All video games are valid and all gamers are authentic. Whether you like to play casual games like the ones we publish in our new games section or you are a devout console gamer: we're all on the same team. We all play games and we all have strong opinions on them. This is why we're introducing a semi-regular series of game reviews. These reviews won't just be about iogames, mobile games or the kind of desktop games we publish: they will be about all games. We look forward to talking about everything from the new hotness to obscure diamonds in the rough. So, it seems fitting that we kick things off with a review of a remastered game from ten years ago which itself was based on a property from the '80s, there is something about that kind of nested nostalgia that just screams addictinggames.com
(Photo: Terminal Reality)
In 2009 'Ghostbusters' fans finally got not only a great game but an unofficial sequel. Terminal Reality delivered by bringing back all four original Ghostbusters, and a few surprise guests. The dialog felt genuine thanks to the writing talents of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The sounds, specters, and music were spot on. Gamers could now wrangle ghosts, trap them, and cause millions of dollars in property damage. 'Ghostbusters: The Video Game' was an imperfect affair but delivered on the core mechanics fans wanted. Sadly, a followup to this outing never manifested, but an upscaled remaster did.
While 'Ghostbusters: The Video Game' as a whole is a worthwhile single-player romp made specifically for fans of the franchise, do a few visual and technical upgrades make another purchase necessary?
On a technical side, the 'Remastered' version of the game runs better than the '09 release ... mostly. Textures are a little clearer; the player can now almost make out what's on Janine's computer screen, and the infamous ending screen from the original NES 'Ghostbusters' game can be clearly read in its entirety on Egon's computer, spelling errors and all. This doesn't mean everything is high resolution, though.
'Ghostbusters: The Video Game' is still a decade-old title. Nothing was rebuilt with a new engine. No new assets were added. Pictures and newspapers plastered on the walls of the firehouse are quite ugly closeup. Textures are washed out in some areas. Geometry can be a bit sketchy sometimes. Character models still sport plastic-like skin, though the various imperfections, pockmarks, and scars are better defined. The proton pack gets a tiny boost in detail, but the physics of the hose that connects the neutrino wand to the pack behaves differently between the two versions. Occasionally some of the scripted elements that move the game forward do not trigger, but this bug was also present in the 360 version. Check out our side-by-side comparison video below for these little oddities.
There are improvements that aren't just cosmetic, however. The framerate is a huge improvement. The 360 release had a lot of janky moments. Too many enemies on the screen at one time when all four or five Ghostbusters discharging their proton streams would strain the last-gen consoles. In 2019, thankfully, this problem does not exist.
There is an improvement that turned out to unwelcomed: the surround sound. Having played the 360 version back-to-back with the 'Remastered', it was quite noticeable. In the original, all the voices from the Ghostbusters are always loaded into the front speakers. The 'Remastered' release has the voices appear in true surround. The issue here is much of the banter gets muted if the Rookie has his back to the gang. Even if Ray or Peter were just behind the Rookie's shoulder, there was a massive decibel drop in their dialog.
The overall appearance is far prettier. Fewer jaggy edges. Less chug. This all does come at a price: missing content. The multiplayer has been completely removed. Busting ghosts with friends in the decidedly limited online modes were fun, but not defined enough to be sorely missed. The DLC outfits are also gone. Players will be stuck with the basic beige jumpsuit with no option to don the dark gray 'Ghostbusters II' duds. The Ecto-1 mini-documentary where the original film vehicle is restored and Dan Aykroyd gushes at the outcome is still there. However, all the extra videos are locked until the game is complete. This is an odd thing to do considering a couple of them are just advertisements for the first film and a blu-ray that came out some time ago.
'Ghostbusters: The Video Game' is made for fans of the franchise, period. It continues the story and lore that was set in motion in 1984 and ups the scale of not only the locations but of the ghosts. Wandered what a 'sloar' was that the Vinz Clortho mentioned in the first film? You get to battle one face-to-face. Want to take on Gozer's Stay Puft destructor form again? Oh, that happens over the course of an entire chapter! Always wanted to know if Ivo Shandor had other conduits like the one found on the top of Dana Barrett's building? Oh, yes!
