Evolution of Online Gaming: From Flash to Mobile

While online games are merely designed for entertainment, they don’t really differ much from other modern technology – they are all rapidly evolving! As we all embrace the growing digital age, these games are coping up real fast providing us with innovative solutions. Gone are the days when we had to deal with those bulky arcade machines or even those old-school handheld game devices. Although online gaming can be traced back to previous decades, it was in the early 2000s when multiplayer online games started to become a real deal.

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I started engaging myself in online games in the later 2000s and during that time, flash games are currently at their highest peak. MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games) are starting to dominate the market and I remember how much my friends and I spent time playing World of Warcraft. I also remember how DotA or Defense of the Ancient became a household name after introducing us all to the world of MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena).

The Popularity of Facebook Flash Games

For someone like me who prefers simple casual games, I settled mostly with online flash games. One of the games I became so addicted to is Zynga’s Farmville. It was launched by Facebook in 2009 and instantly became a massive hit. Honestly, the first reason I created my Facebook account is that I just had to play this game. Not to mention all the other accounts I created just to create decoy “neighbors” to fulfill or expedite various tasks (instead of annoying my friends with countless FB requests). Farmville, as we all know, is a farming management game, a type of casual game that eventually became a genre of its own. The popularity of such games eventually resulted in various clones and farming-related games such as Hay Day, Township, Goodgame Big Farm, and more.

Here are some of my favorite (nostalgic) Facebook games
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Farmville – A casual and fast-paced farm simulation game where the player’s objective is to manage the farm and grow its business by completing a series of tasks.

Restaurant City – Created by Playfish for Facebook. Restaurant City is another classic Facebook game where you are tasked to manage and grow a restaurant business.

Pet Society – Also created by Playfish, Pet Society is a social network game where players can raise pets and interact with other online players in real-time through various social activities.

Tetris Battle – Probably one of the recent Facebook games to leave the market. Tetris Battle turns a classic Tetris game into an amazing PvP battle system. Sadly, the game was one of the casualties of the emerging mobile game market.

Flash Game Portals

The late 2000s up to the early 2010s is probably the best era for flash games. Different flash game portals started to emerge, giving us easy access to various flash games created by Indie developers. Portals like ArmorGames, Miniclip, Y8Games, Kongregate, Friv, Kizi, and Agame have become go-to sites for flash game lovers. These portals have become a platform for developers to share their creations in a very inexpensive yet very effective way.

Unlike hardcore video games and MMORPGs, these flash games do not require long-term engagement. Most of which can be completed in one sitting while others are merely created as effective time killers. Despite the apparent simplicity, these games managed to shape the video game industry. They have become a gateway for many developers and served as inspiration for their games. In fact, most of the mobile games today were inspired by these classic flash games.

I was also lucky enough to be part of the industry at some point. I have worked with various Flash game portals and was hired to provide in-depth reviews for these flash games. It gave me the opportunity to explore many games and see their huge potential in the market. Also, most of these games are surprisingly amazing. I would be happy to share with you some of my personal favorite online flash games.
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Submachine (series) by Mateusz Skutnik – Submachine is a classic escape game that takes you to a very eerie atmosphere. Mateusz Skutnik created such an amazing masterpiece where you will be tasked to unsolved a series of unknown mysteries by solving numerous challenging and mind-twisting puzzles along the way. Crimson Room is also an amazing escape game.

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Kingdom Rush by Armor Games – With its cute Medieval-inspired animation, Kingdom Rush has become a massive hit. Generally, this is a tower defense game (a popular flash game genre) where your objective is to protect your kingdom by placing defense towers on a dynamically changing path. The series expanded to various installments and eventually ventured to the mobile market as a premium app.

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The Last Stand (series) by Armor Games– Zombies and horror survival games are not really uncommon in flash games. There’s the popular SAS: Zombie Assault series, Rebuild series, and more. One of my favorite zombie games though is The Last Stand by Armor games. It is basically a merge between shooter and tower defense game. Your goal is to survive and protect your shelter at all costs by killing all the approaching waves of zombies.
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Burrito Bison: Launcha Libre by Kongregate – Burrito Bison is another popular game by Kongregate. It follows a story of a launchador sucked in a Candy Land. Your goal is to find your way out by launching Burrito Bison and slam all the cute yet villainous gummy bears along the way. It’s a great time killer but also provides an impressive upgrade system. The game eventually ventured to the mobile platform.

