The Travesty of Flash Game Packs

20 12 2007

flashgames2.jpg

What’s a flash game pack? Well, typically it’s a zip file that consists of anywhere between 1000-3000, ranging from $30 – $100 in price. It consists of a selection of freely distributed flash games, many of which are free to download on other sites if you can be bothered hunting for them.

Once you’ve picked your games pack, you download the swf files and thumbnail images, upload them to your server, paste the Mysql code into your database and voila! You now have an arcade script full of games. Pretty straight forward right? Wrong.

There are so many pitfalls in acquiring game packs that it’s almost worth hunting down individual games and building your own pack from scratch. Ok doing that and reaching 3000 games could take you more than a year’s work, but at least you can assert a minimum of quality control over your choices. To break down the argument of why flash game packs are in my opinion a web travesty, here’s a list of problems that I’ve encountered first hand after purchasing 3 different game packs (note that one of those was bundled with an arcade script):

1. What’s on the lid is not what’s in the box.

2. At least 10% of games are either duplicates or dysfunctional.

3. At least 50% of games are sub-standard quality – meaning you or I wouldn’t go near them with a barge pole.

4. Random titling of SWF files and thumbnail images.

5. Thumbnail images are all too often indiscernible.

6. Many of the games are available for free on other sites and have been distributed under licensing that stipulates a non-profit agreement.

7. Rarely is any notion of copyright upheld by the game pack distributor, making monetized distribution of game packs a highly questionable practice.

8. Downloading and uploading 3000 games can take the best part of a day.

9. Using these game packs on your arcade does not guarantee success for your arcade. I suspect that if anything it has a negative impact because it establishes sub-standard quality across your arcade web site.

                So what’s the solution? Well obviously there isn’t just one solution, but there are a number of steps webmasters can take to raise standards across the industry. First of all only buy game packs that are itemized, with an inventory that allows you to get a clear overview of what you’re buying. The less people buy crap, the less crap will be marketed for profit.

                Secondly, if you are thinking of launching your own games pack, start as you mean to go on by making sure that all the games are subject to proper licensing agreements and that all games are in working order and adhere to the basic quality guidelines that come with common sense. Advertise your games pack with a quality disclaimer.

                The third strategy has already been mentioned: make your own games pack from freely distributed games. This is something I have been doing myself. I’m at about 200 games now and I have in mind to release it for free when it gets to 500. I have some basic knowledge of licensing agreements for the distribution of flash games, but if anyone has any ‘official’ or more extensive information on this I would be grateful if you could post it in a comment here or contact me through the contact form. Also, let me know what your experience with game packs has been. What changes would you make? It’s always a pleasure to hear from readers.

                Visit FingerMonkey.net for some free flash gamer madness!

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                3 responses

                21 12 2007
                Justin

                I would also recommend that if you do go the route of game packs to make sure you change the default game descriptions. The reason for this is that everyone who installs the game packs will have the same descriptions and therefore may be subject to a duplicate content penalty from the search engines.

                21 12 2007
                fingermonkey

                Thanks for pointing that out Justin. It’s definitely something I would have overlooked.

                27 04 2008
                jamie

                Yeah, nice point, i think ive done pretty well though with my site 🙂

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