Archive for March, 2011

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.

 

My terrifying realization

That title sounds like the name of an episode of Scrubs. I wish it were. No, the horror that has befallen my psyche is this: I am a Flash consumer whore.

I complain about people like me all the time. The people who say “Hey, I recognize the thing that this is a tribute to or parody of, and that is all I am going to watch regardless of quality because I am too stupid to realize the value of creativity and original content.”

But then I realized that when I surf over to newgrounds and look at the front page featured movies I immediately click on my favored content: Lately, Minecraft.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Addiction^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

By the way, I realize this isn’t a “gaming blog,” but I feel I should document what this is so they too can further understand my pain. Plus, it has made an impact on flash culture.

G4 has a decent explanation, but I can try to sum it up as well: It’s like legos, but with monsters that try to eat your soul. It is so epic, that it led me to become a mindless sheep and watch flash videos without discretion.

I suppose I do just watch the handpicked best, not bothering with the not-featured garbage animations. I can take some solace in that. But that is simply an excuse.

There is nothing wrong with fanaticism. The normal consumer can view only Super Mario flashes and get on with their lives. Knowledge, in this case, is a Pandora’s box that leads to a loss of time. Specifically, I know what is possible with a medium, and I enjoy a variety that extends past what I know.

There is no word for this trend, and perhaps I can’t explain exactly what I mean without rambling. If anyone else can put a title on this digital disease, leave me a comment. I’m ashamed of myself.

The permeability of Flash in the long-run

Half of the comments I make on the internet (at least those pertaining to my favored media platform) are composed of bitching out those who call flash dead. These are not a few fringers on the outskirts of web and technology. but social thinkers and techno-pioneers. Do I have any right to argue with the people who create real substance using this program? Absolutely. That thought process belongs in the past before mass media became available to the masses. With all the Flash I have enjoyed for the last eight years, and with the truths I have acquired about the many sides of Adobe, I have every right to defend the use and digital divination of my content.

What brings joy to my heart is those who do defend, like Scott Schiller who made a single page site called isflashdeadyet.com, using HTML 5. I love that a simple website exists just to prove a point, and he makes it eloquently and succinctly. His ideas on staying relevant and evolving to a technological middle-ground are certainly valid.

But there are many others touting the open protocol. For obvious reasons, Adobe themselves have some words on compatibility. Like the inherent irony of blocking Flash from a tablet when it was made for tablet PCs 15 years ago. Lordy. Lee Brimelow snipes the Ipad with dead aim below:

(For the interested, the removed image was a screenshot of pornography, added for a little comedy. Adobe did not approve. Ahem.)

This is not to say this is a new debate. Jakob Nielsen introduces the idea of contemporary flash hating back in October 2000, just 10 months after the proposed destruction of the world. This article is laughably outdated, written about the earliest form of a somewhat flawed system. His comments made sense 10 years ago; now the evangelists preaching the bad news of ol’ Adobe seem misguided.

This debate/fight for supremacy is getting bigger. Wall street journal reports that Flash will remain a key video format for all adobe systems, and if they get more buddy-buddy with Google, things could turn into a major brawl.

Yes, I have a bias, as I haven’t posted any recent articles specifically stating that flash is utterly obsolete. Yet none of these pieces tout Flash as the single answer. I believe in the stakes of my viewing property, and call for constant evolution. Some people have the testicular fortitude to stick to their guns in a dark age; some crawl into a hole and hope that what they can’t see doesn’t actually exist. May not lose them a sense of profit, but it could detract a wealth of audience and credibility. The war rages on.