The game, even back in '09, hit most of the things fans wanted out of a 'Ghostbusters' game. The player may not get to drive around New York in an open world situation. The title presents a linear, story-driving outing with the original cast that filled the void when a second sequel should have been, that is until Jason Reitman's 2020 film.
The release price of $29.99 is a little high since features were stripped and the original is backward compatible with the Xbox One. For those who passed up the original a decade ago, the remaster would be the best version to experience. Perhaps that's exactly who this is for, those who didn't get the original experience, but want a cleaner presentation.
AddictingGames.com Is one of the largest libraries of flash games. Featuring such classics as Clear Vision, Age of War and Fancy Pants, AG has been around for a long time. Many millennials fondly remember playing games on AG during class in middle school. Flash is an integral part of early internet culture. That being said, what will happen to websites like AG after Google Chrome, and other major browsers, completely discontinue flash in 2020?
Many have asked the question and I’m here to provide answers!
The truth is that we’ve been hard at work at Addicting Games to assure the future of browser gaming. Sure, most of our games library is currently in Flash, but we’ve been attacking the problem from multiple fronts. How do we intend to survive the inevitable Flash Doomsday event in 2020?
1. Investing in IO Games
IO Games are free multiplayer browser games, typically built in HTML5, that anyone can play without needing to login or sign up. A great example of an io game is krunker.io. These games are massively popular, standalone titles and standalone websites that have their own communities. IO game culture is very much different from flash game culture because the focus is more on multiplayer experiences.
Easy-to-learn, easy-to-play, the gameplay loops for these games are typically much simpler than console games. IO Games are the ultimate form of casual gaming, because you don’t need to download, install, or update anything. Simply go to the address, and play. AddictingGames.com also released an IO games category this year, which features games like moomoo.io, Little Big Snake and starblast.io.
We intend to continue to invest in IO game titles because we believe it to be the future of browser gaming.
2. Convert flash titles to HTML5
Not only do we want to look at the future (i.e. IO Games) but we also don’t want to forget the past (i.e. flash). Flash holds a special place in the heart of many gamers, and many of the games we feature are timeless flash classics. This is why we’ve invested an enormous amount of time and energy into converting our extensive flash library into HTML5. We’ve started with the hits, like The Impossible Quiz, Bubble Spinner and Kitten Cannon, and are now working our way through even some of our more obscure titles.
It is a technically challenging feat: to convert thousands of titles from flash to HTML5. Although such automation tools exist, they are for the most part, abandoned due to the complexity of converting Flash to HTML5 in a reliable way. Mozilla discontinued project Shumway in 2015. Shumway was Mozilla’s answer to the flash problem; it was essentially a media player which would play flash in the browser. In regards to the discontinuation of the project, Mozilla engineer Chris Peterson stated “other product priorities are currently more important than propping up Flash.”
We have adopted a similar strategy. Instead of “propping up” an old, dead technology with downloadables, hacks and perhaps third-party extensions, we have decided to embrace HTML5 and convert all of our best titles to the future-proof technology.
We believe “nostalgia gaming” is a big part of the appeal of addictinggames.com. It’s a lot of fun to go back and play old titles and many of our users are concerned they won’t be able to after the discontinuation of flash. I’m here to quash that fear: AG’s library will remain, for the most part, completely intact after flash is finally laid to rest.
3. Distributing HTML5 games
HTML5 is not only great for multiplayer games, but the tech also enables a better and more seamless single-player experience. We’ve not thrown all our eggs in the “io games” basket but continue to invest in single-player experiences. Our current HTML5 single-player library consists of hundreds of games and we release dozens of more games every Thursday.
Addicting Games isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We intend to continue to be a part of the continuously growing and expanding culture of browser gaming. Our classic titles will always be available, to this generation of gamers and the next.
Hello, fans, followers, and friends! There has been some talk lately in the news about the casual gaming industry. Whether it’s one announcement or another about new game streaming services coming out, rumors about the shutdown of other beloved flash gaming sites, or the inevitable fate of Flash finally being revealed. There is a lot of movement going on in the casual gaming world right now. So, you might as well add this announcement to the pile: We are updating with all new games on Thursdays again. As of May 24th, 2019 we have begun updating again, every Wednesday at midnight — or Thursdays for you pedants. Longtime fans may have noticed that our Facebook was being revved back up after years of dormancy, our Twitter is tweeting again, and that there are a slow trickle of new games being released at irregular intervals. We also moved into a pretty chic new office over in sunny Santa Monica. These are but the first steps on our new journey and there is a lot more to come!
