A new year calls for resolutions. I resolve that Friday shall be known as Flash Friday, and that every Friday — no, seriously, every Friday — shall merit a new edition of Friday Flash.
Every Friday (well, almost every Friday) I present three or more games, all of which require the Adobe Flash Player. I test each game on Windows and Mac OS X, and make an effort to let you know when a game makes noise. You know, for the kids!
I haven't been as faithful as I ought, and I can't explain why. Because it's mysterious, a secret duty of the utmost importance, with lives hanging in the balance! No, not really. I just got busy. I'll make it up to you though, promise. Today: six games plus a "toy."
Sometimes a really old game can become new again. That's exactly what happens with Snake Classic. You control a snake which gets one unit longer every time it eats something. I thought snakes got bigger around, not longer? No matter, that's how the game works. The challenge is in the fact that the snake never stops moving, so you have to steer around to make sure you don't hit the walls — or yourself.
Yes, in real life snakes can wind around on themselves, and my wife even believes that a snake can eat its own tail and eventually completely disappear, but in this game an encounter with yourself is deadly.
There are too many options on the menu, so ignore them all and just hit Play. Unless you're worried about sound, that is, because there is both sound and music in this game. The sound starts right at the menu, but you can turn off the sound completely before the music starts.
What makes the game new and interesting is the control method. No cursor keys or arrows — the snake always follows your mouse. Which means that you have to keep that mouse moving! The most common reason for death in this game is forgetting to move the mouse and having your snake curl up on itself once it reaches the cursor, I'm pretty sure.
Another game that relies slightly more on dexterity than careful planning is Totem, a Japanese game that doesn't even require any clicking to start the game, let alone play it!
There is music and sound, right from the beginning. In fact, you're given only a second or two before a voice informs you (in Japanese) that the game is about to begin. 30 seconds, 100 totems, 3 levels, I think the countdown says. And then — the campfire.
Simply "touch" each totem you see, where touching them means moving your mouse cursor over them. When you do that, they disappear and you get a point. They always come in the same pattern, but they do sometimes move quickly. And you need to get at least 100 within 30 seconds.
The big totems are worth more points, but you need to "touch" them many times by moving your cursor on and off of them quickly. After the campfire comes a scene at a temple (I think), and then you end up in space, playing footsie with a satellite.
The Game Of Disorientation, or TGOD, is a pretty good simulation of being drunk, except you don't throw up. Still, the room spins, attempting to walk in one direction can take you in the other direction, and you can die. You can die? So it's like being really drunk.
Actually, the game can be tricky even with the spinning, the zooming, and the distorting of the screen, which is why every time you fail — say, by impaling yourself on a wall of spikes — you're offered a chance to play again at a slightly easier pace. It's like being given a cup of coffee, except that it actually helps.
You've got to get from where you start to the big colorful doorway at the end, and there's always an arrow pointing in the right direction. How hard can it be? Down about a dozen tequila shooters and give it a try, then!
TGOD features a nice touch right off the bat: As you load the page, before the menu appears, there is a mute button (it looks like a speaker with sound waves) that you can click to ensure you don't hear any music or sound at all. But what's the fun in that? The music helps, and the blade sounds are especially fun.
This one's a bit gory, by the way, so keep that in mind, children!
Let's ease into the thoughtful selection of games by blowing things up! Warthog Launch is inspired by the fact that people used the semi-realistic physics of Halo to combine grenades and indestructible combat vehicles ("warthogs") to perform acrobatics.
Here, all you've got to do is position the Warthog just so, add just the right number of grenades at just the right point, and BOOM! Hit all the bad guys on the screen with one explosion and the appropriate number of bounces, and you move on.
There are sound effects — beeps and explosions.
Here's a fun challenge — can you solve two mazes at once? In Double Maze, the mazes are really easy — except that whatever you do in one maze has an effect in the other.
Move up, and both the A and B markers move up. If that gets A closer to the goal but causes B to fall into a hole, that's no good at all! Use the walls to limit the movements of one marker while get the other marker where you need it to be.
There are twelve levels, and the game is delightfully silent.
Draw Play is unfinished, in a way. Sure, it's got music and sound ("Greetings, mortal!"), and a mummy, and a flag, and dangerous hazards, but it's a platform leveler without platforms!
Instead, you've got to draw the platforms. On the first level, it's basically a straight line, and then you use the arrow keys to walk to the flag. Or jump, if you made the walk a little too steep. But on the next level, you'll see some spiky walls — they look very familiar if you've played TGOD yet — and it only gets worse from there as things spin and slide and generally try to kill you.
Keep drawing and keep moving, and each level can be as hard as you make it, but not many are easy.
And with those six games, we come to the end of this week's allotment, but there's definitely a bonus toy. I call it a toy, rather than a game, because there's no defined objective. You simply draw whatever you wish, and let the little line rider go.
If you're like me, lacking any artistic skill whatsoever, the toy will be a chance to draw steep slopes, steep ramps, and see if you can make the little guy loop-the-loop. If you're a brilliant and patient artist, on the other hand, you might create something like "Jagged Peak Adventure" or "Urban Run," both depicted below.
Line Rider is a phenomenon. There are fansites, and derivates, as well as the Official Site, but it all started on deviantArt, where user fsk has some other toys and notes on future plans for Line Rider.
Happy New Year!