Tag: flash games
This is the 4th post on this topic, every 6 months dating back to July 2010. It takes a look at my top 100 videos broken down by the sponsor and developer, including views on YouTube and 5min. Video #100 is up to 295k views and the top 100 now totals over 84 million views. There are 11 new videos in the top 100 this time around.
Armor remains #1, although Spil is gaining fast. Armor still has 1/3rd of the videos, but only increased by about 5 million total views. Spil went from 14 to 18 vids on the list and skyrocketed 13 million views. And we have 1 new sponsor on the list: ArcadeBomb.
Some big changes on the dev side however, almost all by PITon. He’s soared over 9 million views in the past 6 months to take a massive lead as the top dev. Joey lost 2 videos from the top100 and was passed by John. Nice gains also by Robin Vencel and gmentat.
Yesterday I broke 100 million views all time, between both YouTube and 5min. Roughly 90.5 million on YT and 9.5 on 5min.
Thanks so much to all the gamers out there who have watched my vids, as well and the developers and sponsors of the thousands of amazing flash games I’ve played in the past 9 years.
I last posted about this in December 2010. It’s now been 6 months, so I’ve decided to look at the numbers again (as the last update was covering the 6 months from June 2010 – December 2010). I find the results to be very fascinating:
1) I think the difference between “Total” and “Worldwide” is because of Turkey; from what I’ve noticed, Turkey is not counted in either Europe or Asia… and the views from Turkey line up fairly well with the difference between the 2 values.
2) Note the decrease in US views, with the Worldwide views remaining fairly constant. My theory on this is 2-fold; a) I’ve been doing less work for ArmorGames, Kongregate, Bubblebox, and Candystand recently… which likely have very high US traffic. And b) I’ve had a ton of work for Spil Games’ network over the same period, who heavily focus on non-US, non-English-Speaking traffic.
3) US, Can/Mex, Europe, and Aus/NZ have decreased from 84% to 78%. Majority is still US and Europe, although that percentage has decreased as well.
I was contacted last week by the site 5min.com, which is like YouTube… only much smaller, and focuses exclusively on short how-to type videos. They seem to include game walkthroughs as part of “how-to”, so I won’t complain. I was very intrigued to speak with them more about what they were offering, especially given my recent issues with YouTube.
So, it turns out, their business model is quite fascinating. Not only do they share revenue with the content providers (me)… they share revenue with the content embedders (sponsors). I don’t know the splits, and I don’t know all the details in regards to embeds on sites that they don’t have prior deals with… but it’s a VERY interesting concept, as it makes my service MUCH more desirable to sponsor sites (when the alternative is having a developer do it or them doing it themselves).
I have a follow-up with them next week. This could be a great next step in my business.
I’ve been a big fan of SDA since the day I found out about them, back in 2004 or so. SDA, for those not in the know, is Speed Demos Archive, the premiere site for speedrunning video games, both in terms of displaying and tracking verified runs via video as well as discussing strategy through their forums. Over the years, I’ve considered working on games to eventually submit to SDA (almost exclusively N64 games)… but I’ve realized 2 things: 1) I’m not an amazingly good gamer. I’m really not. I may be logical and intelligent, which is enough to beat flash games and beat them better/faster/more efficiently than most, but I’m not in the caliber of the top-tier speedrunners. And that leads to 2) I don’t have the patience to get good enough at 1 specific game to do a speedrun on it. But I’ve tried… I tried with a few Star Wars games, Rogue Squadron and Episode 1 Racer… I tried with F-Zero X… and I even own a cartridge to Superman 64 that I bought for like $3 for the sole purpose of trying to speedrun.
So apparently a few days ago SDA pulled their restriction on commercial titles only, which opens up the entire flash game market, as well as freeware downloads like IWBTG and Jumper. I’ve already posted a few times on the SDA forums about flash games… but I have a strong suspicion that they won’t do well or last. For one, there are tens of thousands of flash games, with hundreds of new ones every month (compared to 10-20 console titles each month, tops). Second, most flash games can be beaten in under 10 minutes, with many doable in under 5. This creates tons and tons of very short speedruns, which can be whipped up relatively quickly (vs the countless multi-hour runs of beefier console games). Third, lag. Lag is such a huge factor in browser-based games, that getting a uniform measure of timing is crucial, as well as having some form of subjective quality standard on laglessness. Fourth, speedhacking. How easy will it be to tell the difference between 1.00x speed and 1.03x speed? You have to have people that really KNOW these flash games to verify… and are willing to spend the time comparing actual vs video speed (and to make sure lag isn’t somehow factoring in). It’s just so simple to speedhack in flash games. I’ve offered my services to help verify flash game submissions… but I’m not going to take the time to 100% guarantee that each run I watch is at 1.00x speed; if it looks close to 1.00x and the methods/time of the run seem within the realm of possibility for the game, then I’d approve it. Finally, the community. How receptive will the SDA community be towards a metric assload of flash game runs showing up on their site? I feel like many of their users are elitists (and rightfully so… they put in a lot of work on their runs) and see flash games as beneath them and their site.
