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The waiting is the easy part in gripping, free 'anti-thriller' The Interlude

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The Interlude (opens in new tab) is that scene in the heist or spy movie where someone impatiently waits for an associate to arrive. You're a getaway driver, or maybe just a contact, and in ten minutes' time you're going to signal the person you're meeting there, and then the game will suddenly come to a close. There's no big chase scene, and no double-crossing shootout, although given what we know about thrillers, you can feel that something like that is about to happen.

Though pregnant with tension—because we know where this scene traditionally places in thriller movies—The Interlude is nonetheless a game where very little, where in fact almost nothing actually happens. Sitting firmly in the driver's seat while ten minutes counts down in real-time, you can play with the wing mirrors, turn the wipers on or off, eat from a bag of crisps or sip your coffee, as you wait for the appropriate moment to signal your contact.

You can also (and here is where you'll spend most of your time) listen to music on the radio, look out of the window at the street outside, and use your quaint old Nokia phone to play a fully fledged game of Snake. In its message history, the phone houses fragments of backstory that lightly sketch out the world, and slightly enhance the tension. But you don't need to know why you're there to feel that tension in the atmosphere, in this surprisingly gripping game that conjures something out of nothing.

Thanks, Warp Door (opens in new tab).

For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.