You know, I always thought I was an RPG guy. Played Final Fantasy games religiously, wouldn’t touch Madden or Grand Theft Auto, and preferred to spend my precious moments after school reading novels worth of text. Hooray, Role-Playing Games. I’m not knocking them (actually I am, but good-naturedly, and that makes all the difference), but they seemed to take their time in developing plot, characters, gameplay, and so on.
For us modern-day gaming thrill-seekers, maybe we need a bit more of a buzz. Something that grabs you by the eye-sockets and doesn’t let go until you’ve played it to death. Good lord, if a large-scale RPG did that, you’d have people who would never leave the comfort of their sofa (like, WoW perhaps?). But the good news is, someone decided to invent Flash games.
Flash games, for the uninitiated, are little, free, online games that have a reputation for being pointless timewasters. Au contraire, my friend! (Yes, that is all the French I know). Flash games are AMAZING in what they’ve done to the gaming industry! Allow me to direct you to this little comic I like to call XKCD: http://xkcd.com/484/
Flash games are insanely cool as a genre of the gaming world. The idea is that you start off with a relatively small file size, and the exact same control surface as a hundred thousand other games, plus every heavy-hitting PC game on the market from Halo to World of Warcraft to Dragon Age to… you get the picture. All of a sudden, if you aren’t clean, concise, polished, attractive and OBSCENELY INNOVATIVE in your game design, no one will care even the slightest bit. There’s no advertising, there’s no super-shiny graphics, there’s no brand-name support (like, say, the Arkham Asylum/Arkham City’s draw of the Batman-loving audience), and there’s quite often no guarantee that your hard work in making a game will pay off in any way.
So the innovation is key here, because if you do something previously done, only prettier, then it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not it will be successful. People will say “Hey, you’re ripping off so-and-so!” and they will of course be absolutely right, because you’re just sprucing up someone else’s idea! But the creators of good Flash games today are constantly adding spice, advancing magnificently the frontline of innovation in PC gaming. Here’s a specific one, and one of my favorites. Click the pic to get a link to the game:
This is a game called “ESCAPE.” It is a game in which you try to escape the ever-rising laser beam and dodge spikes while doing a Megaman X-esque wall jumping routine. The catch? You only use… THE ESCAPE KEY (whoa, double-meaning title, hot damn). It’s addictive, it’s smooth and fun. And, what the heck do you need a controller for, it’s just one frickin’ key! That’s like… 50 keys on your keyboard you’re not even using! And it’s still fun! Then you have games like Ninja Gaiden, in which every button does something different, and if you happen to press your 20-button sequence too slowly or miss one, you’re now a hot, steaming Ninja-kebab. Hooray.
I could name off innovative flash games till my fingers turned blue, but the fact of the matter is, if you’re someone who loves big, shiny games on consoles, then you’re totally unprepared for the utter awesomeness that is Flash gaming. And if you’re a game-dev, this is your homework, your research. This is where you begin seeing what’s been done, and where you can begin to figure out what HASN’T.
Maybe more on this later, but now, click on these picture-links for some games to check out: (Ain’t it grand that they’re free?)
This is the Only Level: Amazing game by JMTB02. Everything by this guy is golden. It’s original, it usually involves animals (mostly elephants), and he will make the most addictively fun games you’ll ever play for free. True story.
Amorphous+, by innocuousGames, is a hack-and-slash with a couple great twists. The only one I’ll mention is the achievement system: there’s an achievement for everything and you’ll love and hate getting them all. Beware.
Fisher-Diver, by 2DArray, is absolutely whimsically unique in its art and gameplay. It can be a bit clunky, but it really gets you to buy into a completely unrealistic world and makes you feel as if you’re part of it. Also, “The Company of Myself,” by 2DArray, is one of the highest rated games on Kongregate. Check these guys out, they’re awesome.
By the way, I use Kongregate because I like it, not necessarily because it’s the best. The achievement system thing gets me, and Kongregate seems to encourage collaboration and fosters the creation of good games. Just personal preference, however. Enjoy these games, comment if you played them! Hope you got a kick out of something here. 😀