Flash Games Research

It’s important to know about other games made with the same tools we’re using, so we’ve been asked to do some reflection on a few games made in Flash. I certainly can’t complain when my work includes researching brilliant games developed by brilliant people. However, looking into these games, I have noticed that 99% of them seem to be made for the mobile market. That’s not to say that you can’t port them onto something like Steam or publish them elsewhere, it just seems to be Flash games dominate on the Android, iOS, etc. This is definitely something to keep in mind. So, I’ve chosen three to look at:

1. Machinarium

machinarium

I actually first discovered this game on Steam when it was up during one of the sales, but I didn’t realise it had actually started on mobile platform. I also never would have guessed it was made with Flash, since the art style and animation aren’t what I imagine now that I’ve worked a little with Adobe.

The game itself is brilliant and has received outstanding praise, including Best Indie Game of the Year from a number of awarding bodies and Excellent in Visual Art Award from IGF.

What I love about it is the uniqueness of the game itself, the graphics, and the story. It’s about a robot (you) who is trying to rescue his love from kidnappers. The story plays out through solving puzzles in a mechanical world and it’s done beautifully. The puzzles are challenging, done through point-and-click problem-solving. There is also no dialogue/audio, aside from the music and a few NPC sounds; this is likely more a design decision so as not to detract from the puzzles, since some of them have to be solved through interpretation of the messages NPCs convey to you.

Overall, this game had been a pleasure to play and I now want to go back to play it again knowing it was done 7 years ago in Flash.

2. Learn Japanese with Tako

takos

This is a game/educational app that I discovered on Google Play a few years ago. It’s one of the top-rated apps in the store, combining learning Japanese with fun mini-games to remember your lessons. Its style and simple mechanics are what I now would consider typical Flash, but at the same time it’s doing something really useful through a playful manner.

So, Takos is what I would call “funducational,” which I never really considered using Flash for. I think of games like the ones I once played on Black Albino Sheep (which originated in my home of Toronto, Ontario, in Canada!) or Newgrounds. I like the idea that a variety of apps and games can be made using Flash, making it an extremely versatile tool.

3. Sugar Smash

sugar-smash

I went to see the Book of Life in Cinema when it first came out 2 years ago. I absolutely love Halloween and Day of the Dead themed media, so this movie struck a cord with me. When I saw there was a puzzle matching game re-skinned for the movie, I downloaded it immediately. This isn’t the only sort of game like this that has been made through Flash, but I chose this one just because I do play it regularly.

I think it’s another typical Flash game, where a lot of developers use the tool to make single-screen matching games (Cookie Jam being one of the most popular and also made using Flash). I think it’s a common game type for the mobile platform, simply because they’re easy to pick up and play while on the move. This feels like something to take note of while thinking about what kinds of games we might want to do in Flash – simple structure with levels that can be changed to up the difficulty, with a match-em theme or puzzle clickers.

Conclusion

By picking these three apps, I wanted to show the variety of games that can be made using Flash, as well as the different kind of graphics you could include. While I enjoy vector drawing, I’m sure there are other ways to bring in graphics and use them in Flash to create your game.

At the end of the day, I think you need to pick a theme that compliments the mechanics you can develop through Flash, but not necessarily be constrained by the graphics you create in the application. This is why research is so important: to see what else is out there and that there is always something new to learn out the software we’re using!

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