Angry Unrelated Ranting: PSN

This has nothing to do with flash, though much to do with gaming, but this Playstation Network hackjob is making me angry.

You see, I don’t have a PS3. I never wanted one, considering it’s inferiority as a platform to the Xbox 360. But I was nice enough to loan my debit card to a friend so he could download some Guitar Hero songs. Now, since the hackers have 77 million user infos now, there’s a large possibility I may have to cancel my card.

I really wish I could get a part of the law suit money from the people, if that pans out. I have no stock or faith in the company, though if they go bankrupt we may lose out on a few great PS3-exclusive games. No huge loss. Not that I expect that Sony will have to pay out monetary compensation to 77 million users. But if I can get on that list, I will.

Plus, we knew from the beginning who the culprits were: American members of Anonymous after a hacker was banned. I heard them blaming other sources in a radio segment, and they weren’t joking. Seriously, they were saying that it must be China. because they have a large population of tech-savvy people. Then they blamed the Russian finance hackers, which makes more sense but is still total BS. Lastly, they mentioned there’s a very small chance it’s American “recreational” hackers, because our cultural bias has to downplay the severity of any fowl play by a US citizen.

I really don’t know. Hopefully, my own card was lost in the cracks, and I mourn for anyone else in this annoying position. I’d rather not go bankrupt for a bunch of mask-wearing rejects. Geez.

An exciting time in Flash gaming

Guess what just happened? Fancy Pants adventures, a game by flash artist Brad Borne, came out with a console release on both the PS3 andXbox 360. This is a combination of the last two Flash games, with the addition of a whole lot of extra content from the upcoming third.

It’s really the time all flash artists dream of, their time to take game development to the next level. This is only possible through the collaboration of Over the Top games and their animation skill. A fairly new company, but gaining quite the reputation for apps and ports. Distribution is amazingly handled by one of the biggest gaming juggernauts, Electronic Arts. Not a subsidiary of EA. EA themselves.

Pictured above: PROFIT

Which is a really good move from a marketing standpoint. The games on computer have combined plays of over 100 million, thanks in part to the fact it’s free. But with the addition of new moves, areas, and four player cooperative gaming, along with the fact that 2d platformers are so rare these days, I’m guessing people will pony up the ten dollars for a fun action romp.

IGN had some nice things to say about the title, which has only had a few days in the arcade. Brad created Borne games specifically for his first foray into commercial gaming, but we all know that one game is sometimes all you need (minecraft).

To be fair, I haven’t had the money to buy the game yet, and my xbox is actually my roommate’s. But it seems remarkably similar to the original. King of the Hill mode, where you try to hold onto a ball, seems a fun addition. The inclusion of the new enemies seems fun, and you have a weapon (a pencil) instead of only being able to jump on enemies. The art style can only be described as fun and breezy.

I’m just happy to see a flash artist getting recognized and some real income for their talent.

Some games are HARD

I was thinking today about a game that isn’t flash. A game created as a love letter to the more difficult days of gaming past, games such as Mega Man or the Mario levels with that angry sun that wants nothing more than to make you wish you were dead. Or that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on the Nes. Geez. That is I Wanna Be The Guy. Download this indy freeware game, and if you finish it, be prepared for some serious bragging rights in the gaming community.

But it’s not the only one. Our good buddy Flash is here to lead us to the depths of hell and back in the form of head-thumpingly, nail-bitingly, wall-punchingly difficult games. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

The Hardest Game Ever

This one is just tedious, actually. You use the age-old formula of squares and circles through mazes, trying to dodge bad thing until you get to the end. The detail I liked was berating you after every level about how impossible the game will get. It’s certainly completable, but will make you go insane. Kind of boring in a design sense, but the gimmick is perfectly sound.

Super Mario Flash

Many of these hard games were based off a manipulated Mario design made years ago that made you question your very terrain in a video game landscape. This led to some great videos of people playing them and being pissed.

Language Alert! Not safe for work.

Karoshi: Suicide Salaryman

This is not a nice game. Other than the fact that they are making light of Japanese working themselves to literal death, and suicide, it’s just evil. Kind of interesting in that the goal of a normal platforming game is reversed: you must lose all your lives to win. It is considerably more fun than the other games designed to make you lose your mind and snap into a violent rage completely. It’s also a very competent puzzle game, despite the grimness of the theme. Music’s catchy, too. There’s a sequel, but i’ve never wanted to taint my salaryman experience.

If you can survive these atrocities in gaming, tell me.

Medals and achievements

This is a bit of a strange phenomenon in gaming, and beyond. I sort of understood the achievements on Xbox 360, but the ideas of medals in Flash baffles me. Newgrounds has available many thousands of points in medals. Newgrounds is one of the greatest lampooners of the trend.

This has become so much of a joke that entire games were made to make fun of the medal unlock. Like this:

Not only do we need a sense of satisfaction for winning a certain part of game, we need a sense of achievement to show other people outside of high scores in the game. Achievement Unlocked 2 came out lately, as well as upgrade complete which provides satire on instant gratification mentality.

