As a long time flash-enthusiast who made tons of crummy sprite-based flash movies and dreamt about making games as a kid It always saddens me that most people reject flash games as not being “real” games. The reason for this is most obviously that there are tons of shovelware flash games out there but that’s just the nature of a platform where almost anyone can write a game. The question is does that really give someone the right to condemn every flash game ever made? I can recall ton´s of great and or interesting flash games and I thought I would share my latest find with you guys.
Psychosomnium is a game about a dream, and like most dreams it makes very little sense, just after two screens a person tells you that you’re inside a dream and that you can control it, so with some encouraging words from your newfound pal you jump towards what looks like certain death, and then, you die. The “WHAT!?” factor hits you instantly but right away you notice that you gain control over the guy who told you to jump, and that’s when things start to get interesting. Because instead of doing like another indie game called The Path does (Jim Sterling wrote a brilliant article about how he didn’t enjoy things like that), which is telling you to do one thing only to be told later that you shouldn't have, punishing you for obeying the game and effectively making you lose all your trust towards the games narrating “voice” .Instead this game tells you to do something really stupid but rewards you for it, what’s so brilliant about this is the fact that once the developer breaks one rule it makes you think -If that’s possible then what isn’t? And that opens up an entire world of interesting possibilities and encourages you to try out retarded things that you’ve never would attempt in a “normal” game. I really enjoyed the game but I would love to see more games attempt to break out of their gaming sweet spots and challenge the ways us gamers approach games. And don’t get me wrong I don’t want games to become frustratingly inconsistent in their gaming rules and laws , I just want to see if people can make a fresh experience out of that concept , kind of like how mind boggling portal felt when it first released. Play the game here!
The games strongest point is easily the narrative, it gives you bits and pieces that in the end probably won’t end up making sense but it does a superb job keeping the player interested, and just like a dream it never fails to surprise you, this game is filled with WTF moments that are sure to make you smile. The gameplay is fairly simple, you move your character with the arrow keys and you perform various actions with x. Up jumps which is game creator tabu in most games, but it works in this game and was probably intentionally done to raise the difficulty level, which is a good thing.
The games presentation is what initially lured me in with some retro sprites, crazy character design and great use of color, but the thing that sealed the deal was the amazingly dreamy soundtrack that really gave the game a dreamlike feeling, it´s a must hear!
Spoilers! Read after you´ve played the game!
When I initially finished the game I was sure that there was more to the game and I felt like a big chunk of potential was lost if you couldn´t explore more of this interesting world so I replayed it a couple of times to search for alternate routes, but I found nothing. I´ve managed to get back to the screen with the gap in the middle with the big guy and I thought that there might be a way to get back to the beginning, but I didn´t find anything. So naturally I searched the vast internet for walkthrough’s for help but all of them proved my theory wrong and ended with the Gunman´s unsuspected death by the Magician, who turned out to be a castle , freaky to say the least!
So I gave up my search, thinking that a game about a dream probably isn´t meant to be understood or make much sense, and to be honest that´s part of charm with dreams and the same goes for this game. Some see similarities and patterns in a dream like I did and they indulge themselves in an obsessive search for things that may or may not existed there in the first place, but then again others say that there are a great deal of significance to dreams.
Either way I don’t mind because in this case the hunt was a big part of the thrill. I also found this interesting thing written by the games creator Cactusquid in his forums, “It's hard to say if everything was random or pre-calculated. When you're creative, what's the difference? I had a thought when I designed each puzzle, does that mean that they weren't random? Similarly I hadn't spent several months planning out the intricate details of the game, so I dunno. “ http://cactusquid.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=games&action=display&thread=19&page=4
One of his other games that look’s and sound’s amazing but I can't seem to find it anywhere and the latest blog about it was in 2008, it's fittingly namedBrain-Damaged Toon Underworld
His other games can be found at http://cactusquid.com
Anyway, this got me digging around for more obscure indie games and I found two games that seemed to fit into that category, the first one is Seiklus
and the second one is Painajainen
, both are games strange and dreamy games that I hope to indulge in real soon.
Coincidentally I had one of the most insane and intense dreams just recently, and the craziest part is that it felt so real, more than usually. It involved intense drug use (which I don't like, that's probably why I dreamt about it), people coming out of fountains and a penthouse nailed on top of a regular house that eventually fell apart, but only after I played a tedious board game with a friend and 13 good looking females in swimsuits and my friends mom came out of a hart shaped house on the balcony. Aren’t dreams just wonderful?
And by the way, is there a theme that you despite the game always seem to catch your attention in one way or another? For me it's strange/scary or just plain weird games that always seem to get to me, I've told you about my obsession now tell me about yours!
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