Category Archives: Flash Games
Hey, folks! You’ll notice that I didn’t make a post on Monday! (Why’s that, Mr. Another Gamer sir?) Well, it’s because I’m no longer going to be posting on Mondays! And, if by some off chance you ask “Why’s that” again, then I would tell you it’s because I’m going to be in Germany for the next year. That’s right, ladies and gents (as if there were any chicks who read my blog), I’m studying Music Design abroad at a school in Trossingen, Germany.
Which, of course, means I’ll have plenty of stuff to blog about that doesn’t involve me sitting in my room, staring at a screen all day! And that’s what I’ll be writing about on Mondays. Now, since that’s totally irrelevant to ANYTHING video game-y, let’s move on!
Calling all gamedevs, 3D Modelers, artists, programmers, sound designers, and other members of video-game-related professions (and their wannabes)! Read the rest of this entry
Well, I’m back from vacation. I missed Monday! I’m sure you’re all quietly boo-hooing into the plate of processed food you usually ingest while reading this blog. It was awfully quiet out in rural Florida, and I had a lot of time to think about video games.
It really is too bad, however, that I didn’t spend that time thinking about video games. All is not lost, though! I have some divinely-inspired ruminations about the nature of video games, and life in general, to bestow upon you. I know. I’m grand.
Moving on! Glad to have that one off my chest. Next: I have discovered that the world of MineCraft is a lot nerdier than meets the eye. I was turned on to some pretty hefty mods by a commenter on one of my other posts, and I realized quickly that I was in over my head. Had I not retraced my steps, I would have needed a member of the Geek Squad with a PhD in computer science to come untangle the mess I made. That might be a slight overstatement, but to someone who mainly PLAYS games without really delving into how they work, it was a catastrophe of magnificent proportions. Good god.
On a different subject: Poke’mon is good. I love games that keep getting better with each new release. Generally I pirate them anyway, but I actually shelled out the money for Poke’mon White. It’s really turning into an RPG. It’s less about “you must defeat your Professor’s annoying grandson and become the Champion,” and much more in-depth. With greater data storage and computing abilities (occasionally) comes greater games! It’s not just flashier, it’s more difficult, more deep, more personalized. Trainers you fight against have their own playing styles, versus the old-fashioned, “Hey, pick a random move, go!” that made the early games so easy. The world seems bigger, more diverse, and more interesting. There’s more dialogue, more puzzles, more challenges, more things to do. Red and Blue will always have a special place in my heart, but I think it’s time we step off our soapbox and accept the fact that there are, in fact, more than 151 Poke’mon.
And, last but not least in my series of unconnected thought: “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” is a thoroughly horrifying game. I don’t even want to play it anymore. It mentions at the beginning that the game is best experienced “in a dark room while wearing headphones.” Coincidentally, I hear that BEING KILLED VIOLENTLY by zombies and other terrifying creatures is also best experienced in a dark room with headphones on. Way to go.
Other than that, I have a game for ya’ll to try: Glean. It’s a relatively new mineral-mining-and-stuff game, based loosely on the original gem, “Motherload,” from XgenStudios. This one has more variety, more pretty graphics, more challenges, and more plot. I like it! I know you will too.
Alrighty! See you next time. It’s good to be back.
There’s a wonderful Robert Frost poem, something about the road less traveled by. It’s a heartfelt and florid plea for you to live your life exceptionally, and not to just be the next lemming off the cliff of doing what’s popular. There are probably about four people reading my blog who actually know what the heck I’m talking about, but then again, there are only four people who read my blog. 100% Success! Anyway. This idea is applicable, of course, to more than vague, non-specific life choices! And unless you think this is a blog about poetry for which composer Eric Whitacre was sued for, then I guess we’re talking about video games.
So what about video games? Am I being philosophical, and saying that video game developers should “take the road less traveled by”? They should be novel and new instead of creating another first-person shooter? Not at all, go for it! What I’m talking about is for the GAMER. No game is EVER perfectly linear. The very idea of gaming implies a choice between different options, whether it is to try to get the cherry in Pac-Man, or to go down the pipe in Mario, or to merely reflect the ball vs. trying to spin it on the tip of the paddle in Pong. That’s the wonderful thing about video games! They are full of choices. Of course, as video games have progressed, so have the choices. What began as “do I want to go down the pipe?” progressed to “do I want the feather outfit or the fire flower outfit?” progressed to “do I want the frog, fire flower, feather, raccoon, giant boot, pink evening dress or yellow spandex outfit?” in Mario (guess how many of those are actual outfits you can wear). But also, you get choices for endings. You could save the animals in Super Metroid. You could get married (or not) in Harvest Moon. You began to see tons of different options for loyalty, gameplay, relationships, storyline, endings, allies/enemies, and sidequests. It’s magnificent and (if you play games by BioWare) you can see the effects of that change today.
