February 4, 2008

The Dimensions of a Flash Game

Flash games and I have an uneasy relationship. I like them, but I don't like that I like them. All too often, I'm sucked in by a game that I know doesn't have any innovative gameplay (casual games' supposed asset), and I'm ashamed.

A while ago I started to examine what it is that allows these games to so easily demolish my productivity. I concluded that their main advantage is the amorphous quality that has been labeled "color" by more enlightened individuals. To imagine a game without color, replace all sounds with beeps and all graphics with colored squares.

"Cursor*10" has fantastic gameplay and no color. So does "Pong".

"Winterbells" has fantastic color and poor gameplay. It's instant happiness.

But one game seems to lack both color and gameplay. I'm talking about the juvinile favorite "Kitten Cannon", whose repetitious gore provided my high school with endless fun when the teacher wasn't around.

In explaining the appeal of "Kitten Cannon", I had to turn to another facet of the game: story. That doesn't precisely mean narrative, since this game's is actually rather boring. Story represents the context and representation of events in the game. In a spy thriller, the context ("I'm a super-cool spy!") is a lot more important than the actual narrative. In this case, the context is that you're shooting a kitten out of a cannon, and the appeal lies entirely in the irreverence.

"Kitten Cannon" is our poster child for story. "Pong" does, too, as a representation of table tennis, but it's rather weak.

"Red" combines color and gameplay but no story.

So, what game has it all? I might nominate "flOw". Your suggestions?


Dale Culp said...

Have you seen Shift yet? It's a very basic platformer with a neat twist.

Alexei said...

Yeah, flOw is definitely the best flash game I've seen in a long while.

Online Casinos said...

I didn't know about Kitty Cannon so I tried it. It was actually good, but I'd go with flow too.