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Siftheads (series) – Who needs an immersive visual if you can get the same action-packed experience with stick figures? Siftheads is another popular action game series that follows the story of bounty hunters who were tasked to infiltrate various bases. It eventually expanded into various installments introducing us to many other colorful characters.

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BoxHead (series) by Crazy Monkey – Boxhead is a two-player flash game (players will play the game using the same keyboard) where you will either engage in a cooperative or deathmatch battle. This game proves that simplicity is actually great. It comes with an impressive upgrade system and remarkable replay value.

Papa’s Pizzeria by Papa Louie Arcade – Another addictive restaurant management game. It follows a story of a guy who surprisingly inherits a pizza shop. Your goal is to grow the business by serving the customers as fast as you could.

The End of an Era: Transition to Mobile

As years passed by, we were introduced to HTML5 games as well as games created through the Unity3D engine. Also, the rise of the mobile market affected the Flash game industry. People are starting to switch from browsers to mobile mainly because of its portability and access to the larger game library from bigger gaming companies. Most of the beloved flash games started to decline and they eventually ended up discontinuing the game or made an attempt to venture into the mobile platform. Also, developers started to find the transition more profitable. Several games like Kingdom Rush, Age of War, Burrito Bison, and Fancy Pants Adventure made a successful mobile transition.
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Before the transition, it is also worth mentioning that several downloadable video games became extremely popular including PopCap’s Plants Vs Zombies that eventually expanded to multiple installments for mobile platforms. It was the end of an era indeed and just this year, Adobe Flash Player finally laid to rest, killing almost every flash game we adore. We were introduced to a large library of mobile games that we can freely download from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Big companies like GameSoft gave us access to quality mobile games like Asphalt and Modern Combat. Not to mention the rise of battle royale games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Apex Legends.

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There’s also Rovio’s Angry Birds series which became a massive hit. King’s Candy Crush Saga also became a game-changer that eventually resulted in an endless number of clones in the mobile market. Imangi’s Temple Run, on the other hand, repopularized the endless runner genre while tons of idle games eventually dominated the market after the surprise success of Cookie Clicker. Flappy Bird also found an instant success too that inspires more developers to create simple yet catchy games.

Are Browser-based Games still alive?

Now that Adobe Flash is dead, the question is, are browser-based games still alive? The answer is yes! For instance, there is software that you can download online to play your favorite flash games. Better yet, there are websites that specifically showcase browser-based games for us to enjoy. I recently came across Plays.org and discovered a huge collection of browser-based games. While embracing the lockdown and the work-from-home environment, I decided to save myself from boredom and that’s where I discovered plays.org. It came to me by surprise that there are still browser game portals like this and while the site is relatively new, the library of games they offer is growing rapidly.

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What I really enjoyed about these types of browser-based games is the overall simplicity. Unlike mobile games that often require long engagement, these games are generally designed to provide quick entertainment yet they still offer a decent replay value. Best of all, these games are NOT heavily inputted by ads. Compared to most mobile games in the market today that often drown players with exaggerated ad placements, these browser-based games are completely ad-free.

To top it all, these games are absolutely nostalgic! It reminds me of those amazing days of flash games. As I have spent a lot of time on this site for the past months, I would be happy to share with you five of my favorite browser-based games so far.
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King Rugni

King Rugni is a tower defense game that reminds me most of the classic Kingdom Rush game. The goal is to protect your base by placing defense towers along the dynamically changing path. If you have experienced playing tower defense games, King Rugni follows the same classic format. It comes with an upgrade system that allows your towers to become more efficient. Prevent the enemies from breaking through your defense because if you sustained too many damages, the game will come to a quick end and you have to start the same level until you managed to make it through. Check the game here.
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Star Wars Rogue One Boots on the Ground

The first thing I loved about this game is the impressive 3D graphics. It offers a decent CGI and comes with well-polished gameplay. The main objective is to take control of a troop (3 characters) and engage in a series of missions. Your tasks will vary per level from killing enemies, saving survivors, and protecting cargoes. You must come up with an effective strategy and prevent your team to be killed. Otherwise, you might end up dealing with missions alone. Mission campaign will be added to this game soon so watch out. Check the game here.