You can now expect New Games every Thursday like in the good old days but unlike those games these won’t be made in Flash. Going forward our focus is going to be on delivering the same kinds of elegant but addictive puzzle and action games you remember us for but made with HTML5. This means that new games will be mobile ready and you can play them on our site from your phone! Seriously, go ahead and try some of the new games now. With a focus on fun, new HTML5 content we have been porting our most classic Flash games like The Impossible Quiz, Bubble Spinner, Kitten Cannon, and Age of War into HTML5 so you can play them on any device whenever you want. You can find these in our newly installed instant game section, check it out! Besides our new Puzzle Games, Action Games, and Instant Games section, we’ve also taken the world of iogames head on. We are publishing tons of new iogames all the time. If you don’t know what an iogame is, then check out our blog feature “What Are Iogames?” Much like our new HTML5 games, iogames aren’t dependent on Flash and you’ll be able to play them online against friends and strangers around the world long after Flash is but a distant treasured memory.
The truth is we’ve been really focused on iogames, everything from the classics like slither.io to our own games like tacticscore.io and Little Big Snake. Oh, and speaking of Little big Snake: You should go download it in the Apple ios and Google Play stores. That’s right. Download it. Little Big Snake is the first mobile game we’ve released and we think it's the best version of a slither style game available out there. Little Big Snake features different missions, upgrades, side quests, customization options and some of the best art you’ll see in any iogame. It’s something that we’re really proud of and are excited to show off because of all the hard work that has gone into it.
So, there it is: Addicting Games is publishing every Thursday again. We’ve got mobile-ready versions of old games we know you love, new HTML5 games you haven’t played yet, the best io games online and Little Big Snake is available in the app store! We’re also going to be using this blog section to drop the latest news on what we’re up to —and believe us it's big— interviews with game developers, tutorials, the occasional top ten list and fun articles about the history of Flash, different game mechanics, and other cool stuff.
If you liked what you’ve just read please share it with your friends, check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the latest updates. And, if you are a game developer we wanna hear from you!
What is an io game? What does io even stand for? Am I an io game? Are you an io game?
Look, definitions are tricky. Maybe it’s just me but I’m kind of an “I am not a number, don’t label me with your labels, man” kind of person. But, categories do serve a function and while they sometimes are too claustrophobic or too laissez-faire, it is safe to say that games in general and io games, in particular, can be neatly defined.
To avoid any confusion before we get started, we should be clear that an io game doesn’t need to have the .io domain at the end of its name. The .io domain is just the country code top-level domain for the British Indian Ocean. Much like how Canada uses .ca or India uses .in. The two first and biggest io games --Agar.io and Slither io-- both used .io as their domain of choice, so, it became the de facto standard for similar games and eventually morphed into the name of the genre.
No one knows for sure why io was chosen as the domain, but it’s probably because most .com domains like Agar or Cell have already been scooped up and io is also an abbreviation for a bunch of different tech terms like Input/Output, Information Operation, or Information Object. You know how much coders and nerds love their jargon. Face it, io just sounds cool. Remember, io games are a genre not a domain and we publish many games that don’t have the .io domain attached to their name.
So, we know where the name comes from and what io doesn’t mean, but, what defines an io game?
The most comprehensive definition of an io game we’ve come up with is that an io game is a free to play, browser-based, casual game which has a multiplayer component, very few mechanisms, and minimalist graphics. This definition may sound broad but if you use it as a checklist when evaluating a game, the truth becomes clear.
For example, there are a lot of multi-player games out there but they aren’t free. There are a lot of free games out there but they aren’t browser-based. There is a lot of browser-based games out there but they aren’t multiplayer. It isn’t the seven individual features I outlined earlier so much as those features in combination with each other.
