Flash Game Interweb Mash-up: Monday, Aug 31, 2009: Flash Game
One cannot live by Mochi games alone. I burned myself out after 3 weeks
of reviewing virtually every Mochi game launched (during that time
frame), so I have decided to take a little detour and review the latest
batch of games from the Flash Game Distribution list.
Games Reviewed: Nudge (Game of the Day), Falling Eggs,
Polarized, Farmers on Fire, World Cities, Squirroll, Drunken Rabbit 2,
Two other games are in the distribution: The amazing Cyclomaniacs and
the fun Red Hat. Both are fine games, but I have reviewed them
previously on when they were on Mochi.
Game of the Day: Nudge:
Nudge is a beautifully crafted puzzle game. Cartoon style
visuals accompany a puzzle game with elements of Pengo, Chips
Challenge, Lemmings and more. Your task is to navigate the tile-based,
overhead 2D levels and collect all of the balloons. Nudge is a complete
treat to play and should be a very nice addition to any portal.
There is a level editor and you can undo Nudge's moves during
game play if you make a mistake. What a joy to play!
Game Design Note:
Nudge has implemented a very nice tile to tile system of movement that
all tile-base puzzle game designers should consider. The character
moves freely, but will stop when he is at the center of a tile. Not
only is this very user friendly, and shows code style
maturity (to me at least).
Falling Eggs: A relatively well
done little game where you must move the mouse to touch Easter Eggs
that are falling from the sky. If you touch one, it will bound back
toward the top of the screen. The goal is to keep quite a few on the
screen at once. Everything in the game is pretty well done and the
presentation is nice. There isn't a huge amount of "game" here, but
sometimes the simple ideas are the best.
Polarized: Wow, now this is a
unique, very very well made little game. The goal is to move a metal
ball from the start to the goal by using a series of electro-magnets.
It reminds me of an ST/Amiga game from the late 80's (not a particular
one). There are some very nice little cinematic pieces at game start
and when you finally get to the actual game, the puzzles are fun and
Farmers on Fire: This is a fun
little game where you must try to kill the other farmers with barrels
of explosives. You travel around a 2D tile-based (over head
environment) and try with out wit AI opponents or another human at the
same keyboard. I think we need more games that allow players to play
with one another at the same machine and this is a fun one. The jaunty
music and Western theme are very well. This one has oodles of classic
World Cities: World Cities is a
pretty good little educational game. You are presented with a world map
and 10 random cities. You must click on the map where you think the
city is located and your score is based on how close you were to the
real location of each. Really not bad at all, but some of the
interface elements are very plain.
Squirroll: Squirroll is a very
well designed and implemented physics-based action game. You are a
squirrel and you are rolling on logs, holding nuts. The better you are
are rolling on the logs to your destination, the more nuts you will
have (not drop) when you get there. Everything is top class.
Drunken Rabbit 2: You are a
rabbit, who digs the sauce (so to speak), and you need to ingest as
many spirits as you can. This is a nicely executed physics based
platform game. It is very enjoyable and very much worth your time.
Armored Corps: Armored Corps is a little like Geometry Wars
with tanks. There are 250 levels to fight through and many extra
weapons to buy and power ups to collect. You use the WASD
keys to move and the mouse to fire. The presentation is well done and
the game play is pretty damn good. Nice all around.
Here is a retro style Flash named Zapataur that will help you save an actual brick and mortar arcade from extinction, just by playing online!!
The guys over at ArmchairArcade.com continue their domination of all media by talking about both their books and upcoming movie about video games, in this interview.
Bill Kunkel discusses fake celebrities used by game companies in years past to promote their games.
Retromags.com now has SIX issues of Electronic Games magazine ready for you to download and read at your "leisure"! They also have Atari Age, classic issues of Nintendo Power, and many others. While you are in the magazine mood, don't forget the other great Atari magazines site, Atarimagazines.com .
Over at Atariprotos.com they continue to unearth early Atari 2600 games that have never been published. This newest is named Racer by Rocklan. This always astonishes me, until I think of the dozens of 1/2 finished games I have laying around my hard drive and realize that in 1982, there were tons of programmers trying to make their mark on the 2600, so there are probably a few more these waiting to be found on Mainframe backup tapes world wide.
DadHacker has a an interesting story about working at a start-up in 1995, plus a story about the Easter Egg. his version of Super Pac-Man for the Atari 8-bit. DadHacker is a great site, and one of our favorites.
GameInformer has a good little story on the past, present and future of retro games. Nice and in the vein of things we have been thinking about lately too.
Retro.ign.com has a weird story about games based on John Hughes movies. I love John Hughes, but maybe these games should have been left buried.
Oh yeah, it's good to see that Ed Logg now has a Wikipedia page. Ed is one of one of our heroes at 8bitrocket.com. (Asteroids of course). By the way, we've been trying to get an interview for this site with him for some time, but we always seem to miss him. If anyone has any leads on how to contact him, they would be much appreciated.
Also, it looks like the Classic Gaming Expo will finally return in 2010! We plan to be there. how about you?
Did you know that Legacy Engineering still has their USB Atari 2600 Joystick for sale? It's a very nice piece of equipment.
AtariMuseum.com has updated their site with some interesting news. First, Curt Vendel is planning to create 25 Atari 7800 High Score cartridges, and you can try to get one. Also, Curt has updated the site with tons of new Atari 7800 info to mark that machine's 25th anniversary.
Finally, don't forget, be sure to visit ClassicGaming.com for your daily retro dose!
Flash Game Interweb Mashup:
Mochi Game Reviews
Tuesday Aug 25,
Wow, what a haul today. Great
games all around. This is what happens when you take a few days
Games covered this time:
Bug Box, Kahoots, Crazy Go Nuts 2, The Unfortunate
Necromancer, Little Farm, Pirate Golf Adventure, Hitstick 4, Fall,
Asteroids, Firework Columns.
