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The gaming industry constantly changes. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse.
Until now, we’ve mostly read about these things on gaming blogs and in magazines, but a new medium is rising. Over the past year, a number of satirical flash games have traveled around the world, from browser to browser. These funny flash games ridicule and take on some of the critiques on the current-day gaming industry.
We’ve listed the three best and most famous of these games for you, and the messages they are trying to tell.
You Have To Burn The Rope (YHTBTR)
This game has made its parade around the internet, and was instantly loved by nearly anyone who played it. The concept isn’t too complicated — you have to burn the rope.
You play the role of a Kirby-like creature, equipped with an infinite number of axes. At the end of the first (and last) tunnel, there’s a boss to be fought – The Grinning Colossus. Your axes are futile against this mighty beast, you’ll have to burn the rope.
If you can’t figure it out, there’s a walkthrough on YouTube here.
You get told everything from the start of the game. In fact, the game is even titled to spoil the solution. Why? It’s a pretty obvious satire — games are getting too damn easy.
There were days that not everyone finished every game. To reach the end would be a nearly unreachable goal in the old days, or a huge victory if you did. But although games have gotten infinitely cheaper these past decades (they have, really!), people neglect to buy something they can’t finish. They feel cheated.
As a result – with a few exceptions of course – gameplay has gotten increasingly easier. Sure, a ‘veteran’ mode is often included, but most of the time that just means it’s rigged with bugs or has impossible settings. It’s like playing the same game of tic-tac-toe while someone keeps hitting you over the head with a baseball bat.
Try to unlock all achievements in Achievement Unlocked. Have you used the arrow keys yet? Try jumping up and down. Woah, you’re the best! Unlock all 100 achievements and show the world who’s the (wo)man!
The game’s concept? Story? — Why, you’re earning achievements, aren’t you? Have fun!
This funny flash game, released a few months after YHTBTR, continued the satirical approach of the gaming industry. By pushing it into excess, Achievement Unlocked ridicules the increasing focus on Achievements and Trophies in games these days.
Although most aren’t as extreme as this game (you can unlock about fourty achievements in the first twenty seconds, by simply jumping up and down and exploring the room) achievements are taking on a bigger role in gaming every day. I’ll be the last to say they aren’t fun (I’ve quite fervently hunted for them in a few games), but only as peripherals.
Achievements should never – and let that be cast in stone – shove aside, or even worse, replace the gameplay of a game.
Nephew of Achievement Unlocked, UPGRADE COMPLETE carries on the flag of cynicism attacks. The only problem — the game’s so enormously fun that you’d almost start doubting the point it tries to make.
In this game, it’s all about upgrading. Be sure to upgrade your preloader and menu buttons if you want to play, perhaps you’ll want to upgrade your music as well. Fight off hordes of enemies in the arcade shooter, and upgrade your plane for the coming waves.
This game looks pretty ugly when you start playing. You might want to upgrade your graphics as well.
If this game weren’t so darn fun, it would make its point perfectly. All this upgrading is simply ridiculous. Like Achievement Unlocked, it wags its finger at a peripheral system that’s playing an increasingly bigger role in games.
More noticeable than achievement problems, there are plenty of games out there with big free-roaming worlds and a great upgrading system. Only, in the process, they kind of forgot the concept, story and – quite simply – the rest of the gameplay.
The game developer puts it quite simply, once you finish the game: “Maybe next time you’re playing a game you’ll rate it more on how much fun you’re having and less on how complex the upgrade system is”
Of course, if you disagree, you can upgrade to a different final screen, telling you quite cynically how awesome you are for obtaining all the upgrades.
It’s a recent thing, these funny flash game critiques, but so far they’ve had a pretty big following. What do you think about the games — or about the points they’re making? Tell us why you agree or disagree in the comments section below.
Alright, maybe after you’re done with making fun of present-day gaming, you’d like to play some “real” games: