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Friday Flash: Atome, Jeu Chiant, Hawkpeng79, 50 States

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It's not Monday, so no Monday Mathematics. Nor Tuesday, so no Tuesday Tonsillectomy. Nor is it Wednesday, so no Wednesday Wedding. And it's obviously not Thursday, so no Thursday Thimblerig. That must mean it's time for Friday Flash!

Or it could be a weekend, but where's the fun in that?

Every Friday, I supply three (or more) online games suitable for and tested with both Windows and Mac OS X. All are played in your browser, and all require the ubiquitous Adobe Flash Player. Sensitive to the needs of those who are playing these games in class, or at work, or when their significant others are sleeping, I'll try to let you know if there is music or sound, so you can make appropriate adjustments ahead of time.

This week, as promised, we're taking a trip around the world.

AtomeLet's start in Germany, with Atome. (You probably expected me to start with Japan, since I've featured that country so often already, right?) Atome is a puzzle game with all of the instructions in German, but it's easy enough to figure out. You simply assemble the molecules into increasingly complex atoms, and you're reward with a password (or "Levelpasswort") to jump directly to that level in the future.

Unless you speak German, the help (or "hilfe") probably won't help you much, but it doesn't seem necessary.

There are sound effects, and they're largely unnecessary, clicking when you place pieces, and a swoop when you clear a level.

Jeu ChiantNo, still no Japan. Instead, we'll visit France for
Jeu Chiant, which I'll let you translate for yourself. My French is quite rusty, but I think I just made this article unsafe for French-speaking children. If the title means what I think it does, it's highly appropriate, because this is the most difficult game I've seen in a long time.

It's a combination of two tasks in one, either of which would be simple on its own. You move left to right to keep a ball in the air, Breakout-style. You also move left and right to balance another, larger, ball on a tilting platform. And of course, you use the same mouse to do both, so as you attempt to hit the little ball, you lose the big ball over the edge.

It's maddening. It took me more than a few games to exceed 20 seconds, and even then, it was close. The physics in the game are quite impressive, but it's difficult to evaluate them dispassionately.

On Windows, I noticed the action froze every now and then, quite disruptively. I didn't see the problem on my Mac. It added an extra challenge to an already-difficult game! There is no sound.

Hawkpeng79Now you can make fun, because now we're going to Japan. I can't help it! Blame Hawkpeng79 for designing such an interesting game!

Each level is a puzzle. Starting with one or more beams of colored light, how can you light up all the colored targets? Targets are lit up by beams of light with matching colors, which makes it seem easy. But some targets are colors that don't match the beams, and you have a limited number of certain types of reflectors, so it gets tricky quickly.

There's no sound, and the game seems to remember where you left off, so no worries about memorizing passwords. Which would probably be in Japanese, anyway.

In fact, I don't know the name of this game. I've used the name of the game's designer because it's one of the few things not in Kanji on the page, and that'll do. My hat's off to Hawkpeng79 for this game — whatever it's called. I think it's 智力挑战, but I doubt that even shows up in most browsers.

50 StatesAs a bonus game, completing our tour around the world, let's visit the United States of America. For some of you, this is home. For the rest of you, hi! For all of you, how well do you know American political geography? 50 States asks how accurately you can place all fifty states given a blank outline of the U.S.A. It's both harder and easier than you think, and you might be surprised.

You do have to get pretty close. I missed one state by what seemed like just a few pixels. Fortunately, it keeps track of how far you were off, so the minor misses aren't as bad as the major misses.

There's no sound, and I bet you can have some fun challenging classmates and coworkers and random children with this one!

That's it for this week's edition of Friday Flash Games! I hope you had fun on our trip around the world. Next week, we will learn what next week will bring.

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  • So how’d you do on 50 States, Phillip? The first few are hard, especially if they give you those square western states that all look alike and there’s nothing else on the map yet.

    I got a score of 86%, with a 38 mile average error, and it took me 515 seconds to complete.

  • I’ve played 50 States in the past and would get horribly frustrated by the fact I’d be graded down for a very narrow “miss”. I still love the game, though, and have my son take a stab at it every couple of months. Gotta keep those kids up to date on geography!

  • I got stuck on Hawaii

  • Sidenote about Atome: Same-colored atoms can’t touch.

  • Lisa, I can’t remember my percentage on 50 States, but the average error was 22 miles.

  • Suss, thanks for the Atome tip. I think I knew that, but forgot when it came time to write it up. Oops!

  • Also, Lisa, it should be noted that I’m a Westerner myself, so those were actually pretty easy for me. It was the northeast that gave me fits!

  • It has come in via email that I didn’t make something clear about 智力挑战: You need to drag-and-drop the pieces from the right to the main playing area on the left.

    Drag-and-drop is rare enough in flash that it often doesn’t occur to people to try.

  • That French game is the hardest thing ever. 50 states was embarrassing, and there actually is sound.

  • The hit detection on 50 States is rather touchy. Another great set of time wasters Phillip! Thanks… I think.

  • Jeu Chiant, what a bad name! Anyways, I got to around 30 seconds and the my mouse went outside the bounding box of the game! Really wonderful design, I just wish the bounding box of the game was a lot larger.

  • Sorry, Mat. I must have missed it.

    Perhaps someone who understand French better than I do can clarify. Is the name of that game supposed to translate (roughly) to “crappy game” or something else?

  • The several translations I’ve seen fall more along the lines of “bloody” (as in the British usage of the word) or “annoying”.