As an insight into existing products and ideas we were instructed to look into a few flash games and make a few notes.
This kind of exercise is beneficial regardless of what industry you’re in whether its for market research, understanding target audiences or in our case investigating other products developed with the same tools we’re using. It all helps to gain a better understanding of what the software is capable of but might spark a few ideas along the way.
To start off I’m going to dial the clock all the way back to 2002 during Flash’s golden years.
Alien Hominid was created in August 2002 for the site Newgrounds (famous at the time for hosting a multitude of flash based games and animation). The game was created with only two developers, Tom Fulp (programmer) and Dan Paladin (artist) and went on to be a huge success on Newgrounds with over 20,000,000 hits. I’ll skip the rest of the history lesson but in short it was successful enough that they started their own studio (The Behemoth) and soon began work on porting the game to consoles at the time.
The art style is super simple, comparable to the work we’re already producing with Chris and this probably made animating far easier for the lone artist. Most of the colour schemes chosen were very vibrant and aid the silly/fun nature of the game. The genre itself was a side scrolling shooter comparable to old titles such as Contra or Metal Slug that had been popular in the late ’80s & ’90s.
It felt like natural progression to move onto looking at Castle Crashers, Behemoth’s second major title. Tom and Dan reprised their roles from Alien Hominid with added staff this time but didn’t forget their roots, the music in game was composed and put forward by members of Newgrounds. It has had a long list of releases from 2008 – 2015 but originally started in ’08 as an Xbox Live Arcade release for the 360, eventually making it to PS3, PC, Mac and Xbox One over the years.
The art is still obviously Dan’s simple style with a lot of refinement. Characters, bosses, environments are all more detailed than the days of Alien Hominid. More years in Flash and a bigger development team really helped overall visual quality. Unlike the vibrant background colours of AH, CC focuses on a lot more browns and greens to drive home its medieval setting, however all character designs are just as bright and eye catching as ever. The genre is side scrolling beat em up, directly inspired by such classics as Double Dragon, Final Fight and River City Ransom which Dan quoted as art inspiration.
Robot Unicorn Attack
I didn’t want the whole post to be about Behemoth so I moved to a personal favourite of mine, Robot Unicorn Attack. The game was made by Spiritonin Media Games as a free flash game for tv channel Adult Swim’s website. It had one million plays within its first week of launch, due to its popularity Adult Swim made merchandise for the game and it was eventually ported to iOS and Android.
RUA is a side scrolling platformer/free runner. The game never ends, its down to the skill of the player to see how far they can make it for the best leaderboard scores, a genre of game very popular on mobile devices. The games backdrops were very simple with the only detailed graphic being the unicorn, given how fast the screen scrolls, it’s a drop in quality you rarely notice.
Eventually it was successful enough to get itself a sequel which pushed the graphical quality way up along with introducing paid for unlockable content, I won’t comment on this however as I’ve found no evidence to link it to being made in Flash.