While that’s all wonderful and I’m pleased as punch that games have taken a turn toward the customizable, I really just want to talk about the gameplay aspect of these choices. And really, what is there besides gameplay in a game? Everything that happens in the game is caused by a choice you make (which, in lame-and-mundande World, we call those choices “playin’ the frickin’ game”). But, even more specifically, how your gameplay choices affect the rewards you receive! We have been conditioned as gamers to understand the golden rule of gaming: the more difficult it is to achieve, the better the rewards are. Hence, true to the title of this post: The path of least resistance is for wussies.
Moving on. Resistance is a funny term. We use the phrase “path of least resistance” without actually thinking about what the word means. Resistance is a measure of the difficulty of the obstacles the gamedevs put in the way of some goal that the player is trying to achieve. In Mario, it’s Goombas, Koopas and bottomless pits of death and agony. In Metroid, it’s Space Pirates, indigenous flora and fauna, and the occasional bloodsucking Metroid (it IS the name of the game, I suppose). In Final Fantasy, it is puzzles and battles, both random and scripted. But the gamedevs put these things there to present a challenge. However! They serve another purpose.
They tell us where to go. (Ka-blam! That was the sound of your mind being blown.) In the game Diablo (which I love to reference a lot), enemies do not respawn. So, logic quickly follows that enemies = someplace I haven’t been yet. It’s the simplest explanation for what I’m trying to illustrate, but it works. The resistance that the developers of these games put in place for us is a SIGNAL to us that this is a direction we should progress in. The LEVEL of that resistance is another signal to us. Is it higher or lower than what we have previously encountered? Is it easily avoidable or placed squarely in your main means of progression? These are subconscious clues to us as gamers that give us an idea as to where we MUST go, where we WANT to go, and where we want to really, really stay away from. They are wordless bits of information that the game developers place in the game to nudge us in the direction of advancing through the game.
The way I see it, there are two end goals in mind when the level of resistance changes in a game. The first kind uses difficult fights and tasks to serve as a benchmark to your progress through the game. Think “boss fights,” people. To get to the end of the level (and progress to the next one), you have to beat the King Slime! You have a choice to go through the main path and fight the King Slime, or you can go down this other path full of mini-slimes. In these games, what does going down the side path usually yield? (All together now!) TREASURE! Goodies, equipment upgrades, gold, potions, things that help you to die less in the inevitable altercation with the boss. For example, try this delightful little gem: Epic Battle Fantasy 3. It’s quite like Final Fantasy (which certainly provides a lot of the kind of resistance I’m talking about here), but it’s free and you can play it on your computer. At least get through the first boss! You’ll see what I mean.
The other kind of resistance occurs in games where the main goal is simply to progress through a level. Think Metroid, or even Megaman (minus the bosses). The level is set up with pretty manageable challenges of dexterity, battle prowess, and puzzle-solving abilities. But then, there are areas of EXTREME puzzling, impossible feats of jumping and dashing, or incredibly tough baddies, stuck in the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason. But there IS an apparent reason! TREASURE! (It’s always about treasure, isn’t it?) This seems exactly the same as what I said before, only in this instance, the easier path is the MAIN path, and the only time you encounter any true survival difficulty is when you go for that missile tank or that extra armor. The main path requires you to freeze some enemies and jump on top of them, whereas the energy tank upgrade requires arduous wall-jumping and crazy Samus backflips that would make my yoga instructor jealous. The big difference in these games is that your “treasure” is permanent. That upgrade stays with you for the rest of the game, so the gamedevs nudge you to AVOID getting it, as opposed to nudging you TOWARDS it to prepare you for some other altercation. A perfect game to show this is called Endeavor. It is a platform RPG, and that’s all I’ll really tell you. Notice how hard you’ll have to try to get some of the upgrades you seek.
So there are many kinds of resistance, it’s true. Some lead you to explore new areas of the game, some discourage all but the most dedicated gamers from venturing near. But resistance, in itself, is an awesome tool that game developers use to guide the user through the game, and encourage a certain course of action (while perhaps rewarding the gamer if their encouragement is ignored). You see? As if we needed more proof that the Borg are a little off in the head: they keep saying, “Resistance is futile.”