8bitrocket Game Of The Day:
Bug Box has finally made the
move to Mochi. I played this little gem a couple weeks ago and was very
impressed. I have been waiting to play the final version and do a full
Mochi review and my chance has finally come. In Bug Box you have a very
simple task: Get the Butterfly to the exit. The game play is
based on a very simple sliding puzzle concept, but the execution and
quality is first rate. Bug box is another in a series of
Mochi games that would fit right into the casual game mix on Yahoo or
Big Fish. Kids and traditional casual gamers should all get a kick out
of this fun, inventive, wildly well executed puzzle contest. Everything
in the game, from the wonderful cartoon style graphics to the classy
environmental sounds is perfectly chosen. Plus, it was created by
Richard Davey of PhotonStorm.com in less than a week. He is quite a
talent. Keep up the great work, Rich.
Note: Richard has added a link to 8bitrocket.com on the title screen for his game. He did this AFTER I decided to make his game Game Of The Day (Last Friday). This was not a paid sponsorship. (see his note in the comments).
Mochi Coins and
Featured Game Mini Reviews (in
I don't know what to say about Kahoots other than: "What the
this crazy-ass awesome game?", and that I'd love to share whatever mind
pharmaceuticals they ingested when making it. It's Lemmings
and it's awesome. You need to play it to understand completely. You
might want to dig into the hollowed out book where you keep your stash
of "candy" from college before you play this one. I think I'm going to
nightmares of Peg Beast (but good ones). Grade A+.
Crazy Go Nuts 2:
Wow, Crazy Go Nuts 2
has Pop Cap written all over it. It is rare that I find a free Mochi
game that would actually be worth the $19.99 that Pop Cap charges for
casual games, but this is one of them. Nuts has top quality class all
over the field. It is like the Lakers, Yankees, Arsenal, Barcelona,
and Patriots,Red Wings and DC United all rolled into on fun action /
puzzle game for the whole family. The game is a little like Bloons, but
you are firing squirrels at nuts. It also combines elements of
Arkanoid, Clowns and Balloons, Point Blank, physics puzzles and more.
The presentation and originality is first class. You must collect nuts,
stars, and other items and amass a score high enough to make it to the
next level. There is no way to "die" other than not achieving a score
high enough to move on. Grade A+.
Golf Adventure: This
is beautifully crafted, laid back little
casual golf game with a pirate theme. You are tasked with moving about
the pirate world and advancing the story by knocking a pretty big golf
ball into a hole on each level. This isn't a plain old golf course, and
you don't have any clubs. Using the mouse you direct the ball, and hold
/ release the button to choose the power of your stroke over hills,
pirate ships, caves, and more. You can keep knocking the ball even
while it is in the air. Your job is to collect as many gold coins as
possible in as few strokes as possible and get the ball into the flag
designated hole. This a another extremely high quality game
would not be out of place on the all of the biggest commercial casual
game portals. Grade A.
The Unfortunate Necromancer:
This is a fun
(and funny) little retro styled game where you play a
in the center of the screen and you must do battle with hordes of
attacking undead. You have mana that you use to fire magic missiles and
other spells . You can purchase spells with in-game collected gold and
with Mochi-Coins. The Mochi-coins upgrades are pretty worthwhile items
that kick zombie some ass. A very unique element to the game is the
movement. You actually don't move, you just rotate in the center of the
screen, firing in the direction of the mouse, If an item appears that
you want to collect, you need to point to it press the "S" key. This
will send your trusty servant, Igor out to collect the item
(hilarious!). This is a
simple, but fun retro-style game. My favorite kind. Grade B+.
Another Mochi Coins casual game that
has Big Fish or Yahoo written all over it. The quality of
games is going up to match the best commercial casual games because
more real revenue can be derived from these games. The problem is
finding the audience that will pay. Those players are not on the same
portals that Mochi normally serves (I think). Most of the Yahoo and Big
Fish players stay on those portals. In any case, Little Farm
first class casual game. You need to water your crops and harvest them
into trucks that drive by. You do this by drawing a rectangle
around the crop squares so that all 4 corners match the crop that the
truck needs to pick up. There are many hazards and many
and power-ups. It isn't even fair comparing these types of games to the
typical Mochi fare. For the right audience, this will be a huge winner, Grade B+.
Is a "Hitman" style mission
oriented game. You click through the environment, either blasting, or
sneaking your way to the target. The missions usually require you to
take out a particular individual who is guarded by his own squad of
minions. Like the other Mochi Coins games, this is a top class entrant.
It isn't like Big Fish, Yahoo, or Pop Cap games,. It is more is a
traditional Flash/Old Skool computer game. A lot if time was spent on
character and mission creation. You will have a blast playing just like
I did. Grade
Mochi New Game Mini Reviews (in grade
Fall has the Zarjaz! You don't shoot anything, you just fall.
fall to a sweet little techno sound track in a slowly rotating room.
Your goal is to fall from one platform to another, avoiding
and picking up trinkets along the way, It is simple and it is fun. Grade B.
It's no secret that I will try any game with ships and rocks
in it. This one takes what I assume is an engine from a
popular book and adds some nice game play features. There were a few
render hiccups on my browser, but this is a fun, if not very unique
little blaster. Grade B-.
Firework columns is a Columns style game where you are treated to a
nice little firework display when you match three in a column. The game
is probably an IP
hazard, but the fire work element is pretty neat. Grade B-.
Flash Game Interweb Mashup:
Blogs, Sites and Mochi Game Reviews, Friday
For a second straight day I am doing a Mochi Review AND Site, Blog, and
Game Mashup. I am a sadist, and I hate myself. I even have two games of
the day today, one Mochi and one non-Mochi. Anyway, no need to read
any more of this jibjab...
Let's start with the games. Here are the titles on tap for today:
8bitrocket Game Of The Day
Tower of greed has NES classic
written all over it, but it doesn't steal any IP and isn't a clone. How
can that be? Talent, understanding, and an appreciation for the
classics, that's how. Epic Shadow (Porter and Andrew) have created a very
sweet little retro contest. Everything about this jaunty little 8-bit
style game is of the highest quality. Your goal is to collect as many
treasures and trinkets as you can while climbing up the tower. As you
start the ascent, the screen will start to scroll up faster and faster
and you must make some very quick decisions on how to proceed. This
could have been a nice little classic quarter gobbler in the mid-late
80's. Grade A.
8bitrocket Game Of The Day
Sacred Symbols is a very well
done puzzle game that has all of the elements I would think Mochi would
find valuable in a featured game. Only, they did not feature it (yet).