All in all, it’ll be interesting to see how things progress. I’ll be keeping my eyes on it. And definitely check out SDA… it’s a super awesome site for anyone that wants to see gaming near-perfection.
So I was talking to Greg today (Kongregate’s Greg)… and it came up that there haven’t been many great games released recently. Laments were had about lack of sponsored games and lack of video views. Tears were shed (probably… Greg’s that kind of guy). He then asked me what the guys at Armor were working on, and the list of stuff I gave him surprised me when I looked at it.
Armor has 5 full-time flash developers. This is what they’re working on:
Tony: Shift 5 & a spoof TD game based around his spoof RPG game
Con: The Last Stand: Union City
Krin: nothing official, but his forum’s moderator posted that he’s working on a Sinjid sequel
John: FlipSide, a mini-game compilation akin to FSF meets Simon Says… I have a feeling the title will be changed before release… I haven’t played it, but from my understanding of the game, the title doesn’t seem to fit that well.
Joey: that phuzzle that I mentioned in an earlier blog, plus he mentioned some sequels in an ArmorBlog interview.
Now, what does this all have in common? Not a single original idea in the lot… every single one is a sequel (I’m stretching a bit on John’s game, but go with it). This seems to be a big trend in flash games recently… very few new ideas, lots and lots of sequels / title re-works. BTD4, BTTD, CycloManiacs 2, Perfect Balance 2, Epic Quest, etc etc. I could give a very long list.
There’s nothing wrong with sequels. It’s far easier to come up with 1 great idea and then capitalize on the success of that game by releasing sequels. But you can only rest on your laurels for so long… it’d be nice to throw some new concepts in now and again. Console games have been doing it for years. My fear is that this is some sort of early warning bells for the start of the industry’s decline. I’m likely being paranoid, and this just happens to be a lull time, but I’m mostly dependant on ad revenue from video views to live… so forgive me my paranoia.
What are your thoughts on flash game sequels? Are you happy to see a 5th SHIFT game or 4th Bloons TD game? Where would you like to see these top developers spending their time? I’m a bit torn on it myself. This is something I’ve told more than one developer: Sequels have name recognition. That can be a good or bad thing (or both to different people). People KNOW what Sonny is; they aren’t going to play Sonny 3 if they didn’t like Sonny 1/2… even if Sonny 3 is 100x better. So you’re immediately alienating part of your potential player base. But, there is the other half… those who will immediately play it because they recognize it and like it, and portals that will host it for the same reason. With a non-sequel, players have no bias… they see a name, a picture, and a rating and decide if they want to try the game out or not. There are obvious pros and cons to both, depending.
Last March, I was fortunate enough to meet the entire Hero Interactive studio… Jared, Eric, and Steph. Cards were played, fun was had by all. Since then, I’ve done what I can to assist them on their games; my usual stuff… feedback, testing, walkthroughs. They seem to value my input and listen to my suggestions, which is always nice.
Today I was given the opportunity to test their long awaited BTTD. I’m not going to spoil anything or give much away… you’ll get to play it yourselves soon enough. But, what I really noticed was that I had very little to critique. It’s obvious right from the start how much work went into the game. Granted, they were able to learn from all the feedback from Pirate Defense… but actually doing it and doing it well is a feat worth praising.
What I will say is that the game is VERY hard. Like… VERY hard. At least for me. The easy levels are exactly that… easy. The medium levels aren’t hard either. But the difficulty jump on the hard levels is BAM. I spent a few hours messing around on a bunch of different hard levels, and beat exactly 1… imo, the easiest one (only hard until you figure out that specific level’s trick, something none of the other levels have). I’m hoping Jared will take some pity on me tomorrow and explain what I’m doing wrong to fail so miserably.