Anyway, no time for a real rant. I think I should discuss a few notable flashes.

There was the weirdness that is Psychosomnium.  

This is a short and unique platformer with some interesting twists; the goal is to learn the strange little tricks that work in ways you wouldn’t expect. I don’t to spoil it. Let’s just say you’re in a dream, and things are different. The controls are very simple, but the puzzles are mindbending.

I’m in love with Bullet Heaven.

It’s a fine example of the bullet hell genre, a shooting game where projectiles are everywhere and you shoot a poop-ton of bullets toward endless waves of powerful enemies. This one has beautiful graphics, great upgrades, and hours of gameplay. The bosses are epic.

Those should keep you busy.

Flash Creepypasta

I was at a convention this weekend in Pittsburgh, and learned of an internet meme the likes of which I hadn’t put a name to. This was the creepypasta.  Since this sounds like something strange (and it certainly is) the best I can describe the phenomenon is this: As ghost stories are to the physical and spiritual happenings, these are stories of horrible abnormality happening in the realm of video games. These could be urban legends involving hacked cartridges or terrible accidents occurring during a game. Some of the more notable have to do with the incredibly popular Pokemon series, questionably enjoyed mostly by young adults and college students. Here are a few freaky and well-known ones:

Majora Mask’s BEN

Pokemon’s Lost Silver

They really are only creepy in the context of those who have religiously played the game they are based upon, which is much of the charm. Encyclopedia Dramatica gives their best shot to confuse the reader on the subject, while the devoted Wiki gives a better synopsis. To be fair, it’s not just video games, but those are the favored on the nets.

Anywho, the panel I went to (at midnight) inspired me to look for how this affects the medium of Flash. While most involve text, or the occasional video or sound file, I knew there had to be a flash basis, as with most memes. I found a few newgrounds flashes, but nothing great. In the most basic sense, youtube is flash, but I was looking for animations.

Others were just bad modifications of animated cutscenes, like a stupid submission of a really unplayable Mario game. Same sort of deal with Spongebob,  and a irratatingly long and pointless “terrifying” Mickey Mouse cartoon.

I’m annoyed that there’s no flash beyond your average Youtube Poop (look it up). Maybe someone else can find something. I’m out.

My triumphant return to Internetz

Oh, Spring Break. I wasn’t exactly partying hard; rather, I was lamenting the dial-up of my hometown house.

Though I hate to simply review things that happened, you can take a trip through the last week-and-a-half with me. Interactive!

So, the biggest news of months, really, was this catastrophe in Japan. The support and well-wishes have been monumental in these dark times. How does this affect Flash? In so many ways, actually. Newgrounds is having a charity auction courtesy of Arin “Egoraptor” Hanson and are advertising the great services of sparkrelief – dedicated to finding temporary shelter for those displaced by disaster. Tsunami Fighter also was an attempt to raise money for charity in a viral medium.

On a lighter note:

Tech evangelists are gearing up for conference season, as the flowers bloom and techies emerge from hibernation. Tablet apps have been all the rage but still don’t give Flash it’s due. I’m pretty excited about other things adobe has been doing, like their internet-streaming television service called Adobe Pass, based in Flash streaming.

I also had a TON of games to play. Adult Swim’s Cardboard Box Assembler was a marvel of 3D flash gaming, and distressingly dizzying. I also liked the Jazzy music.

I’ll have to keep playing them.  We’ll keep you updated.

Avert your eyes

Not every flash game that gets popular is a masterpiece of programming. Sometimes, all it take is an Erasure song to go viral.

This is the least seizure-inducing picture I could find. Yes, the internet is a ridiculous place, as this adult swim game is near the top of a list of addicting games I just made up. In it you play a robot unicorn and run while listening to fruity music. Go play it, and then ask yourself why it’s relevant.

Is any of this relevant?

It isn’t relevant, and yet this conspicuous lack of a point is what makes certain games, animations, and other stuff addictive. The internet has a sense of humor about promoting things that are only good for an ironic sense of entitlement. That, I suppose, is the basis of a meme. Go to knowyourmeme.com for an idea of what a meme is. Hey look wikipedia.

Another addiction-worthy artist is one The Weebl, most notably Amazing Horse/Get on my Horse. (NSFW) Does it have any merit? No. Is it fantastic and have many millions of views? Why yes. I was going to post the youtube clip, but it’s far better in Flash, as it loops endlessly. The endless looping song is his specialty.  Also, Narwhals. And of course, in 2003, he did the Badger flash. (Mushroom Mushroom)

And yet, no one can put their finger on what makes something special like this.  I suppose we can chalk it up to the overall power of global media. If 100 million monkeys with a hundred million keyboards bang hard enough, you get a keyboard cat.

The internet seems less interested in figuring out why memes work than simply trying to keep up with the aforementioned memes. The eternal question: What is this, and why do I love it so much? Tell me in the comments.

 

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