The Appeal Of Free Online Games...

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The Appeal Of Free Online Games...
by: Jonathan White

Why do we all play these games? What is the formula for the simple yet wildly addictive gameplay of these little Flash programs? Why is it that we find the time passing so quickly? We know they are simple, we know that we probably have better designs floating around on our hard drives, yet for some reason, we all come back to the tried and tested Flash game. What could that reason be?

Convenience? One of the main upsides to flash games is that you can pick up and play whenever you want, there is no preparation needed, no decisions to be made. You play when you want, for how long you want, you can pause the game if needed and quickly alt-tab when your teacher or boss comes over.

Simplicity? The easy controls and simple graphics mean that even people unaccustomed to the Internet or gaming can enjoy a little play on Flash games. Old or young, the designs are made to deliver gameplay without fluff, so it's easy to get something out of it.

Arcade-Style Competition? You are always playing against a score, you can always better yourself and rank higher than before. Everyone wants his or her name on the leader board. This is like the feel of an arcade, where the ultimate prize is your name being on top for all to see. In some countries, arcades are very competitive, and Flash games to a point bring this competition to everybody.

Infinite? Because of the nature of Flash games, you can never 'complete' most of them. In a normal game, when you slay the dragon, or finish the last level, you win. In a Flash game, your goals are only set by yourself, and once you achieve them, you can always set a higher one.

Calming? Lots of games can actually be very stressful. Games cause people to throw controllers, roar at screens and generally make a fool of themselves. Most Flash games feel a lot more 'fun' and 'casual' due to the nature of knowing you can get back to where you were fairly easily.

Cross-Platform? It doesn't matter if you use Windows, MacOS, Linux or any other web-ready operating system. Flash games are easily accessible to everybody, no matter where you are. You can even play them on some modern cellphones and handhelds. This allows users on different platforms to directly compete in a field, something rare in modern OS-specific gaming.

Nostalgia? Many Flash games are clones of Arcade favorites, from Breakout to Space Invaders to Asteroids. This allows us to identify better with them, as they are 'blasts from the past', we feel that we are somewhat re-living our past with these little gems. As proven by the constant success of arcade bundles and arcade ports, nostalgia is a powerful factor in the industry.

These are all fairly obvious reasons why Flash games are appreciated, along with the ease of finding them, and of course, the point that they are FREE. Man has, since the beginning of time, always enjoyed getting something for nothing. It is in our nature to attempt to make this 'profit'. By playing a free game, we know that if we don't enjoy it, we don't lose out on anything, we can simply move on and try another one.

It is this experimentation which allows people to find a game that they really enjoy. The huge variety of online Flash games, combined with the fact that there is no financial or large time investment means that there really is an enjoyable experience to be found for everybody, and more importantly, that people are inclined to find this enjoyable experience.


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