Oh Flash Games, How I Love Thee
Let me count the ways.
I have been playing games since I had the Atari 2600 17 years ago to this very day, and I still rank it as one of my top hobbies, alongside reading and achieving world peace. Yet a while back, when I was a penniless college student, I had to let go of my beloved hobby in the favor of other things like eating and finding a shelter. During my time as a student, I was disconnected from the world of gaming, yet I was still plagued by the desire to play games.
Just as I was starting to showcase withdrawal symptoms, flash games came to my rescue. Flash games first came to my attention through Miniclip.com, which my friends introduced to me during high school. While I did enjoy what it had to offer, I didn’t buy much into it, and only played miniclip games whenever I had to kill a few minutes of my time
Yet when I wasn’t able to afford games, I had to rely on browser games to fulfill my needs. At first, my site of choice was addictinggames.com, but later I discovered armorgames.com, and that quickly became one of my top favorite websites. While the idea of flash games didn’t appeal to me much previously, I was fascinated by the high degree of fun they could provide, and the amount of creativity these games could provide. The variation was another thing that took me by surprise; the games ranged from survival horror to cutesy, cartoonish arcades, some games took the trouble to feature extensive epic storylines, while the stories of other games consisted of “Kill It”.
It is indeed the variation that is the strongest element in flash games. Your average flash game can be completed in little time, and it is in their huge amounts of choice available that kept me from coming back for more. Yet this choice wouldn’t be anything if each game didn’t provided something new and different. While flash games do have their fair share of clones, a lot of them do manage to have their own unique aesthetic (something which can’t be said of many mainstream AAA games) as many games display unique art styles, models, sound design, and characters.
This quality makes flash games perfect territory for budding game developers. The low scope of flash games is made up by the complete creative freedom provided by such games, and despite what some may think, working on such games does provide some kind of exposure, as websites like Miniclip, Kongregate, Armor Games and Addicting Games all rank in the top 1,000 most visited websites in the US according to Alexa Ratings.
Despite gushing for the past 400 words, I am not of the opinion that flash, browser and smartphone games are the future of gaming. I would much rather get immersed in a big budget game of graphical might and gameplay complexity. But flash games are a force to be reckoned with, and should be appreciated for the fun, varied (and sometimes trippy experiences) they provide.