I think I’ve mentioned before how that until recently I was too poor to afford games or consoles, or even a PC that could run any modern (at the time) games without them lagging on the lowest graphical settings. What I did have, though, was a decent enough internet connection to play the plethora of flash games the internet had to offer.
I grew up with the flash portal site, Newgrounds.com, and I was basically breastfed on its array of strange, interesting, and surprisingly well-made indie games. Some of them, are, in my opinion, insanely spectacular and shouldn’t be missed.
Here are a few that everyone should play at least once.
This is one of the first adventure games that introduced me to the genre. You play as the recently deceased; a ghost trying to discover how he died, and how to go beyond to the next world. Here, you’ll interact with other ill-fated specters, scare children, and commence common adventure game fare, like the collection of seemingly useless items. The great thing about The Dead Case is that these types of puzzles do make sense. Yes, you’ll light the candles on the first available fire. Yes, you’ll place them where directed. Yes, you’ll present alcohol to a ghost killed by drunk driving. The story is nothing to shake a stick at either, crescending into a satisfying ending. Also, it has one heck of a jazzy soundtrack.
Jesse Venbrux’s game about player character suicide is an ingenious take on the puzzle-platformer genre. You play as an overworked businessman who must kill himself in dozens of stages, culminating in a boss battle where you avoid health and seek out your own death. Some of the puzzles here will flip conventional platformer tropes on their heads, while still feeling familiar.
One of the finest of its genre, Toss the Turtle is a cannon game where you launch a turtle in the hopes of sending it further and further. While airborne, the player can shoot at the chelonian with a variety of guns to keep him going higher and further. Randomly generated buffs and deadly traps along the way make each playthrough different and challenging. Also, Gonzossm’s art style is always something to be appreciated.
A unique look into the life of a transgender person’s struggle through hormone therapy and the social troubles that can come with it. Created by the wonderful Anna Anthropy, she takes us on a journey through this troubling time in her life. It plays as a variety of simple, odd minigames that end quickly as Anna tells her story. The most incredible thing about this game, though, is how well received it was. The internet, not known for being particularly tolerant of others, had a general consensus that this game was a wonderful lesson in struggling with gender identity. I myself was ignorant of how trans* people struggled and felt before I played this game, and I hope I can say I’m much less ignorant now.
One of my favorite Edmund McMillen games. Based off of his niece and his own childhood, Aether puts you in the role of a young boy who feels discontent with his home and his problems, so he flies away into space on the back of a large, round octopus monster. As you fly through space, you come into contact with other planets that you can steer yourself towards by using the octopus monster’s long tongue. Once on a planet, you circle around it, trying to help out people with their problems. But with each planet that you help, the Earth becomes smaller and smaller, until, upon returning home, it’s so small that you crash into it and break it apart. The message McMillen was trying to convey was how imagination is great, but you can’t ignore the real world forever, lest it becomes too hard to come back to it.
I played this game many years ago, and for only an hour, but it somehow stuck with me. You are a platypus named Joe who is forced by his small town of Chasmton to restore the waterflow from the dam to their village. A point-and-click adventure game, it focuses less on inventory and more on traversing the beautifully designed (in flash) environment and solving puzzles right then and there. A neat game to play.
A fun and funny simulator. You get yourself your very own virtual buddy for you to tickle, hose down, set on fire, taser, throw bowling balls at, and launch missiles towards. That’s about it. Damn good fun.
You can catch Frank Margarella on twitter @Fuhjem.