Actually, the flow of featured games has been very slow this week in
general. In theis game, you need to remove blocks from a grid, so yes,
they premise is not very original, but the game is very well done with
some deep play patterns. There are multiple types of blocks to click
and each destroys like (and some unlike) blocks in unique ways. Also,
you have spells (and mana to use up) such as teleport, heal, transmute,
and randomize. The visual and sonic touches added to the game are first
rate. Your main goal is to make sure you destroy more than two blocks
on each turn. If you don't, you will get into trouble quickly. The
visuals, while well done, slightly lack that final professional touch,
but the game-play is first-rate. Grade
Mochi Game Mini Reviews
(in grade order):
Wars 2: Angels VS Demons: The
Classic Worms or Artillery Range game with incredibly done visuals and
sounds. You play either and angel or a demon and you must fire your
weapons across the scrolling landscape to destroy your enemy
counterpart. This is a fun, cartoon-styled, and very inventive title
that should be a hit on many a portal. This was a candidate for game of
the day. Grade A.
A Tetris-like game with a beat-heavy techno sound track. Macro blocks
fall from the top of the screen and are made up of 4 mini
blocks with different colors in a square (2x2). You move the
macro blocks, place them and rotate the position of the
colors. A laser will come by and destroy mini blocks in groups of the
same colors (2x2). This is a very well made, fun puzzle game
with some nice visuals and the aforementioned sound track. Game of the
Day Candidate. Grade B.
2: Jungle Escape: Sweet! This is
a very simple, retro styled game. You basically control a soccer ball
along a scrolling (you move up, the background moved down) jungle path.
Your ball rotates and has some limited inertia. Your job is you move it
as far down the path as possible, avoiding the sides, the trees and any
other hazards that come along. The music is especially well done in
this title. The visuals are pretty simple, but the game-play is fun. Grade
John: A well done little
puzzle/platform game where you must walk on each platform (and make it
melt away) before you can finish the level. It is more difficult than
it sounds. The music and visuals are nice, and the game play is pretty
fun. Grade B.
An ancient board game played between you and the computer. DaveKG is
the KING of recent pretty good quality B Grade Mochi games. This one is
no exception. The AI is good and the visuals are pleasing. Nice work. Grade
Delayer: Death Delayer is a very
slow-paced, thinking-man's game. You need to patiently use your magic
to keep spiders and other beasties from attacking a man who has been
buried alive. The game is high on creativity, but low on action. It is
a unique, pretty well done game, but the game play is targeted at those
who not as twitch happy as I am. Morbid in some ways, and fascinating
in others, there might just be an audience out there for games of this
style. Grade B-.
Truck: Drive the truck along the
side-scrolling, jungle terrain, collecting stars. You need to reach the
finish line before time runs out. There are no shortage of games that
use the Glenn Rhodes side scrolling racing engine (or one like it).
This one looks nice, and plays pretty well. It has that "me too"
feeling, but if you enjoy games like this, you can't really go wrong
here. The sonic experience is a little lacking though. Grade
Flox is a well crafted, slow paced (many will enjoy this aspect), but
ultimately very simple game. You are tasked with drawing circles around
like colored circles that are floating in the game space. If you
"lasso" two like colored circles, they will merge to create a bigger
one. A had a few good minutes of fun with this one. The music is
soothing, and it plays nicely. Grade
Odyssey: Kit is a platform game
where you move from the left to the right and jump over things. The
screen doesn't scroll, but once to get to the right edge, you move to
the next screen. There is nothing really good or really bad about Kit.
The visuals are well done, but the platform engine controls are a
little tight. Grade B-.
Mission: A relatively simple,
but well made game. You man a highly maneuverable tank and you must
protect a medic truck on the road from enemy tanks. Basically, drive
around and BLOW SHIT UP. Don't shoot the medic truck though. It is good
clean cartoony fun. Grade
Competition: Take the most
difficult to control arcade game airplane in the history of the medium
and attempt to have fun crashing into the pretty landscape. I can't
give it too bad a grade just because I suck at it, but COME ON, why put
some much work into a game and then make it a complete BITCH to play?
Some good graphics and animation in this one though. Grade
You are a stone and you must fall down the screen on platforms. If you
don't fall fast enough (and get hit by the top of the screen) or fall
below the bottom of the screen, your game is over. This is a nice
simple little diversion without much in the way of either polish or
extended game play. Grade
Hungry Hobo: A very very
simplistic "advergame" style catch contest. Using the Hobo's arm to
extend a cup, catch falling money. That's pretty much it. The Hobo
looks pretty good, and the name is a funny take on the classic board
game (with Hippos), but there isn't really much here to grade. This
should be re-skinned and sold as an ad banner. Grade
/ Sites / Etc
cool Flex/Air Code Coverage Tool:
I'm a little late to the game on Flex Cover, but it seems to be a very
useful tool, and it's free!
Collision Detection Kit : Looks
KICK ASS! A set of classes to do pixel perfect collision detection for
ALL display objects. SWEET does not cover it! Corey O'Neil, you have
some new fans over here.
Write AS3 on- line and compile it
into a swf: The Actionscript
Minibuilder is a Java App that runs in a browser. It lets you compile
AS3 with code assist.
New Basic Enemy AI Tutorial at Flash
Perfection: It's in
AS1/AS2 and pretty basic (onClipEvent), but if you are in need, it's
worth a look.
The Game In Your Blog Flash Game
Round Up for Aug 20:
Cyclomaniacs, The Competitor, GT and the Evil Factory, This
is the Only Level, and Bubble Spinner.
Hey Zap Now Gives Publisher a cut too
now: So says this this Tech
10 Reasons Flash Is Better
Than Silverlight: As if you
needed this list =) I'm actually very interested in Silverlight 3. We
tested Silverlight 2 earlier this year and made a couple small games. I
was disappointed with the bitmapdata and sound support. Both have
supposedly been fixed in version 3, but I haven't had time to check it
little Off Topic:
The Angry Video Game Nerd Review NES
Bible Games: The games are
unauthorized and AWESOME! Did you realize that Moses was that strong!
has launched: From
the staff behind the awesome RecycledGaming.com.
Way Way Off Topic:
always, hit www.flashgameblogs.com
for your daily does.
