Soapbox: Newgrounds Founder Will Receive Honor at GDC Awards. Here’s Why It Matters

There are things I could say now to accurately determine the age of most of our readers. “But I’m tired.” “Rate rate rate.” “Wiggle jiggle, half yellow.” But, most of all, I can ask: which website did you visit the most in the early 2000s? If the answer is anything other than Neopets, EBaum’s World, Homestar Runner, YTMND, Something Awful, MySpace, Albino Sheep Black, A Softter World, or Newgrounds – well, you’re always welcome in this article! We will not age it here.

But practically anyone under the age of 25 who had the internet and a love for games in the early 2000s was in Newgrounds. Browse on awesome Flash videos like The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny and play Flash games as well The Crimson Room it was my dose of fun at noon, before YouTube was a thing. Now, Flash is dead – dead like my dreams of being a senior marine biologist one day, which was my goal at the time. Now I’m just a short game journalist. Ah well.

The Crimson Room was a prime example of an escape-the-room game
The Crimson Room was a prime example of an escape-the-room game

But the legacy of Flash lives on, and so does Newgrounds, which is still in progress, and is still being managed by creator Tom Fulp. In fact, the Game Developers Conference announced that Fulp, alongside industry veteran Laralyn McWilliams, would receive a special honor this year at the Game Developers ’Choice Awards.

So, as I promise: that’s why it matters.

If you’ve been around Flash games since the beginning, you’ve probably seen that many are graduating from browser games to full console games, many of which are on the Nintendo Switch: Super Meat Boy, N ++, and even Cavaliere Cavu, which was originally a game jam game made in Flash. You may even know that Between Us Innersloth developer began his career with the megapopular Henry Stickmin Games!

Among the new Us Airship map is actually a reference to the Henry Stickmin games
Among the new Us Airship map is actually a reference to the Henry Stickmin games

But more than that: Newgrounds was the breeding ground for the indie game scene we have today. Everything weird, weird, experimental and unusual wasn’t on the consoles – it was on the Internet, and as Neopets was the place to be for all those who loved small animals and free omelettes, Newgrounds was the place to play games. .

The sheer number of funny-looking games with stickmen as their main characters speaks volumes about the people who made these games: small teams, or even a single person, with few artistic skills (sorry!) But easy access to Flash, a tool development that made the game more possible than ever.

Meat Boy is the Flash-based precursor of Super Meat Boy
Meat Boy is the Flash-based precursor of Super Meat Boy

These days, development tools are there too no longer accessible. Flash wasn’t really free – although we can speculate that many indie developers have found ways around it – but modern tools like Unity, Unreal Engine, and Blender are all free, with plenty of online tutorials to help you learn the ropes. . Accessibility is one tamantu due to the indie explosion that Switch has profited from, and without accessible tools, we couldn’t have the diversity and creativity visible in the eShop today.

Does any of this exist without the basics that Flash has laid out? I don’t know! I am not a historian! I really like Flash games! But my guess is that the landscape of indie games on the Switch (and in general) would be entirely different if Newgrounds, Flash games, and even Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) hadn’t shown that there was a huge market and hungry for them.

So: congratulations to Tom Fulp for the Pioneer Award (and Laralyn McWilliams for the Life Performance Award!), And thank you for your contribution to video games. Without your work, I would probably have become a marine biologist.

Rest in peace, Flash.  You did well.
Rest in peace, Flash. You did well.


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