The only one of these seven features which can maybe be stretched a bit is the part about graphics. While 2-D minimalist graphics were a hallmark of early io games, we’re seeing a lot of 3-D games showing up, especially those of the First Person Shooter persuasion. But to be fair, in a world where photorealistic console games are the standard, even the pixel bit animation of most io games would be considered minimalist. It’s all about perspective.
It’s also worth noting that io games are not the first big desktop gaming revolution. Let us not forget the glory days of Flash. But alas, Flash was a particular, proprietary program. One which had to be downloaded and installed. And by the end, Flash games had graphics that looked like cartoons, complex strategies and campaign modes that chewed up your memory and spat it out. io games are also not the first multiplayer games available online. Massive Multiplayer Online games had been a staple of the internet for years, tracing their roots to Ultima Online in the mid-90s.
Again, the real innovation with io games was that the games themselves wouldn’t require the user to download any proprietary software or programs, would be free to play, and something you could pick up without reading complicated rule sets. Ultimately the true hallmark of an io game is that they are all basically battle royales. It turns out once you have the ability to connect players from around the world into a single room, the first and only thing anyone wants to do is blow each other up.
We’ve been aggregating what we consider to be the best of the available io games out there and we’re sharing them with you in our new io games section. We hope you like them as much as we do and maybe you’re even inspired to make your own! Either way, keep playing and feel free to let us know how you feel about io games, addicting games and just gaming in general.
Flash Games still hold a special place in the hearts of many gamers who grew up or were online during the early to mid-2000s. Anybody into the casual gaming scene could tell you that you were spoiled for choice. There were hundreds of developers, dozens of publishers and a seemingly limitless supply of new games daily. Best of all, there were no micro-transactions, no pay walls, and no downloads. As long as you had flash —which was standard back in the day— you could scroll through and play for as long as you wanted.
In this wild west world of Flash Games, it took a lot to stand out and succeed. Sometimes you had to be original, or have a cool theme, great graphics, solid mechanics or a neat twist on an old genre favorite. You also had to hustle. With so many games, so many publishers and such a low barrier to entry for both players and developers it was easy for a new title to suffocate in the deluge of content. But there were standouts. There were top games which naturally rose through the ranks to become popular, beloved, and replayed ad infinitum.
And that is what we are here to celebrate today: The ten best flash games of all time.
But honestly, what would truly make someone an authority on the best Flash Games of all time? There are thousands of flash games that have been produced and are floating around amongst dozens of publishers on the internet. The sheer amount of available games is overwhelming. By what metric would a mere mortal even measure such a claim? Do you consider the number of plays? Is it the length of those plays? Should you aggregate all of their individual ratings from a series of sites and establish an average? That could maybe tell you what is popular but does that really make it the best?
So, let's get it out of the way right now: Our list is a mix of popular games, influential games, and games that still hold up to this day. Some of these games have been re-imagined for mobile, others were responsible for launching a thousand imitators and some —like Siftheads— are truly unique and have never been duplicated. So, without much more undue hyperbole, and in no particular order: let us countdown the ten best flash games of all time.
10. Age of War
Base and tower defense games were nothing new by the time the first Age of War rolled around. What seemed to lock users in was the way the game married the upgrade mechanic to the idea of cultural evolution. Now you didn’t just get bigger, faster guns: You went from caveman to the bronze age all the way up to Roman foot soldiers and eventually future bots. It was such a cool gimmick and the game engine itself so well executed that it would go on to influence countless other games but never really, truly be surpassed. You can still play this game today and it’s just as engaging as it was when it was first released.
9. This is the Only Level
Flash Games were weird. A big part of what disappeared in the jump from Flash games to mobile games was just the simple weird factor inherent in most of the games. To be clear: This is the Only Level was a weird game. It’s a good game, but, it’s a weird game. This is the Only Level is a platform based puzzle game where you play as an Elephant and just like the name says there is only one level. There are actually a series of increasingly difficult levels, but all of them take place on the same platform but require you to use completely different control schemes. It’s more fun than it sounds. This kind of minimalistic, absurd, and kind of metagame was a staple of flash games.
