Flash Games

Flash Games

Flash Games
Macromedia Flash arrived in​ 1996,​ and was initially designed to​ add animation and interactivity to​ otherwise largely media free websites .​
However,​ it​ wasn't long before developers began to​ realise the​ potential of​ the​ software,​ and added functionality became available with each iteration.
In the​ beginning,​ the​ focus was more on​ animation,​ as​ primitive scripting allowed little in​ the​ way of​ interactivity .​
However,​ with the​ introduction of​ ActionScript in​ version 5,​ Flash became a​ strong platform for developing simple web-based games .​
This transition from basic animation and user interaction to​ full-blown scripting was a​ huge step for developers,​ and allowed sophisticated web-based applications and interactive games possible .​
By 2001,​ Flash games began appearing on​ websites everywhere,​ and whilst early attempts were primitive and tended to​ focus on​ remakes of​ arcade classics such as​ Asteroids and Tempest,​ they remained highly popular amongst the​ online community .​
Despite their initial popularity,​ Flash games were known as​ little more than addictive time-fillers,​ perfect to​ whittle away ten minutes at​ work .​
However,​ even with the​ basic tools in​ place,​ developers were coming up with a​ wide variety of​ Flash based games .​
Platform remakes of​ favorites such as​ Sonic the​ Hedgehog and Mario Brothers were highly popular,​ and the​ improving graphic capabilities allowed for much more immersing game play .​
Although PC and console games had little to​ worry about in​ terms of​ competition,​ Flash games were already an​ integral part of​ many online communities .​
The integration of​ Flash arcades into popular forum software led to​ vast competition between members of​ small and large communities alike .​
It wasn't a​ case of​ wasting five or​ ten minutes anymore,​ it​ was about coming top on​ the​ scoreboard!
There were still problems though,​ particularly with performance on​ lower specification machines .​
As Flash was not designed to​ run games in​ particular,​ it​ was inevitably not that quick or​ smooth running on​ some machines,​ which inhibited many action games .​
That was all set to​ change significantly with the​ next version.
With the​ release of​ Flash MX in​ 2004 came ActionScript 2.0,​ which allowed greater control over Flash applications,​ and featured improved data and media handling .​
Although most genres had already been explored,​ from arcade to​ first person shooters to​ racing games,​ the​ best was yet to​ come .​
The recent integration of​ improved data handling allowed many game developers to​ implement levels and scoreboards much more effectively,​ thus adding to​ the​ appeal .​
Since 2004,​ Flash games have come on​ in​ leaps and bounds,​ and are hardly recognizable from the​ slow,​ blocky titles released just a​ few short years ago .​
The level of​ sophistication continues to​ develop,​ and whilst it​ will be a​ long while before something groundbreaking is​ released,​ there are already many classic Flash games already available on​ the​ web .​
Titles such as​ 'Stick Cricket',​ 'Bejeweled' and 'Yeti Sports' are all immensely popular,​ and attract thousands of​ visitors each day .​
The playability and execution of​ a​ simple idea make these Flash games some of​ the​ most popular ever released .​
The sites that offer these free games are also changing; the​ public do not have to​ visit individual sites (such as​ the​ authors website) to​ find new games,​ instead developers are submitting their games to​ massive flash games websites – sites that offer 1000's of​ games for free – one such example is​ www.itsall3.com – a​ site with free games,​ and free funny videos for your mobile phones (3gp videos).
What are the​ benefits to​ developers submitting their games to​ such massive collections of​ games? These arcade sites receive 1000's of​ visitors a​ day,​ so developers game get more hits – there's no bandwidth costs as​ the​ sites host the​ games,​ and there's always a​ link in​ the​ game back to​ the​ developers website if​ needed .​
These enthusiasts are not too dissimilar from the​ back bedroom programmers of​ the​ early 1990's .​
Many young developers thrived upon the​ availability of​ programming languages such as​ BASIC,​ and the​ more recent arrival of​ Flash sparked the​ same levels of​ creativity and inspiration .​
Although Flash contains more scripting than actual programming,​ the​ underlying appeal of​ being able to​ create your own games (relatively) easily has been a​ major part of​ its success .​
Perhaps Adobe/Macromedia will lean towards the​ game creation side in​ the​ future,​ or​ perhaps the​ focus will always be on​ animation and the​ development of​ web-based applications .​
Either way,​ there is​ no doubting that Flash games have become an​ integral part of​ the​ web and are set to​ stay for the​ foreseeable future .​
With the​ next version in​ the​ pipeline,​ it​ will be interesting to​ see what the​ next generation of​ Flash games have in​ store.

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