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Flash Games: Virus 2, Seconds of Madness, The Gaffer, Escaladeby, Ellipsis, N, Free Rider

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Friday Flash Games is about fun, so let's have fun. And can we really have fun with only three flash games? Last week I presented seven, and it was so much fun that I've decided to do it again.

Every Friday, I present three or more games for you to play, so long as you have a web browser and a copy of the Adobe Flash Player. You almost certainly do.

I'll let you know when a game has sound effects or music, because I know that some of you (naughty!) are playing these games at work and might not want anyone to know. Why you think that the repetitive mouse clicking or space bar smashing isn't enough of a clue, I'm not sure, but I issue the warnings anyway.

Virus 2The game I've been playing so much this week that my wife recognizes it by sound alone is Virus 2. The sound is just a clicking sound which you can turn off from an in-game menu; there is no music.

The idea is to take over the entire board in the least number of moves. You can always take over the board, no matter what. But can you do it efficiently? You start as one of seven colors, and you can switch to one of the other six by clicking the colored shapes along the bottom of the screen. When you do that, all of the cells you currently control change to the new color. Then all of the cells you used to control, plus any bordering cells that match the color you switched to, will be yours.

In the screenshot I've provided, you're yellow. Switching to purple will give you control of the five adjacent purple cells, and then switching to pink would help you spread in three different directions. After clearing each board, you'll be told "Let's go Lower Now!" and you get to start over again, with one fewer "attempts" allowed.

I should warn you that the game seems to be occasionally buggy on your first turn. Sometimes it will make you a color but not link you in to the surrounding colors like it should. And sometimes that may even cost you the game when you spend three attempts to do what should have been done in one. I think the game is still worth it.

Seconds of MadnessDriving and repetitive music is one hallmark of Seconds of Madness, a game in which you playing a tube-surfing skeleton, and no, I'm not kidding. You surf through the tunnel, which is filled with obstacles: red barriers you can spin around, black bars you must duck under, and gray rings you must jump through (pictured), all at a pretty high rate of speed.

How many seconds (of madness) can you last? Either before crashing into barriers too many times, or before muting the sound? You can hit barriers up to ten times before dying — at least as much as a skeleton can die — but the song is very, very, very repetitive.

The GafferIf you've ever wondered what a gaffer is, perhaps after seeing the title in movie credits, keep wondering. The Gaffer describes the gaffer as being "in charge" of a loading dock, but since he (you) needs to jump and run and get knocked over by snarling cats and chase rats with a broom, it hardly seems like he's "in charge" of anything!

The game at first may seem overwhelming, but it's actually quite simple. At first. Eventually it starts to get complicated, but to start out you need only use the arrow keys to walk back and forth, and 'X' to pick up and drop boxes. After a short while, you might want to start using 'Z' to shoo away pesky animals that get underfoot and might chew up your boxes. And eventually you start to get three types of boxes, and then four. And somewhere close to 100 boxes in, you'll actually have to start using the up and down arrow keys to stack things high, and even use boxes temporarily in order to reach tall stacks.

But at first, it's simple. The old-timey music starts up at the menu, though you can click the music icon to turn it off. You might want to play at Medium or Low quality, because this game slowed down even my speedy new dual-core Windows machine at High quality. So get going and start loading!

EscaladebyI wish I could figure out why the game is called Escaladeby. By Escalade? Does it mean something in some other language? I don't know, but I know it's challenging.

The graphics and the goal are both very simple: make the little white-faced guy jump to the top of the game. The arrow keys move white-face left and right, and the space bar jumps. That's it. Everything else is explained in-game, like the blue-bordered squares you can stick to, and the green-bordered squares you can jump away from. That jumping-away trick can be difficult in tight places, by the way, especially when you get to where the bricks alternate between blue and green, so you've got to both stick and push away at the same time. And when you fall, you can fall a long way.

The game is silent, and I don't actually know what happens when you reach the top. I haven't reached it.

EllipsisEllipsis is from the always-excellent John Cooney, and features what seems like a simple concept, executed perfectly. You defend a circle by clicking on invading squares. Some little squares, some big, and all moving pretty quickly. Sometimes squares pull you around, but most of the time you sit still. And every time the squares touch you, it hurts. You can only be hurt so much before you're destroyed. And that's it.

