“Two Buck Chuck”

The artistry of Flash games

I’ve babbled on before about the wonderful creative freedom of online Flash games. Because they’re cheap and quick to make, and can be designed by a single individual, they don’t have to fall into the same categories as typical, buy-in-a-box video games like Quake or Half-Life or The Sims. Which is to say, Flash games can exist for a reason that isn’t just about getting you addicted. They can serve another purpose. For example, as I argued last year in Slate, Flash games be harnessed as a form of political commentary — a game you play once or twice to absorb a political argument.

They can also be quite deeply artistic. I’ve recently been playing a bunch of games created by Ferry Halim, an artist in Fresno, Calif. They’re online here, and I urge you with cattle-prod intensity to go visit and play them now. They’re a perfect example of games that aim to be artistic, and not merely addictive. Each game is like a tiny hallucination-dream, done in dreamy pastels — like a children’s book brought to life.

A few of my favorites: “Summer Walk” — which is in the top left-handed corner of Halim’s game grid (sorry, it’s impossible to link to an invidual game.) Or the one that’s one column over and two rows down — illustrated by a kite. This stuff is just beyond superb.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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