We here at 8bitrocket.com spend a lot of time trying to educate small developers on the issues of Intellectual Property" (I.P. or IP). Why? Well, one because we love you. Two, because we both have vast experience working for major corporations that really take the issue of "Intellectual Property" seriously. These large corporations all have tons of lawyers, on-staff, and ready to sue. However, that is not all, there are many companies that do business with their lawyers. That is, they are more apt to sue first and ask questions later. In fact, in many cases it does not even matter if you (the indie developer we love) are in the "right" or not. All that matters is that you are tied-up in court spending money you don't have to fight a lawsuit that could have been otherwise avoided.
In our yearly predictions from last year, we had this one: "an I.P. incident similar to the Facebook "Scrabulous" issue will rock the viral, Flash game world. It will force many domestic U.S./Europe portals to screen games more closely...". We were wrong about the Flash market, as this has not happened yet. However, yesterday a funny yet slightly disturbing story came out of Game Set Watch. Apparently, a joke was created on the New Zealand gaming site Game Console about a "breakout/arkanoid" style game for the Playstation Network that was going to get a "William Shatner/Star Trek" graphical overhaul. While it was a funny joke, someone took it very seriously... William Shatner's lawyers!
Not only was cease a desist letter sent to the developer of the game threatening a lawsuit, but they also claimed to have alerted Paramount Studios of the this "I.P. crime". In a vacuum, this story has all the elements of something quite funny. Its got uptight lawyers, William Shatner, and mistaken identity, etc. However, the internet is not a vacuum. (unless you consider that some days it totally SUCKS). Since we see these kinds of I.P. issues with viral Flash games almost daily, it is only a matter of time before some tiny Flash developer is sued for all their Mochipennies (plus legal costs - read: $$$$$) because they used a copyrighted Megan Fox image in their dress-up game. We await the hammer to fall. In any event, I claim another one of our predictions to now be validated.
Flash Game Interweb Mashup:
Blogs, Sites and Game reviews,Thursday Aug 20,
This is a combined Blog / Site Mashup as well as a Mochi Game review
Mashup all in one. I figured why not try to do as many of
these as possible, as often as possible There is more to life than just
games, and there's more to games than just blogs. Let's see how this
plays out. I'd love to do this daily, but time is limited, so it might
be every other day. Mochi has gone ahead and changed up the Publisher
page to highlight coins and featured games, while literally burying the
"new games" so far down the page that most people will never get there.
Alas, I cannot be fooled, so I will trudge through the sea of "me
too's", "dress-up games", and "laser-dodgers" to find some hidden gems
(and some not so gem-like).
Let's start with the games. Here are the titles on tap for today:
8bitrocket Game Of The Day:
SWEEEEEEET! Not a Mochi Game today, but a fun retro inspired action
game. Using your Pac-man like character, you must eat all of the green,
blue and purple classic characters and void the red ones. The game play
is pretty good, but the entire atmosphere puts me into a retro-arcade
on the 80s mixed with some Jeff Minter Zarjaz. It's a fun little game
with an awesome atmosphere.
(8bit Junkie is a Paul Stamp
Mochi Game Mini Reviews:
Square: A relatively simple
looking, but ultimately pretty difficult puzzle game. You are tasked
with removing colored cubes and their adjacent neighbors from a line of
cubes at the bottom of the screen. Your score is based on the square
(math) of the number of cubes you eliminate. There are quite a few
special (good and bad) cubes and one that cubes your score (more math)
rather than squaring it. The puzzles are based on removing all of the
cubes (good and bad - but bad removes some of your score too) to
complete a level. This is a nice, well made game. I had to play a few
times to really get it, but then again, I'm an idiot. so most people
will take to this one pretty easily. Grade
3D: Part 2: This is sliding
match-3 puzzle, played at a sort of 3-D perspective (really iso). It
looks pretty, but there is no sound to speak of. The way matches are
completed is a new idea (at least to me). You move entire rows and
columns and try to match up colored squares with other rows and
columns. You don't just swap to pieces. This makes for some interesting
game play. Grade B
DX: A first-person (well 3rd,
from behind) snowboarding game. This is is a visual and sonic treat.
The controls are a little difficult to get used to, but for the most
part they work great. We are now starting to see games that reach the
PS1 level of quality on the Flash platform. This one isn't quite there
yet (Maybe Jaguar/Early Saturn quality), but is certainly is the best
Flash snowboarding game I have played. Grade
Your job is to fill the screen with Blue Balls (sic). Watch out for the
red balls as they will destroy your blue balls if they collide during
creation. I call all of these games Qix games (because that was the
original filler in in the early 80's). This isn't a bad little game,
but there is not enough special about it to really make it stand out.
A pretty good version of the Microsoft Windows time sapping classic.
There are quite a few options for creating your own game with different
board sizes, difficulty, etc. I dig the effort. It's simple, might have
IP issues (I don't know the trademark on the name), but all in all, it
is kind of fun. Grade C+.
A sweet little mouse avoider style game with some nice custom music (a
really decent song). It's done well and has good elements. It is a
little like other games, but I really appreciate this attempt to make
is different in some with with little touches of Mintereque zarjaz.
There are places where it could use some visual upgrades though. Game
Grade B-. Song Grade B+.
to Kill: This has to be the most
difficult defense game I have ever played. You are a guard, defending a
bank from zombie looking robbers. You have the worst gun in the history
of guns (it can be upgraded though) and the robbers all have unlimited
supplies of weapons and grenades to throw at you. It doesn't look like
much and really doesn't play like much. There is a way to upgrade, but
I never made it that far because my gun hardly ever fired and hit an
attacker. It needs some work in all areas, but it looks like a lot of
code was put in to get it this far. Grade
: Hmm, it looks a lot like Atari classic (and the Neave Flash version),
and some of the original sounds are sampled. But some of the sounds are
just plain crap. Why sample some and not others. Actually, why re-make
the exact game with some sounds and not others, I mean were you really
concerned about the IP issues with just the shooting sound. Anyway, as
much as I like retro games and Asteroids, exact duplicates (even with
one sound replaced) are ripe for legal issues.Nice coding job though, Grade
Runner: God I was hoping this
would be better than the last Asteroids game, I was wrong. It is ok,
but odd. You must dodge falling asteroids as you move up the screen.