Every time you click on a square, it explodes in a shower of sparks. The biggest square move very quickly, while the smaller squares move more slowly. Neither are particularly easy to click on when there are a lot of them. Or when you can barely see them, as almost-invisible squares show up at around level 20. Each color of square acts differently, and they all seem to have their own challenges.

There is music and sound.

NN is for Ninja, it seems. You're a free-spirited and highly-agile (though not invincible) Ninja, on a quest to collect gold and move from level to level for no good reason. As the game itself says:

You are a ninja. Your God-like speed, dexterity, jumping power, and reflexes are all the result of an amazingly fast metabolism, sadly, so is your natural lifetime of 1.5 minutes.

Like all ninjas, you have an unquenchable thirst for gold, a natural propensity for exploring rooms infested by increasingly lethal ninja-killing robots, and a devout belief in N.

N, "the way of the ninja", is a highly advanced system of spiritual, cognitive, and physical training.

It emphasizes pacifism, humility, and the need to traverse a series of 5 rooms before the end of your lifetime; a feat known only as 'beating an episode'.

In accordance with the teachings of N, it's your profound hope that one day you will develop the skill, intelligence, and inexplicable ability to reincarnate necessary to achieve mastery of all 30 episodes.

All I can add to that is that you use the arrow keys to move left and right, and (in theory) Shift to jump. However, pressing Shift repeatedly causes Windows to think you can't use a keyboard, so I use Z instead, which also works, a nice touch. You can also reconfigure the keys from the game menu.

There is sound, but not music.

Free RiderI've Free Rider is much more of a game, and you have in-game control, but as a trade-off, it doesn't seem to be as good of a drawing toy!

You can draw a course, and even place stars on the course to be collected through the game. Then, hit play and see if you can collect all the stars without falling over or off the end of a cliff. Use the up arrow to make the bicycle go, and the down arrow to stop, while left and right make you lean, which can help with too-steep or too-shallow spaces. If you've got a level you like, you can copy the code required to reproduce it, which is a nice touch. I'll post a very simple example in the comments.

Speaking of Line Rider, which we were, Jason Kottke recently linked to a new Line Rider video that must be seen to be believed. Such simple drawing tools, and such incredible talent!

That's all for this week!

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About pwinn

  • http://blogcritics.org/ Phillip Winn

    A very simple (very simple) Free Rider game can be made with this code:
    -1i,1i,1i,1i 1i,1i,68,2m 68,2m,fu,7g fs,7g,he,96 he,96,jd,9k jd,9k,mm,9u mg,a0,np,94 np,94,om,95 om,95,ot,94 #1r,h 6j,26 co,50 hd,8m mh,7s

  • http://www.uptoyoo.com YOO

    interesting games!

  • http://blogcritics.org/ Phillip Winn

    I found an interesting level for FreeRider pasted into a comment somewhere. It’s not graphically interesting, but it took me a few passes to successfully complete:
    -1i,1i,1i,1i 1i,1i,3t,2f 3t,2f,6g,4c 6g,4c,d7,c8 d7,c8,m0,lp m0,lp,ob,ni ob,ni,rr,pk rr,pk,ua,qg ua,qg,11f,qi 11f,qi,13s,pg 13s,pg,160,nf 15n,pj,1j3,10t 1j2,10s,1jl,10p 1j6,11m,1ib,123 1j5,11n,1ja,12l 1id,122,1iq,113 1iq,115,1j2,10t 1ja,12l,1k2,128 1kk,11p,1vd,17l 1jv,128,1kk,11q 1ot,1ad,1p1,15f 1p1,15f,1rt,17g 1ot,1ad,261,18d 29e,13o,23v,15l 260,18e,2ai,15e 2ai,15e,29e,13o #16r,m1 1pp,19l 206,17k

  • Patrick Chambers

    I finished Escaladeby with 112 seconds remaining!!
    It gives you a screen that says “Complete” But it opens up a spot where you can blast your way all the way to the bottom of the game and collect tars as you are falling. It ends with a screen that says “YOU WIN TEH STARS” (It really says “teh”)