8. Siftheads (All of them)
Violent, cinematic, and with a story that continued through many sequels and spin-offs. The world of Siftheads is beyond ambitious. It is unprecedented. The Siftheads world pumped out so many quality games that I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving you an exact number without a lot more research. The Sifthead games defied genre. Some were sniper games, somewhere on the rails shooters, there was even a fighting game at one point. All in all, it was a pretty maximalist approach to Flash Gaming. Especially when you consider the games themselves were all just stick figures living out true romances and kung-fu fantasies.
Imagine the zombie apocalypse from the perspective of the rage virus in 28 Days Later. Infectonator took minimal bit-pixel graphics and a unique premise and made a bizarre real-time Zombie themed puzzle game. Spread your disease and build resources to customize it. You’re the mad scientist behind the creation and perpetuation of a cruel and hopeless zombie virus. The point of this game wasn’t world domination, it was world destruction. Cute but bloody 8-bit destruction.
6. Crush the Castle
Physics has always been an integral part of Flash Games. Developing a solid physics engine that is realistic and responsive as well as being predictable and reliable was the holy grail for a lot of developers. Whether the games were platformers, launch games, or bullet hell games, physics always played a big part. Which might be why Crush the Castle simply crushed the competition. Crush the Castle was a launch game where you fired up your superior siege weapon and took down an opponent's castle. You’d have to account for distance, weight, and the height of the castle, as well as how hard you wanted to hit it. It was kind of like a destructive 2-D version of a golf game. Still as playable and addictive now as when it was first released.
5. Earn to Die
Smash, upgrade, progress, repeat. Add zombies, a post-apocalyptic wasteland and classic cars to the mix and you got yourself a hit Flash game. Earn to Die and its sequels were elegant games where you choose whichever beat up husk of a car you wanted and then smashed your way through various zombie-ridden wastelands to slowly upgrade each component part. Wheels, engine, the hull, weapons. Everything was upgradeable, including the car itself. The end goal was always to travel farther and wipe out more zombies than last time. Simple mechanics but addicting gameplay made this game a classic many times over.
4. Red Remover
“The red shapes are miserable.” So begins the first level of Red Remover, a physics-based puzzle game that tasked you the player with strategically clicking around a two-dimensional horizontal board in order to make the red blocks disappear and the green blocks stay together. Think of it like Jenga is the pieces weren't built straight up in a tower but rather spread out amongst a screen. Red Remover was probably the best and most popular of its type of game and you can get wrapped up in it to this day if you dare to try it out.
3. Ricochet Kills 2
Here we go again with another physics puzzler. Reiterating the importance of both physics and the value of a good real-time puzzle, Ricochet Kills and the far superior sequel Ricochet Kills 2 were mobster themed shoot em ups with a twist! The twist was that it was actually a puzzle game where players had a limited amount of ammo they had to bounce off walls and ricochet around the screen in order to pull off the kills they needed to win. Extra points were given to players who could do it in as short an amount of time as possible. Sounds simple and it wasn’t. This game will get inside your brain.
2. Fancy Pants Adventure 2
In a lot of ways, Stick Games of all kinds could be said to be the real dominating force in all Flash Games. We have two entries on this list already which encompass dozens of games and it isn’t even scratching the surface. While Fancy Pants isn’t your traditional hyper-violent, blood-filled, rage-inducing stick game, it is technically still a stick game. And it is also one of the most popular and well known Flash Games of its time. Fancy Pants and its sequel were unfathomably successful for being such straight forward platformers. The games were definitely inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog but had way more personality and complexity. Also, take note of the attention to detail. The way Fancy Pants hair moves and the way they hang off and crawl up the various edges of the game. As breathtaking to witness now as it was to play back then.
1. The Worlds Hardest Game
Seriously, this is the worlds hardest game. This game is still regularly played and talked about on social media to this day. Probably because it really is the worlds hardest game. As the text on the menu says “You don’t know what you’re getting into.” And, it's true. The game has one simple goal: You are the red square and you must avoid the blue balls. This concept is translated into a ton of challenging levels. Each more complicated than the last. Some of which will have you spun out on trying to figure out what it is you’re even supposed to do. It bears repeating: This is the worlds hardest game. You don’t know what you’re getting into and you’re gonna love it.