Lego City Adventures
Lego City Adventures

Lego City Adventures is a Sim City-inspired game but offers simplified gameplay. It’s simple yet surprisingly addictive. The goal is to grow your virtual town by establishing buildings. The tricky part is that each building requires a set of Lego bricks which you can obtain by digging (a Minesweeper-inspired task). The price per dig will exponentially increase which gives this game a decent challenge and impressive longevity. Try it here.

Open Restaurant
Open Restaurant

When it comes to casual gaming, you can never go wrong with restaurant simulation or store management. Open Restaurant features pseudo-3D graphics in which your goal is to run a restaurant. You are given simple yet repetitive tasks by entertaining customers, taking orders, and serving them to them. However, as you progress, everything will run fast and you have to chase the clock before it runs out. Check the game here. 

Cyberman
Cyberman V

Cyberman V pays homage to the classic platformer game – Megaman. It features the same mechanics and gameplay. Your goal is to take control of Cyberman and save Zero City from different robotic enemies. It’s a classic platformer where you have to collect coins and gather gems to unlock the next level while trying to kill enemies and avoid traps you will encounter along the way. Play this nostalgic game here

If you are asking if these games can also be played using a mobile browser, the answer is yes. These games do not require any storage but use cookies to save your progress. It means that even you leave the game, you can access it again and start from where you left off.

While mobile games are rapidly evolving, it is still nice to go back to basics and experience the real core essence of gaming which is to have fun!

 

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “Evolution of Online Gaming: From Flash to Mobile

  • August 9, 2021 at 10:35 pm
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    It is crazy to think that now we can play games from our mobile devices! I still remember my Atari, Nintendo, and Sega growing up. The good ol’ days of blowing the cartridge whenever the game froze lol

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  • August 17, 2021 at 5:42 pm
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    Interesting blogpost! Used to play FarmVille all the time. Thank you for sharing!

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  • August 17, 2021 at 7:32 pm
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    My ten-year-old would love this post. He loves all things video games. I do worry about games being so accessible to kids. It is a distraction at all times.

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  • August 18, 2021 at 1:25 am
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    I am the generation of video games coming online. It is amazing to me just how much they have changed over the years.

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  • August 18, 2021 at 9:18 am
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    I am not familiar with online games as I am too old to play those entertainment channels. I remember seeing my youngest played Farmville.

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  • August 18, 2021 at 1:29 pm
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    I’m not familiar with these games but I remember playing Tetris Batlle. It was my resort whenever I was having stress from work

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  • August 18, 2021 at 1:29 pm
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    This brings back memories from childhood. I used to play Farmville and tetris battle

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  • August 18, 2021 at 1:30 pm
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    These games look really fun to play. I would like to try some. Maybe Plans vs Zombies

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  • August 18, 2021 at 1:57 pm
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    I’m a big PC gamer and it’s amazing to see how far it’s all come. I can remember playing flash games online, and now I’ve upgraded to games such as FF14!

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  • August 18, 2021 at 2:24 pm
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    I haven’t really been a fan of online games but I do love the educational games of Plays.org.

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  • August 18, 2021 at 8:01 pm
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    I had forgotten about flash games! I was such a fan. 🙂 But I’m quite happy with the transition to mobile – I can play in the bus and pass the time.

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  • August 19, 2021 at 12:15 am
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    It’s cool to see the evolution when it comes to online gaming. Technology is ever changing and so impressive nowadays. So many games looks very realistic too.

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  • August 19, 2021 at 8:16 am
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    I love Pet Society and Farmville! I play this a lot in FB. Too bad they removed it!

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  • August 19, 2021 at 5:11 pm
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    I am not a fan of games especially nowadays but I must confess, I played Farmville back when Facebook is new. hahaha

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  • August 19, 2021 at 5:57 pm
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    I have never been into gaming so this is truly fascinating!

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  • August 20, 2021 at 10:43 am
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    Wow…it has been the journey looking back now! You reminded me of Need For Speed when you mentioned GameSoft’s contribution on this journey. Those were really good times! Thanks for sharing.

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  • August 24, 2021 at 2:40 am
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    The cute but bad gummies made me laugh. That’d be right up my granddaughter’s alley.

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