To celebrate 5 years (and 9 million prisons built) Prison Architect is free to play until October 11

Technically, Prison Architect has been around since 2012, as it spent several years in an alpha state and in Steam Early Access. But today marks exactly five years since Introversion Software's prison management simulation officially launched, and to celebrate, it's free to download and play for the next five days.

If you've never played it, you should really take the opportunity to do so this week. I reviewed it back in 2015, and it's a complex, challenging, and grimly satisfying simulator. Since then it's been updated a number of times with both free and paid DLC.

Publisher Paradox Interactive shared some data on just how busy players have been in the prison sim since 2015. Here are a few statistics on what they've accomplished:

  • 8,951,166 prisons built
  • 806,190,699 inmates
  • 5,744,636 shakedowns
  • 2,783,852 tunnel searches
  • 1,775,636 lockdowns

That's a lot of very busy wardens. If you're looking to buy, Prison Architect is 80 percent off until October 12, which means you can have it for about six bucks, and DLC is on sale as well.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.