December 2008

Three Excellent Flash Games

These days, gaming has become a new kind of creature. Shiny, glossy console adventures have created a billion-dollar industry and PC gaming has tended more and more in the direction of lush complexity and stunning cinematics. Developers have budgets bigger than a lot of studio films coming out of Hollywood and have adopted a similarly innovation-averse business model. But, also like the film industry, the video game medium has started to embrace the work of independent outsiders. Games like Braid and World of Goo have received plenty of acclaim and a good number of players. For an entire generation of aspiring game designers, life in the art begins with Flash. Popular Flash-game websites like Kongregate and Newgrounds feature work from people as young as 13. With Flash originals like Alien Hominid getting official console releases, one-designer browser games are looking like an increasingly sound entry-level business approach.

Games That Should Not Be: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

Boy, the 1990's were some good years. Peace time between the Cold War and the War on Terror. Unparalleled economic prosperity. The mainstream introduction of the Internet. What else am I forgetting? Ah, yes. The last time I played a good Mortal Kombat game. For some ridiculous non-reason, Midway Games has kept churning out iterations of the original bloody fighting series long after it was relevant or even fun to play. The first was revolutionary, the second was a nice update, the third was passable but rather unimaginative. By the time MK4 hit the shelves, I was fairly certain the series didn't have the legs to make it through the next decade. Being 12 and therefore naive enough to believe there is any dignity in the videogame industry, I was sorely mistaken. So, as we slowly approach the 20th anniversary of the iconic slugfest, we have to entertain the notion of something as patently absurd as Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. It's as if an executive over at Midway tripped over a long-discarded copy of Marvel vs.