In the deepest ruminations of my complicated and entirely illogical mind, I have been throwing around the idea of doing game developer profiles. Lost in the annals of time, I did a blog on the creative group “2DArray,” because they’re generally awesome and have put out some of the best flash games ever (yadda yadda, so on and so forth). But NOW, I have decided to make a catchy title that will be present in all of my Gamedev profiles. It’s not an instant classic, like “Two-Minute Tuesday” or “Sado-Masochism Saturday,” but it’ll do! So, whenever you see “A Gamedev You’ll Love,” you’ll know that it means there are plenty of games and examples here for you to play (and hopefully you won’t have to pay any money for them! Hooray internet!).
I figure if you read this blog you either owe me a lot of money and are trying to get out of paying me back, or you enjoy playing video games. I’d say “Hopefully you’re in the second category,” but honestly it’d be kind of nice if more people owed me money. But for the sake of the topic, we’ll pretend that you ARE indeed in the 2nd category and you play video games. What kind of games do you like? Classic games? New games? Games that you can get for 6 bucks at GameStop? Those are my favorites, because they remind me gently that while the most awesome games get awesomer and awesomer as time goes on, people will never stop making really bad games. Gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. But honestly, how do I have so much cash to blow on awful 6-dollar games? The answer lies in one simple word: Achievements.
No, I’m just kidding. As if I didn’t spend enough time making awful jokes, bad puns, and groan-inducing plays on words. Unfortunately for you all (actually, unfortunately for mostly me), it’s my day off. I’m a college student. Finals week is almost here. Most people in my boat would say, “Dude, you still have hours you spend SLEEPING, right? Stop wasting them and do something productive, man.” Apparently most people in my boat sound like they’re stoned all the time (a relatively accurate assumption).
So. I think you folks just deserve a game or two for checking in on the blog. You folks are what make me wanna keep doing it (even when I’m stupidly busy). Good news is, in a week or so, I’ll be home free (and Diablo 3 will be out, so I’ll have plenty to chat about). I bet you can’t wait till then. Better dust off your reading glasses, it’s gonna be good!
The Enchanted Cave is one of a genre of games that basically present you with a very difficult dungeon, and an unlimited amount of tries to get through that dungeon, but each time you go through, you collect resources and items that make your next try more successful. It’s fun. Addictive, and fun. Enchanting, you could say (but please, don’t say).
Music Catch 2 is a game where your level is basically a song, and the notes you have to catch are produced by the beautiful, soothing music the programmers wrote just for you. Nevermind that you’re waving your mouse around like a psychopath, it’s soothing and you know it. Enjoy. 😀
You know, if you read my blog from the beginning, that I am an avid flash gamer. If there is a hot new flash game, I pick it up and play it till it’s dead. I’m like those real game reviewers (like TheEscapist or EgoRaptor) only I get to do it for free! Hooray, online games! Also, I spend waaaay less time doing it, as a flash game takes a couple of hours MAX to beat, while even the most awful Xbox360 games (cough cough, Mirror’s Edge) take quite some time. Recently, however, there’s been a lull in the number of REALLY good flash games that come out. Sure, there have been some shiny shoot-em-ups and some quaint puzzle games, but nothing that really blew my mind with its awesomeness.
Cue the epic fanfare: 2DArray recently released a game called “Fixation,” a prequel to its smash hit, “The Company of Myself.” Generally speaking, flash games don’t delve much into the realm of psychology, seriousness and deep emotional meaning. I mean, dude, they’re just hanging out on your computer screen, soaking up time while you put off doing your research paper. (By the way, I’m putting off doing my research paper right now. Go procrastination!) But the thing is, “Fixation” is as serious as it gets. It’s a little strange – Actually it’s a LOT strange, but it is incredibly well-written, well-put-together, interesting and engaging, and is overall just a brilliant game. Play it here (I’m serious, play this darn thing).
