Wave Pillow

A Murder of Scarecrows

Check out this gorgeous Flash game: “A Murder of Scarecrows”. It’s very simple game: Crows land on your scarecrows and pick stuffing off them, and you retaliate by knocking seeds off nearby trees that hit the crows. In essence, it’s just a modern reworking of the classic “cannon game”, which has been around forever. (Indeed, it neatly references one of the reasons the military was originally interested in computers, which is missile-trajectory calculation.)

What’s particularly cool here, though, are the spooky graphics and moody sounds: It’s like a Flash game designed by Edward Gorey. (Actually, it reminds me of how sad it is that Gorey died before Flash became widely available … just imagine his creepy genius set loose in that medium!) Equally as nifty is the elegant use of the imagery organic to the environment: The tree roots beneath the scarecrows function as their “life” bars, shrinking every time the crows attack. And though it borrows directly from the gameplay of the old cannon games, it neatly updates it by giving you several scarecrows — and thus multiple targets. The fun really begins when crows are diving from all directions, you’re running out of seeds, and you have to carefully ration your attacks.

It’s a nice proof that an old game concept can always be updated, if someone’s got a fresh vision for it.

(Thanks to Jonathan for this one!)

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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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