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Friday Flash: Shell Game, Quad, Snowball,

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Every week I remind you, gentle reader, that since this is Friday, this must be Friday Flash. Last Friday, however, fell the day after an American national holiday, and is traditionally a vacation day. So I skipped it.

Normally, however, if this is Friday, it must be time for three online games, always relying on the Adobe Flash Player. I can't be presumptuous, at least not this week, so I'll simply suggest that "Friday" and "Flash" go together like bananas and chocolate. Like pickles and peanut butter. Like marshmallows and graham crackers. Like Sonny and Cher. All of which combined suggests that the very thought of Friday Flash must disgust some while delighting others, that it is sometimes thought of as less than what is needed to really be complete, and that eventually either Friday or Flash is likely to run for political office and die before his time.

Or maybe I just shouldn't take analogies that seriously.

I do play every game on both Mac and Windows, and I'll let you know if there is sound, so you can prepare your volume level accordingly.

The Shell GameIf you think your eyes are pretty quick, try The Shell Game, which looks exactly like it sounds. Three shells, one ball, and some money to wager. I wish there was a double-or-nothing button, because that's really the only way to play the game, as far as I'm concerned.

Unlike the real shell game, the computer doesn't cheat, but it sure does move quickly. Really quickly. Don't blink, it's that quick.

There is music at the menu and sound effects during gameplay.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that since you can rack up millions playing this version, you should try your skill on the street sometime. I'm warning you: the real-life shell gamers cheat.

QuadFor a more traditional computer game, try Quad. It’s a sort of two-dimensional Tetris, with a three-dimensional feel. It’s not really 3-D, though: you just look down from above.

You lay out bricks to form columns and rows, which disappear when complete. Although you look down from above, you can’t stack bricks on top of other bricks. When you complete a row or column between the four colored squares, those squares move closer together. Forming a row or column that includes one of those four colored squares is a waste of time — it won’t disappear.

Your goal is to get those four colored squares together. Closer and closer until they’re all touching, while the Bonus timer counts down. If the Bonus timer reaches zero before you’ve cleared the rows you need, you’ve lost.

There are some simple sound effects. Some of the shapes are unfamiliar to Tetris players; there’s even a single-square shape for filling in odd gaps.

SnowballFinally, I suspect most, if not all, beginning programmers have tried to create a downhill skiing game, or some variation thereof. I can’t have been the only one! One that reminds me of 1980s gaming is called simply Snowball.

You’re a little snowball, rolling downhill. You pick up speed as you go, and of course there are obstacles. Skiers, dogs, trees, houses, snowmen, even some abominable snow-creatures. Once you’re big enough, you can pick up some smaller things, like dogs and snowmen, but trees and houses will end your run.

There are sound effects and music as the game loads, and you must give them a name and choose a “manager” before playing. The cursor keys let you steer right or left, and that’s it!

Now, to business. I’ve had a few submissions over the last few weeks of games that are really good, but which fail test number one: they’re don’t use Flash. Could this feature survive the introduction of the occasional Shockwave game? Would most of you even notice? I welcome your thoughts, gentle reader.

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About pwinn

  • Saturday Shockwave? Beyond the fun sound effects in the title is there any particular reason you only use flash?

  • Yes, actually!

    More people have flash installed than have shockwave installed. Strange but true. In fact, the reason I know several games sent to me recently use shockwave is because one of the PCs on which I test doesn’t have shockwave, and I’m prompted to install it. (I don’t.)

    Also, based on my (admittedly very limited) testing, it *seems* that shockwave is a more intense drain on system resources than flash. That could just be the games I’ve test with, though.

    But that’s it, really. In a previous incarnation of this column, I included shockwave and even java games without feeling too badly. Perhaps I’ll always include shockwave games as a “bonus,” so that you get the normal three flash games and then an extra game — if you have shockwave.

  • Very interesting (and very late on my reply – sorry). I’m admittedly very clueless when it comes to the differences in these things. I just know I enjoy the online games and play any of them that my computer allows.