Inexplicably, at some points you earn a "charge" that you are supposed
to be able to use to destroy some of the rocks. I never got it to work.
At least the asteroids are not stolen IP, but they do look like soccer
balls in some ways. Grade
By the way, Mochi seems to have some ROS (run of site) Vlassic Pickle
ads now. I have not seen those since between commercial Knight Rider
and Chips episodes in the early 80's.
/ Sites / Etc
Rev Share Enabled Games - If you
are a publisher, reluctant to add Mochicoins games because of the
potential for player to leave your site, you can now be compensated if
you add Mochicoins Rev Share enabled games to your site. There
are 6 up now with more to come.
"RTFA" for questions =).
Once Upon A Time In Flash Development
Part II -Vortixgames' Vlad gives
his take on the Greg v Ryan argument with own discussion of developer
practices and maturity levels. Of course many new developers want cash
for little work...don't we all though?
Takes on Sponsor Click Through Rates:
I like Porter because he wants to create retro-style games ( we do
to!). Anyway, Porter finds some interesting views on the value of
traffic, unique games, and CTR in this nice article.
Speccy Game Bible!: Rich, over
at Photonstorm, has a review up concerning this series of great books
on Spectrum games. The books cover 1982-1993 and 1200+ games. Nice
find, Rich. This is the type of material that ALL game developers
should be reading.
The average game is now 35, fat and
bummed - so says MSNBC from a
poll given to fat, bummed Seattle Tacoma residents.
If you hate AS3, then this thread is
for you - People mostly hate AS3
because it makes time line and embedded clip coding a fuck-nutsy
experience. If you are like me, and you like to build applications and
games with pure code, then AS3 rocks. It is obvious to me
that there are large camps on both sides of the issue. Neither is wrong
because both use code for completely different purposes.
Flash CS4 Still Crash For You?-Icky
G. (The Dime Man) has it running smooth as a kitten after the latest
Useful Flash APIs and Tools
-Lorenz has put together a very nice list of 3D, Multiplayer, physics,
IDE, tweens, and other tools that can really help you get the job done.
HitTest behaves with scrollrect:
-Jobe has discovered some interesting things about hit testing with a
scrollrect. Basically, you can't hitTestPoint outside the boundaries of
the scrollrect and expect to get accurate results. See Jobe's example.
I never use scrollRect, I just offset the point and use the
BitmapData.hitTest. I don't think this will work for Jobe, but I like
to write things that are in my head (obviously).
Open source AS3 Isometric Engine
- Emanuele has an entry with the details on this sweet little piece of
code from Djibril Tavares.
little Off Topic:
latest version of Retro Gaming Times
- Alas, I didn't make the Atari Playfield article this time - damn
book, salting up my game.
Way Way Off Topic:
The Ten Coolest Cartoon Cars Of All
Time - The
Tom Slick car and and Mach 5 are awesome, but the car from the Ambiguously
Beck's Loser, the Literal Video
Interpretation! I always knew
that was death with his shirt off.
always, hit www.flashgameblogs.com
for your daily does.
Last year we made 10 predictions for the next 12 months It's time to evaluate our progress and make 10 more predictions for 2009-1010 . First, the results from last year. Not too shabby. Some of the more "out there" ones(Atari and Bushnell, Sierra and the Williams) actually proved to be closer than I thought, while some of the easier ones (Wii, 360) were just dead wrong.
10. Mac gaming will rise to new heights. Publishers will convert PC games to the Mac using next-generation Intel hardware conversion utilities. They will find that testing games for the relatively small number of Mac hardware variations makes their job much easier. IGN will re-launch mac.ign.com. Also, bucking the recent trends, a Mac- gaming-centric print magazine will launch...and the initial issues will sell very well.
OK, we were 1/2 right. Many games are being released as PC/Mac at the same time (Spore, Sims 3). However IGN and most other big sites have
ignored it. Also, game magazines in general in the toilet so there is not a new Mac magazine. Ooops.
9. FMAME (the Flash version of MAME) will be embraced by many unscrupulous game portals. Other Flash-based emulators will follow.
Small Flash game developers will have their games squeezed out of portals and will have to work much harder to make games that will get published. At the same time, an I.P. incident similar to the Facebook "Scrabulous" issue will rock the viral, Flash game world. It will force many domestic U.S./Europe portals to screen games more closely, and start licensing classic game ROMs for use on their sites, further squeezing indie game developers.
We were mostly right on this one. We see what appear to be either ROMs or ports of existing games all over the place, but it has not stemmed the tide of new games. At the same time, the overall quality of Flash games is increasing as well. It is certainly harder to devs to make games that get sponsored these days. Also, the overall quality of games is much higher these days..
8. The kids-based, casual MMOW/MMOG market will face a shakeout. 95% of new offerings will make no money, while the already established properties will fight for a ever shrinking piece of the pie. Two or three major winners will emerge, and developers will look for, and find, their next casual MMOG goldmine: Seniors and retirees who want to relive their lost past in detailed game universes that simulate childhood/teenage/college years gone by. Japanese "dating" simulators will be the model.
Wrong on the first part. Reports state that this area is still exploding. However, seniors and retirees are flocking to Facebook where, indeed they do get to relive their "childhood", but it's their actual childhood, not a virtual one.
7. Chris Crawford's brilliant interactive story telling engine Storytron will come out of beta with a new, perfected version of "Balance Of Power". Even though it offers a very compelling retro- casual game experience, it will be criminally overlooked because it lacks a pretty interface.
OK, I teed this one up for myself so I was bound to get one right. Crawford released a version of Balance Of Power for Storytron...and no one noticed.
6. Playstation Home will finally be "released". It will be a surprising hit among families who desire an MMO-style experience, but don't want to pay monthly fees. Along with a higher adoption-rate for Blu-Ray, the PS3 will catapult to a solid #2 position in the console wars. Microsoft will attempt to gain a more casual audience with a re- vamped and re-priced Xbox360, but the effort will not be enough to get them out of 3rd place. Hardcore gamers will gather around the PC and 360 with Live as their last stand against the casual gaming zombie hordes.
Completely wrong. the 360 is still taking off, and Playstation Home, while a fine product, is not really any kind of destination. Furthermore I now own a 360. The addition of Netflix downloads to the 360 changed everything.
