Using WordPress to power a Flash Arcade

22 04 2008

This idea is still at a conceptual stage, but other people are already doing it so it’s not groundbreaking in any way. Feel free to pilfer the idea as you see fit. I’d love to hear from anyone working with WordPress and Games Arcades so please leave a comment and a link to your site where applicable.

WPCurrent flash arcade scripts are outdated, unscalable and come with a price tag. The sites they power all look the same, offer the same functions and all restrict users to passive game consumption. We’re now in a Web era where common users expect more interactivity with websites. Particularly important is the ability to leave your own mark on a site that you frequent on a regular basis. This is usually the territory of social networking sites where profile customisation is key.

AlienAlso important it the ability to contribute to a site. Part of the idea of ‘ownership’ is linked to the notion of ‘building’, whether that means sharing content with others, personalising your environment or uploading content such as videos, photos or music that reflect your personality. Think YouTube, Flickr and most recently MuxTape. Most casual users don’t have the time or impetus to build their own websites, but if the option is there and it’s simple enough, they will start to manipulate their environment and personalise it. In short, users want to transpose their personality onto a site.

Many of the large and successful social media sites realised early on that customisation was the key to a loyal audience. There are only a few cases where this has crossed over into the flash game industry. Doof is probably the best known example. Doof takes all the main social network elements and houses it a dynamic flash environment. The problem is that few people have the capital investment money that is required to build a project on the scale of Doof. And given that developers of game scripts from the ‘old guard’ are exploring web 2.0 territory, there is no middle market.

AlienSo that’s the context, now here’s the point: how can I, as an arcade webmaster, build an arcade that caters to a Web 2.0 audience? I am not a developer or a designer and I don’t have a budget. This is where we need to think outside the box for a moment and consider alternative platforms to power an arcade. I turn to WordPress because It’s a platform I’ve used since its inception in 2003. Until recently it has been technically difficult to embed flash games into a WordPress blog. Most people opted for parallel html pages that they’d link to on their WP blog. This was problematic because it means opening separate pages and losing part of your audience. But with the advent of a little piece of javascript called lightbox js and its many spin offs, there are now a number of WordPress plugins that will play flash videos and games in your browser without the need to navigate to a separate page.

WPAnother huge advantage of using WordPress to power an arcade is SEO. It is well known that google loves WordPress and its very easy to configure WordPress blogs to display pretty urls. WordPress also integrated tags in its core and there are a number of excellent SEO plugins that can drive your site up in the rankings in next to no time. WordPress also allows for user accounts and with a degree of tweaking you could implement a user game upload system, include profiles, cusomtisation elements, favourites and game ratings as well as other interactive elements to turn your WordPress blog into an exciting arcade site.

Needless to say that I will be trying out my own WordPress powered games arcade very soon. In fact and can officially state that it’s already in the pipeline. I’ve begun work on a new site and I’ll be posting information about it here soon. So stay tuned for more. Don’t forget to shout back if you already run a WordPress powered arcade, and even if you don’t you’re still welcome to leave a comment!

Visit FingerMonkey.net for some free flash gamer madness!

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3 responses

22 04 2008
how to download free mp3 music

[…] The FingerMonkey Flash Arcade Blog wrote an interesting post today on Using WordPress to power a Flash ArcadeHere’s a quick excerpt … whether that means sharing content with others, personalising your environment or uploading content such as videos, photos or music that reflect your personality…. […]

24 04 2008
Building a Wordpress games arcade Part 1 « The FingerMonkey Flash Arcade Blog

[…] platform, WordPress (WP), as the core for a flash arcade website. As I have mentioned before in a previous post, this is by no means a new concept, there are numerous examples of excellent WP powered games sites […]

28 04 2008
Deconstructing Arcade Classification « The FingerMonkey Flash Arcade Blog

[…] an answer to that, but based on these ideas I’ve come up with a working classification for my new WordPress powered arcade. For obvious reasons, I can’t tell you exactly how this will work […]

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