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20 easy ways to get free gaming on your Xbox 360

Games, demos and DLC at no cost to you

This article originally appeared in Xbox World magazine.

Times are hard, and nowadays the best price is free. Luckily, there's a metric ton of free content for those willing to dig under piles of premium themes, overpriced maps and character skins. You just need to know where to look. So keep your pennies, check our thrifty buyer's guide to everything from maps to apps to songs to movies, and gorge yourself on over 100 hours of free entertainment.

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1. HITMAN: SNIPER CHALLENGE

What is it? Free game if you're über-keen for the new Hitman.

Pre-order Hitman: Absolution and you'll get Sniper Challenge, a sort of 'Where's Wally?' with a bolt-action rifle. It's a challenge you'll fail the first dozen times, but as you get to know how the guards behave, you'll be chasing your friends' scores to the top of the leaderboards.

2. NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT DEMO

What is it? Demo version of 360's best arcade racer.

Throw in another player, and no matter how measly the content, the fun can be endless. Whether you're playing pass-the-pad or chasing times online, you can milk this demo for hours.

3. SNIPER ELITE V2 DEMO

What is it? A taster of the most grizzly sniping game ever.

A slice of skull-busting combat that lets you try the game's best trick (watching bullets pass through Nazis in slow-mo) over and over without buying the flawed, inconsistent full game.

4. MICROSOFT GAME ROOM

What is it? The world's most exhaustive retro collection.

Hundreds of games from Atari, Intellivison, Activision and Konami all offering a ten-minute trial - exactly how long your 20p will have lasted in an 80s arcade.

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5. GEARS OF WAR 3: VERSUS BOOSTER MAP PACK

What is it? A once-premium, now free, map pack for Gears 3.

A controversial one. Before it dropped last November, folks had already shelled out Microsoft Points for three of the Booster Pack's five maps - Azura, Rustlung and Blood Drive. Now they're free and part of the regular map rotation - essential.

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