You may not have realized it, but there are hidden games in browsers. Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera and Vivaldi all have games you can play. Some are full arcade games and are pretty good.
When you cannot get on the internet for some reason, or when you simply want a break for work or whatever you are doing, play a game in your browser. Here I look at some of the most popular web browsers and show how to access the hidden games they contain.
These all work on Windows PC and Apple Mac computers, and some work in the browser on your phone too. Try them all and have some fun! Press F11 to go full screen and hide the browser interface like the menu bar, title bar, address and status bars.
Vivaldi has joined the secret gaming club and the latest version of this privacy-focused browser has a built-in retro style arcade game called Vivaldia. Open the browser and enter vivaldi://game into the address box.
This is a sideways scrolling game and you control what looks like The Flash riding a jet-powered and armed unicycle. Click the mouse to load the game and then press the spacebar to start, but before you set off on your mission, take a look at the control keys. Arrow keys move left and right, up arrow jumps and down arrow ducks. N fires up, M fires right and N+M fires at 45 degrees.
As the screen scrolls right to left, you must jump holes in the ground, bombs, and other objects that will cause you to lose one of your three lives. Objects fly overhead and shoot down at you, but you can shoot back and blow them up.
Hidden games in browsers don’t come any better than this. It is good old fashioned arcade action and is quite fun to play when you have a few minutes to spare. As you progress, it becomes harder, with more obstacles put in your way that must be avoided or blown up.
When you cannot surf the web, Edge lets you surf the waves. This is a vertically scrolling game in which you control someone on a surfboard. You don’t have to wait for a bad internet connection to play and you can simply enter edge://surf anytime you feel like a break from work or have time to kill.
Click the gear icon in the top right corner for game options, like high visibility and reduced speed – you can play this even if you are really bad at games. There are three game modes.
- Endless: See how far you can get and rescue a friend along the way for help with enemies.
- Time Trial: Reach the end as fast as you can and collect coins along the way.
- Zif Zag: Go through as many gates as you can.
Use the arrow keys to steer your surfer and press F for a speed boost. You need that when the octopus starts chasing you and catching up – surf faster to get away! It is a good example of the latest hidden games in browsers and they are getting better.
Dino has been in Chrome for years and it is one of the oldest and simplest of the games, although it is still miles ahead of Firefox. It is basic in the extreme and in this sideways scroller a T-Rex dinosaur runs across the desert. Obstacles appear in his way and you must press the spacebar to jump them. Obstacles come more frequent as you progress, which increases the difficulty.
I won’t say anymore because there is a full article here: Add a widget to play Chrome Dino on Android phone anytime, which shows Dino on a phone.
The standard Opera web browser does not have a built-in game, but there is another version called Opera GX. This is designed for gamers and it enables you to control the resources that that browser uses, like the CPU, RAM and network. This means that it has less impact on whatever game you are playing.
Opera GX is an interesting browser and it has features not in most alternative Chrome-based browsers. An extra bonus is that it includes a game. Well, a gaming browser would, wouldn’t it?
Enter opera://operius into the address box and a game appears. If you are a fan of retro games, or as old as me, you might recognize it. Operius is similar to Tempest, which was popular on home computers in the 1980s. In a nutshell, it is a wireframe vector graphics 3D shooter.
In Operius, it seems like you are flying a spaceship down a tunnel. It looks like a static spider’s web in screenshots, and it changes color in different sectors. When playing the game, it races towards you giving the impression that you are flying into it. You can spin around the sides and either shoot or avoid the objects that appear in the distance and rapidly accelerate towards you.
There are multiple sectors to negotiate and different levels. You level up your weapons by flying through yellow shapes and this gives you more firepower. The action is fast and furious, but also good fun.
Operius is a more complete game than the others here and there are options on the start screen, like arcade mode, co-op mode and endless mode. Music and sound effects volumes can be set, the difficulty selected, the theme, selected, and a frame limit can be set.
If you are an Opera user, you should definitely try it.
Game: See below
The Firefox browser has a built-in game, but it is hard to get to and even when you do get it going, it is not worth playing. It is the worst of the browser games here. Here is how to start it.
Right click the Firefox toolbar to the right of the tabs to show a menu and select Customize Toolbar. A collection of possible toolbar items appears on the left and on the right is an Overflow Menu. Drag every item on the left to the Overflow Menu, except the Flexible Space.
This clears the play area and when everything is gone, a button appears at the bottom with a unicorn on it. Click it to play a version of Pong using unicorns instead of balls. The Flexible Space becomes the bat.
It’s bad and I would not bother trying it. It is more like a funny Easter egg than a game anyone would want to play.