Zombies are everywhere! No, I don’t mean that the apocalypse that we all dread (or secretly look forward to) has arrived. I mean that no matter where you look in video games, there are zombies. Of course, zombie games have their own delightfully gory and gratuitously violent genre, for which I’m very thankful. From the classic games like “Zombies Ate My Neighbors,” to the campy arcade “House of the Dead,” to the incredibly creepy “Resident Evil” games, there have been quite a few gems in the zombie game universe. But you can also find zombies in the strangest places, from Minecraft to Ninja Gaiden to Zelda to even Mass Effect! There is something alluring about the undead that game creators latch on to, and in any game where you have a means of killing the enemy (aka NOT games like Cooking Mama or Animal Crossing), you will find that a stereotypical zombie-like thing will be cleverly (or not-so-cleverly) inserted, for the simple, gleeful pleasure of massacring them. Hooray for zombies! Read the rest of this entry
So I’ve been busy.
Being a full-time college student with a million extracurriculars is taxing, even for someone as overly energetic and neurotic as I am! Finals are rapidly approaching, and that puts my required workload at about 27 hours per day. Wait, I forgot to factor in sleeping time. Eh, who needs it?
For that delightful reason, this blog won’t be as long as some of my other marathon borderline research paper-length entries. I figured you readers needed a break as much as I do! I like to put out good material for you to laugh at, enjoy, and think about (okay, maybe not so much that last one), and I just haven’t had time to put the required amount of thought.
But here’s the thing: I’m still playing video games (a little). When the rare moment of free time rolls around, I generally don’t jump for the nearest Stephanie Meyer novel. I hop on Kongregate and play some flash games. And, while there has been a relative lull in the mindblowingly awesome games being put out in recent weeks, there are some as-yet-unmentioned gems of gaming that are… well, as yet unmentioned. I figured, what is there better to talk about than games that are simply TOO addictive? Oh boy! In no particular order:
The Company Of Myself, by 2DArray, is an interesting take on the puzzle-platformer genre. I don’t even know if that’s a genre. But it’s great, and I know personally the guy that did the music. Awesome.
This is an awesome game by light_bringer777, which details the tireless efforts of an uber-cute penguin to learn to fly. It’s funny, entertaining, and cute. And I just love games where you get to launch random animals. See also: Burrito Bison, Kitty Cannon, Toss the Turtle, and ‘Dillo Hills.
Kingdom Rush is one of the best tower defense games I’ve ever played. There’s nothing INCREDIBLY innovative about it from a TD (tower defense) veteran’s perspective, but it’s just never been done this well before. Don’t get sucked in. It’s addictive.
Robot Wants Kitty, by Hamuhamu, is the first in a large series of games in the “Metroidvania” genre, which is to say that there is only one level, and it’s very large. And… yes, there’s a kitty at the end of it. If you enjoyed this, try Robot Wants Puppy, Robot Wants Fishy, and Robot Wants Ice Cream.
Frantic Frigates, by BerzerkStudios, is just a simple, plot-less shooting game that really doesn’t involve you doing anything but moving the mouse. And that’s why you won’t be able to stop playing this. BerzerkStudios has some of the most consistently high-quality games ever. Check them out.
Last but certainly not least is Epic Battle Fantasy 3, by kupo707. It’s by far the best yet in the series. In case the title (or the gamedev’s name) didn’t tip you off, it’s a Final Fantasy knockoff, completely tongue-in-cheek. The first game was like Final Fantasy where you start at level 100 and everything is epic, the 2nd game was slightly more in-depth (you know, with a bit of a plot), but the 3rd game is full of laughs and is a pretty amazing product for something that began as a joke. Hooray! Don’t ask about the boobs.
So there you go! Lots of links, no deep philosophical, soul-searching message? It doesn’t get better than this. Enjoy!
P.S. I’m thinking of doing a post about zombies. Thoughts?
When games get tough, the tough get gaming…? I’m not so sure. There are some games that pride themselves on having a ridiculous level of difficulty. As a matter of fact, for those games, generally speaking, the difficulty is the only thing that really draws people to them. The competitive person in us says, “I will beat you, no matter how many times I have to die before I do it.” And then the game usually says, after hours of frustration, “Are you suuuuure?” They exist for the same reason that Mount Everest exists. Not because India’s tectonic plate is smashing up against another one to create the Himalayas (which by the way are getting taller). Everest is there rising above everything else, silently shouting, “You want an EASIER challenge? Then go climb the garbage heap that is your will to succeed, sucker!” Only, it probably says it more regally, with old English, or something. Anyway. These games are maddeningly difficult, and the cred you get for beating them is worth more than gameplay, graphics, plot, or pretty much anything else that makes a game good. Now that’s good marketing right there. The near-perfect example of this is Ninja Gaiden.