorials.
Some other free online game sites worth naming, with plenty of puzzle and word brain teasers, include OnlineRealGames, PopCap, BigFishGames and Gamehouse.
Elaine Riot has been writing professionally since 2001. Her work has been published online; in quarterly business, arts and education publications; and in B2B and consumer magazines. A natural wordsmith, Riot writes effective copy for a diverse clientele, including the University of Washington, Vulcan, Inc. and Amazon.com. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.