5. Spore will be a fine, fun game that satisfies the midcore/casual market. However, it will disappoint and alienate the hardcore gamer segment, and the backlash will last for months. The game will still sell bucket loads and will prompt several big-cost, high profile imitators...that will all fail. The only successful imitation will be a free, advertising based game created by a team of college students using Flash.
Again, part right, part wrong (I should just go with my gut and not add anything extra to these). Spore was hit, but it was also a disappointment to hardcore gamers. There are have been noticeable knock offs because the game was just not that good.
4. Activision will abandon the Sierra label once and for all. A reinvigorated Ken and Roberta Williams will buy the name at a fire- sale price, and re-launch Sierra as a casual game company. They will take the classic Sierra adventure game style, and create new, 2D/3D adventure games for the cell phones, the web (Flash viral) and as downloadable games for Wiiware, Xbox Live and Playstation Home. They will launch with a new version of King's Quest, followed by a unique new Al Lowe game, plus new entries for Police Quest and Space Quest.
All of this is just staging for their grand-plan: a re-launch of the The Sierra Network, as a new smash-hit Sims-like MMOG that allows all players to create their own adventure games (and other games) within the game playing universe.
Activision is still looking to sell Sierra, so this was mostly correct. At any rate, they don't respect the Sierra name at all any longer. Sierra.com does not exists any more...but sierragamers.com does exists and it is run by...Ken and Roberta Williams! Hmm. The blog says that they are very sad at the demise of Sierra. Could a purchase come next? This one is also still highly in-play.
3. While indie, viral Flash Game services like Mochiads, FlashGameLicense, GameJacket, Kongregate, etc. continue to increase their professionalism and service offerings, most large publishers houses and ad agencies will continue to ignore them, opting instead to focus on aging online ad services and the already saturated "Facebook"
True, these services are still got mostly unnnoticed. What I missed was the "shakeout" that brought-down Game Jacket, and the subsequent flurry of activity around microtransactions.
2. Nolan Bushnell's Uwink Media Bistro will finally expand to several new markets. However, a lawsuit will force the company to change their name. Luckily, at the same time Infogrames will finally decided to drop the "Atari" moniker and go back their real roots (i.e. as a French game company mining their past for inspiration. Their first release will the Civil War themed Blue And Grey 2010). Bushnell, flush with cash from selling his life-story for the upcoming Atari movie, will swoop in and buy the name back from Infogrames. Uwink will change their name to "Atari Family Game Centers", and among their new game offerings, will feature classic Atari games in a new retro/casual/ midcore multi-player setting.
UWink has started to morph itself away from a restaurant company and into a technology company. They have spun off the technology into Tapcode, and now offer it for the service industry in general. So did change their name, but not because of a lawsuit. Also, Infogrames did decide to drop the Atari name in some markets. At the same time Midway and Time Warner Interactive are merging. Much of this idea is still in-play, so there is still a chance for this one too.
1. Wii Too: 2009 will bring the launch of Nintendo's new "Wii Too", a revamped and repackaged version of the Wii console. While the base hardware will remain similar to the current Wii, new production efficiencies will allow for much cheaper parts and the addition of new features. The console design will feature greatly expanded internal memory, HDMI output, DVD playback, the ability to download and play 480p movies via a new movie service, and expand the number if Wiimotes that can connect to a single console from 4 to 16. The console will come packed with a new Wiimote that combines the features of the the standard Wiimote, Wii -Motion, and an added microphone for further game-play possibilities. The new console will be packed with Wii Sports Resort to take advantage of Wii-Motion.
I, honestly, do not understand why this one has not occurred yet. all of the parts are in-place, but Nintendo has simply not made new version of the Wii. I check the news every day for an announcement. I was wrong, but I still think this one is imminent.
OK, now for our 2009-2010 predictions. I'm going to try to keep these simple this year:
10. Microtransactions In Flash Games Will Struggle. Too many games, too few people willing to pay. The most successful service will be Mochicoins, but it will still struggle with quality vs. what people are willing to pay for. However, a few very well made and successful games will point towards the future.
9. Adobe will announce a new version of Flash that makes AS3 much more accessible for artists and designers. Also, real 3D support will be finally added to Flash. At the same time, Silverlight 3 will start making in-roads, but mostly for corporate applications, on the 360, and on Sharepoint web sites.
8. Atari will officially do something on the web in regards to their classic game library. It will be too little too late.
7. Web Surfing on the 360. Microsoft will open-up the 360 to web browsing...but without Flash support (just like the iPhone). however, Silverlight will be supported. Silverlight web games will become a new "home brew" dev platform for 360 games.
6. Even though it has robust Flash and HTML 5 support, the Palm Pre will be a dud (at least in the USA into the foreseeable future). Sprint is is the only carrier right now, plus the CrackBerry is killing in corporate market, while the iPhone has a lock on consumers mind share and handheld phone gaming. That leaves early adopters and Sprint customers.
5. Also, even though there was nerd backlash, Diablo 3 will be released and it will generate a huge, massive, amazing ocean of cash for Blizzard. A new "Ultima" branded single player Diablo-like game will be announced by Electronic Arts. Sadly, Richard Garriott will not be involved.
4. A new console from a MAJOR company will be announced. It will be download-only and will support games from multiple platforms (Flash, PC, emulated, etc.). This could also come in the form of set-top box that "rents" games ala Netflix directly over the internet.
3. The PC will fall even further away as a platform for AAA game titles, but indie and web games using Flash, Unity and and Instant Action will pick-up much of the slack.
2. The Atari/Bushnell Movie will take a drastic turn in tone when Will Farrell replaces Leonardo Decaprio in the lead role, and Seth Rogan is cast as Al Alcorn. However, it It will nothing compared the switch in tone for the "Asteroids" movie when Universal casts Jack Black as "Medium Sized Rock".
1. A great new book on AS3 Flash Game Development will be published. You will all will love it and will buy a copy. Also, that "How To Create Blog Posts That Hypnotize And Influence Your Readers" e-book I bought last year will finally pay off.
