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The Top Online Games of 2017 Might Come From Unexpected Places – A Rant About Flash Games

In Gaming, Op-Ed by Anthony Spark0 Comments

The gaming industry has sure come a long way these past couple of decades. And yet, we often can’t help but feel nostalgic when thinking about the good old days when gaming was a much simpler affair and the industry wasn’t this huge behemoth swallowing everything in its path. If you were a PC gamer back when the internet was still fairly young, you probably have fond memories of spending countless hours in Brood War, Quake, Diablo 2 or Age of Empires. If, however, you didn’t own a whole lot of games on your old PC, you may remember something called Flash games.

If websites like Miniclip and Newgrounds don’t ring a bell you’ve been missing out back in the day. Flash games don’t seem like a big deal in this day and age but they definitely played a very important role in popularizing online gaming while also providing novice developers with a means of honing their skills. As I’m sure you’ve already noticed, pretty much every game features some sort of online component nowadays and that’s thanks in no small part to some of the older Flash games. While not as popular anymore, at least at first glance, these games are still alive and kicking. In fact, there’s more variety now than ever before when it comes to Flash games and, of course, they’re all still free.

So why would you want to play free games online instead of the latest AAA title? Well, they’re obviously free and don’t require you to download anything for one. More importantly, though, if you head over to a website like Joyland you will find that some of these games have a lot to offer in terms of innovation. Without the need to cater to a specific audience or fulfill a deadline for a major publisher, developers have complete creative freedom to create whatever games they want on a platform like this. As one might imagine, some of these Flash games can get pretty crazy and weird as a result, but that’s what makes them so special. Sometimes you just want to help a sewer alligator take a shower or play as a stick man trying to infiltrate an airship. Like all forms of art, video games can also be somewhat strange at times.

In addition to all the wackiness usually associated with these titles, you’ll also come across quite a few games that test your skills in real and often frustrating ways. If you’ve ever played QWOP you know what I mean. But if that’s a bit of an obscure example perhaps you’ve heard about a little game called Super Meat Boy. What you may not know is that this critically acclaimed title actually started out as a Flash game back in 2008 when it was simply known as Meat Boy. Or maybe you’re waxing nostalgic and want to play some games from your youth that are nearly impossible to find nowadays. Whether it’s Battle City, Contra or the original Super Mario Bros., you can be sure that nearly any title from the NES/N64 era is now available as a Flash game. And if you’re a younger gamer, even better, because Flash games allow you to get a glimpse of what gaming was like back in the day.

Flash games are an important part of the industry even if they rarely get any attention. In a way, maybe that’s for the best because developers can continue to turn their ideas into games without feeling any outside pressure. Flash games may seem like a thing of the past now but nothing can be farther from the truth. These types of titles are here to stay and that’s certainly a good thing because great games can often come from unexpected places. So don’t dismiss any gaming medium because the next big thing may very well have been inspired by a Flash game. After all, every developer has to start somewhere.

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