One note in my defense (read: an excuse)… I don’t juggle. If you watch my videos, you’ll notice every single TD video I have is no-juggle. The only times I’ve ever juggled is for The 100 on DTD and the 4-entrance spawn speed thing for DTD Pro, both of which were badge reqs that were 100% impossible to do without juggling. I will try something 100 times to try and do it without juggling (DTD Pro Scenario 23) before attempting it with juggling. I can juggle; I just abhor the micromanagement aspect of it… not to mention that I feel like I’m cheating every time I juggle.
So I don’t know how many vids you’ll be seeing from me on BTTD. I’d love to do them; I know Jared will feature them in-game and they’ll get a ton of views… I just don’t want to cop out and make juggling vids. Maybe he’ll appreciate my failures and accept my vids on easier levels… then take vids that other people make of the hardest levels with juggling and add those as well. It just really does feel like failure on my part, and that is not something I accept easily.
Most of you are now asking yourself, “Who is John Cooney?” John is more commonly known as Jmtb02 (John MounTain Bike 2002 *snicker*), and he is the Head of Game Development for Armor Games. Basically, he gets paid to go to an office and make flash games as well as oversee the progress of the rest of the in-house team. Now, why is he a machine? Since 2002, John has pumped out over 50 games. Think about that… FIFTY different games. Granted, there are a solid number of sequels, so you’re really talking 30-35 original concepts. But that is still an insane number of ideas that have not only manifested in his mind… but actually been worked on through to completion and release. So I tip my cap to this crazy machine of a developer. He also happens to be a really cool dude… just don’t IM him randomly with nothing to say, he doesn’t like that (really, we ALL dislike it… but again, topic for another day).
Also, a slightly disappointing development took place this week. John released his newest game, I Hate Traffic, to much fanfare and rejoicing. The disappointment is that I had been talking to him for a few weeks about the progress on the game… but apparently there was some miscommunication between us that led to him releasing it without giving me an opportunity to test it, give feedback, and get a walkthrough prepped. In the scope of things, no biggie, but it was a bit disappointing in that the game wound up being released with a memory leak in it that I spotted within 5 minutes of playing. John found it quickly after I described what I thought was causing it, and it was promptly fixed… but I’m sure everyone would have rather caught it before it was public.
In more Armor Games news… I’m REALLY looking forward to getting my hands on Joey’s upcoming puzzle platformer (or phuzzle, I forget which). I can just picture Joey sitting in his chair, lollipop stick embedded in his keyboard, cackling at my inevitable frustration from his devious creations.
So, I haven’t really decided what I want out of this site. Is it a depository for my walkthroughs? Is it a place for me to talk about recently released or upcoming games? Do you care about what I do in my personal life? Beyond that, I only just started to advertise this site at all, via annotations in my Bloons Tower Defense 4 vids. I’ll continue to do this, hopefully starting to drive some traffic to the site.
Basically, for the 30-40 people that actually check this… what do you want out of this site? Please post comments as to what you want me to post about and what you don’t want me to post about. I’m thinking about putting up more random content, about stuff I do and about upcoming games (with developer/sponsor permission, of course).
On that front, I’ve spent most of the past 6 weeks playing Sacred Seasons, a flash-based MMO that is free to play. I’ve quickly risen to one of the highest levels in the game (probably top20), became a moderator, and am working to assist on balance/gameplay. I find it amazing how all of my addictions turn into jobs… shocking, awesome, and amazing.
BTD4, Bloons Tower Defense 4, was released today. The core mechanics are the same as the previous ones, but the addition of MochiCoins to the game has changed the dynamic. Now, you have to unlock new towers, upgrades, and game modes… or if you’re lazy (or want extra powerful stuff, or new maps) you can buy all the upgrades for instant gratification.
Bloons really seems to be the most mainstream series in our segment of the casual game market, so I see no reason why the premium content won’t do very well for the Harris brothers; their iPhone apps have already proven that people are willing to shell out a few bucks for their monkey popping thrills. Perhaps this will be the first stone on the other side of the scale towards acceptance of microtransactions in flash games.
Should you need trouble, I whipped up this little vid… I was rank 20 at the start of the vid, 25 by the end:
PS – Would someone PLEASE tell my fine Kiwi friends that video ads on websites that auto-play with audio are REALLY annoying. This has just started to happen, but I’ve noticed it on 2 of my favorite indie developer sites, NinjaKiwi and Pencilkids.