Flash Game Interweb Mashup:
Blogs, Sites and Game reviews, Aug 18, 2009
This is a combined Blog / Site Mashup as well as a Mochi Game review
Mashup all in one. I had to take a weekend break because it
was my wedding anniversary. My wife was already not pleased that I had
to write 15 pages of my latest chapter, so instead of Mochi
games, a Mash-up, and a divorce, I took a break and started back today
with a combination Mash-Up, and a solid marriage.
Let's start with the games. Here are the titles on tap for today:
Game Mini Reviews:
Game Of The Day:
One of the best all around
Flash games you will ever play. It's a bicycle race similar to
Excitebike, but with modern physics and a quality second to none. Robot
Jam and Long Animals, I salute you. Please make more games, but don't
give them away for free. Sell them on Xbox live or Wiiware! Make me
feel inadequate. Grade
A sweet little retro style physics based puzzle - shoot a cannot ball
at all kinds of household items and try to inflict the most damage. Grade
Zombie Assault 2 - Insane Asylum:
Kick Zombie ass, collect money to open new areas and weapons. There is
also a Mochi Coin implementation that confuses me a little (the Mochi $
vs the in game $), but it is a very fun game. Grade
Rush: This is a well done, but
seemingly incomplete overhead, scrolling (360) shooter. You run around
and shoot baddies using the keys and the mouse. It seems incomplete -
no sound, no real instructions, etc. In its current state it is an odd
duck, but interesting all the same. Grade
Not a conversion the obscure 80's sequel to Phoenix, this is a simple,
but well made game where you must use the mouse to guide a group from
left to right and avoid any of them being killed. It's pretty fun. Grade
Bounce: A fun little puzzle game
where you snap a "cord" to bounce a ball around the level until it hits
the key. It doesn't look like much, but it is a pretty good game. Grade
Flower Garden: The style and
look of this game is very nice, but the game play if very odd. Stuff
seems to be falling from the sky, and you must either open or close the
umbrella over each plant to let the "stuff" hit it or not. Good stuff
(water) and bad stuff (lemonade?) will with help or hurt you plants.
Some young girls will get a kick out of this one. Grade
Sonic the Hedge Hog with a tank .Pretty well done and fun. Grade
Rescue The Houseworld:
A fun little retro-style space shooter where you man a cannon at the
top and blow away enemy attacking from the bottom. It's more my type of
game that yours, but I think you will enjoy it too. Grade B.
/ Sites / Etc
The Flash Love Letter Part 2
- Danc, you have me at "New Definition of Value"! Danc gives
the metric measurement ideas that will help you make money from your
Finite State Machine For Games.-
Colby is extending his great entity based game framework with a
discussion of OOP state machines. Nice!
Yak's Making Of Attack Of The Mutant
Camels - Read all about how Jeff
Minter entered the game industry in the Edge.com article.
Using Math To Defeat Zombies -
It's possible, though not probable that you will need to fight off
zombies one day. They all watch Dancing with the Stars now, but what
happens when it's taken off the air?
Wired's Virtual Reality Game: Find
Evan Ratliff and win $5000 - He
is gone, but keep up to date on his credit card purchases, cell phone
calls, and blog entries. If you find him first he will give you a
password to obtain your cash!
Martin Hollis , who has been doing
this since the dark ages, interview at Gamasutra.
- They discuss Rare, Speccy games, etc all they up to the new Wii
Freelance Flash Games get's jiggy
with Cronus X for a week. - It
couldn't have happened to a more deserving game.
Tracker interface for Flash 10-
Have you ever mistyped in Photonstorm.com and gone to Photostorm.com?
I hope they get some extra business out of it. Maybe Richard Davey can
make them a new site with his impressive skillz. Anyway, over at Rich's
Game development blog, not the wedding photo site, he has a sweet news
item on the FlodPro Tracker interface for Flash 10.
Want to play Flash Games on you PSP?
The Techie-buzz blog have the goods.
Funny or Die Ballad of GI Joe-
What do the Joes
and Cobra do in their off hours? Three Dog Night, Painting landscapes
and Ham radios?
always, hit www.flashgameblogs.com
for your daily does.
Mochi Game Review Mash-Up: Friday, Aug. 14, 2009 (18 Games Graded).
I am still catching up with the non-featured games today. It will possibly be Sunday before I actually get to them all (sans most of the Dress Up games). There are some nice quality games, some puzzling ones, and some dreck in today's line-up.
8bitrocket Featured Game Of The Day: Gravitee 2
8bitrocket Capsule Reviews: Ball Breaker!, Army Defense, Waitress Girl Dress up, Laser Survivor 3, Game of the Same, Kebab Fling, Friki Race, Planet X, Present Panic, Ultimate Peg Solitary, Road Rage, Explodaball, Lightaball, Gem Twist
Featured Game Of The Day: Gravitee 2
Why is this the featured game: Gravitee 2 is one of the best trajectory puzzle style games created for the Flash platform. It should be a hit on any portal that adds it into the mix. I'm terrible at these types of games, but even I can appreciate the mastery it took to put this one together.
Description: Gravitee 2 is a game where you must play "interstellar golf" by firing balls from one planet to another through "hoops". You must puzzle through the trajectories and other obstacles on the 40 levels with 90 awards to win.
First Impression: Cool. I never played the first game, but now I know what all the fuss was about. This is the premier trajectory puzzle game and it is so well made.
Description: Dodge the swarm of sweet particles and collect power ups in the well made and simple gaming contest.
First Impression: The music and simple visual with extra fx and zar jaz is a treat
Name: Sniper Tower Defender
Description: This is a very fast paced, really fun and simple tower defense (the classic type with right to left attackers).
First Impression: It looks simple, but the sheer number of attackers, weapons and the nice linear style of play will be good for TD novices. Plus, shooting and popping the heads of the stick figures is pretty damn fun.
Name: Bat In Nightmare
Description: A good looking little game where you must fly a bat up through a tower to escape with dodging all likes on baddies.
First Impression: At first I couldn't figure out what to do. Just just hold down the mouse button and move up the screen, dodging left and right. It's pretty simple, but the cartoon like visuals are very well done. The game is a little bland in places, but it certainly is a quality production.
8bitrocket Capsule Reviews:
Ball Breaker!: A relatively simple puzzle game where you must stack falling balls and once 3 or more of the same color are stacked, you can click to remove the bottom one. Fun for a short time, but the presentation is a little plain. Grade C+.
Army Defense: A relatively simple looking Path Defense game with some cool 80's game-style music. It isn't much too look at and the music can become kind of annoying. But, it isn't a bad little defense game and these take some time and some good code skills to complete. Grade B-.
Waitress Girl Dress up: I'm trying to let the dress up games stand on their own without reviewing them because really, those who play them and put them on their portals don't really care what I have to say about them. But, I have always had a soft spot in my heart (next to the deep dark coal) for waitresses. This one is pretty well done. Grade B-.
Laser Survivor 3: Move the green ball through the room and try not to get hit by the lasers. Technically competent, but this has been done so many times before. Grade C.
Game of the Same: Compare two (or more) grainy pictures containing rows and columns of desktop icons. Your fun task is to decide whether or the two pictures are identical Grade D.
Kebab Fling: Hmm, this is a good idea with some funny graphic humor. It's also relatively good technically, but it isn't mush fun because it is so difficult. You must try to make a Kebab from the ingredients flying at your kebab stick from the right of the screen. I'd quit this job right away, as I think OSHA laws prohibit food throwing in kitchens as a way to prepare fresh ingredients. In any case, this one needs some work, but has potential. Grade C-.
Friki Race: Technically, this might be a port, but I have never played the original. It actually is nice little racing tech demo with no sound. It could have been an 8-bit computer game in the 80's because it has that look. With some extra polish on these retro visuals and maybe some sound (and better collision detection), they could have something here. As a demo of what could be, I give it is B-. As a current game, it is a Grade C-.
Planet X: This one, like Friki Race seem to be ports or emulated 8-bit games. Planet X is actually a really cool, fun shooter. My favorite games are space shooters, and this one is quite fun. Again, with some sound, this one would be much better, but as it is, it is a fun little shooter. Grade B-.
Present Panic: A cool little Christmas themed platform game that also seems to be from the same emulation (or platform port) as Friki race and Planet X. This one concerns Santa trying to collect presents. Not a bad little retro game, but these need some sound and all of the controls are very very loose. Grade C+
Ultimate Peg Solitary: This is a really well done version of the "jump" peg solitaire game where you attempt to leave as few pegs on the board.You progress from 2 pegs up until you can no longer finish. Pretty cool and fun. Grade B.
Road Rage: In this game you drive up a very nice looking scrolling road and bash and shoot all the cars in the way. It is done well and looks nice. The sounds are terrible though, and I never could understand the point or why my game was over. There is some fun and quality here though. Grade B-
Explodaball: Hmm, the goal is to move the mouse as fast as you can over the mines and make them blow up. You are timed, and the faster you do it, the better you are. The mines explode kind of nice and it is a simple idea that might get multiple plays from REALLY REALLY bored old people. It could do well on certain portals. Grade C-.
Lightaball: See Explodaball, but this time you have a grid of lights that must be lit before the time runs out. Not as fun or as well done a Explodaball. Grade D.
Gem Twist: A unique little Match-3 game where you move Gems in groups of 4 by rotating the group. Fun and well implemented. Grade B.
Mochi Game Review Mash-Up:Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009. Kick Ass Game Day.
All great games today! Just this batch will have you playing awesome free games for weeks. Who needs a Wii or Xbox Live Arcade with this set of gems? Pretty much all of them could have been Game of The Day, but I reserved that for the most kick ass Asteroids blasting contest I have played in a while.
8bitrocket Featured Game Of The Day: cronusX
Featured Game Of The Day: cronusX
Why is this the featured game: cronusX is quite possibly the most cinematic version of Asteroids (without being bloated with story and cut scenes) that I have ever played. Everything is hard-core top notch: From the convex retro arcade display monitor look to the old-skool mid-20th century dynamic music, and awesome game-play, cronusX is a pure winner.
Description: Using the venerable WASD keys to move and the mouse to shoot, you must blast the rocks, collect power ups, and watch out for the various baddies. It may sound like old hat, but the implementation is on par with the best in the business.
First Impression: I have been a fan of Squize, his sites, his games, and his Zar Jaz for a couple years now. I hold that bias high in the air when I proclaim cronusX to be one of the best versions of Asteroids created on the Flash platform. This game is just pure fun.
Grade: A+. No one does it better than the GWY team. They have set the bar very high.
8bitrocket Highlighted Games
Name: Roll Roll Pirate
Description: This is a crazy as in good and difficult puzzle game that could have been game of the day also. It sets the bar very high for all puzzle games that come after it. You are a Pirate (a ball pirate) that must roll around the various islands collection your lost treasure. The islands tilt as to roll in various directions, making it a very decent challenge.
First Impression: WOW! Just wow! This could sell on the Wii for $20 a pop, but we get it for free! Everything in this game is outstanding - from the 3d environment, to the music, fx, cut scenes, and game play. It is a little on the difficult side, but hey you don't want your games to be too easy, now do you?
Name: Letter RIP
Description: OMG, this is such a freaking awesome word game. I think Steve will literally poop his pants when he plays this one. It is the 3rd game today that could have been Game of the Day.
First Impression: This excellent quality shooting content asks you to create words by shooting the letters in front of the western outlaw foes. You eliminate letters to create words and send the baddies to boot hill.
Description: An excellent retro-style adventure game. This is the sequel to one of the best little Flash adventure games of all time.
First Impression: I played the first one for about 1/2 hour but never finished it. This one contains some awesome 80's inspired music and some fun interactions and puzzles.. Its no secret that I value game-play over visuals, but I absolutely love good game play, combined with retro visuals. This one has both.
Name: Gummy War
Description: A funny, Contra style shooting across the earth's surface. The Gummies are attacking and you must kick their collective ass.
First Impression: This is a very fun, well made shooter. It reminds me of Contra, and this is probably the highest honor I can give any side scrolling run and shoot contest.
Grade: A- It would have received an A, but the the GamesFree.ca logo in the lower left is too way to click on when trying to shoot the little gummy dudes.
Name: Wicky Woo in Lava Land
Description: Wicky's new adventure takes him to hell? I have no idea actually, but it looks sweet (and hot), and plays pretty well.
First Impression: This is a nice little retro platformer with s style all it's own. It is quite fun and original.
8bitrocket Capsule Reviews: