The world of gaming is vast, encompassing far more than just the famed AAA titles. Sure, in the mainstream market we have #Overwatch, The Last Guardian, The Legend of Zelda, #Battlefield and so much more, but there are also a lot of underground hits. I'm talking about games like #Undertale, Five Nights at Freddy's — games that were made by independent developers, released online, and became a sensation without the resources that larger game developers have.
These #indiegames are all great in their own way, and also have their pros and cons. But let's throw it back a decade or so, to a time when independent projects were difficult to come by. There were console games, like those produced by #Nintendo, #Sony and #Microsoft, but for those of us back then who were just browsing the internet, bored out of our minds, there were indie browser games.
Some of these games, hosted on websites such as Armor Games, Addicting Games or Newgrounds, were a huge part of my childhood. Some of them become apps, such as Kingdom Rush and GemCraft, while others gained cult followings, such as Clicker Heroes. There's mountains of such browser games, so let's talk about the most memorable ones. There are many genres, and to keep the list varied, any one genre will only appear once. With that out of the way, let's get to it!
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5. :The Game: Series
If I had to choose an online game to represent the internet as a whole, it would be this one. Pointless name aside, what appears to be a series about being stuck on a grass platform — and moving on to the next level by falling off to your death — ends up being one of the most memetic, pop-culture parodying, just straight-up weird game series of all time. Released from 2008–2011, :the game: trilogy took a satirical look at real-life concepts and happenings, ranging from Communism and the so-called 2012 Mayan Apocalypse, to Lady Gaga's meat dress and Edward Cullen being a sparkly magnet for adolescent girls.
It's stupidly random, gory, and almost certainly a waste of your time. But man, what a great way to waste your time. The concepts, mini games and absurdity vary greatly across each game, held together only by the inclusion of a relatively simple character design that's used for everyone. However, as stupid as :the game: might seem at times, it's a rather smart kind of stupid.
Across the three games, nothing gets old. It remains clever, and quite honestly has to be one of the most creative things I've ever seen on the internet. If you've got an hour or two to spare, I recommend you check the series out. You can play the first one here, Replay :the game: here, and Reimagine :the game: here.
4. Rebuild Series
Of course there's a plethora of zombie games on the internet, with the likes of The Last Stand, #Boxhead, Infectonator and Road of the Dead being great games in their own right. Rebuild takes the concept of a #zombieapocalypse and gives it a far more strategic twist. Rather than having to scavenge for supplies, shooting up zombies left and right, the Rebuild series focuses on the construction of a whole new civilization, starting with just a few city blocks, with all the challenges that entails. You assign people to scrounge for food, defend your borders, clean out blocks, and try your hardest to make the community self-sustaining.
Rebuild offers a surprising amount of depth. Every character you encounter is important, and every single one of their skill sets is useful. Balancing morale, food supply, expansion and manpower can be moderately challenging to near impossible. However, the sense of accomplishment you get from managing your new society cannot be understated; watching it grow from a struggling four-block radius to a straight-up self-sustaining city is immensely satisfying.
Between dealing with sporadic zombie attacks, rogue gangs, traders, food shortages, lack of morale and unexplored locations, Rebuild is a game you could easily spend hours on. At its easiest, an interesting story is built, at it's most challenging, a game that surpasses the hardest Fire Emblem campaign in terms of difficulty. Try it for yourself by clicking this link!
3. Sonny Series
On the Web you'll find #RPGs of varying quality. Some are intriguing, but with ultimately no personality or charm. While others, despite being technically solid, just don't have enough content to keep you engaged. Then you have Sonny, a turn-based strategy RPG that, despite being more than eight years old, stands out for its charisma, quality and depth.
The plot goes something like this: You're a zombie. Well, not in the traditional sense. You've died, you should be decaying, but you're not. Your body's still walking, you're still talking, your thoughts are still your own. Confused and disoriented, you begin your quest in the hopes of discovering what is going on in this world, and what your zombie condition has to do with it.
Sonny, and its sequel Sonny 2, are without a doubt some of the most engaging online RPGs. The complex gameplay, voice acting, music, and characters all come together to create an experience that makes the game something special. It certainly shows its age at points, but that doesn't detract at all from its uniqueness. If you've got some time on your hands — maybe over the long winter break — then give it a try!
2. One Chance
There are many games that aim to share political and philosophical ideas, but out of all of them, none stands out more than One Chance. The premise is the world is going to end in six days and you have just one chance to escape certain death. A cure gone wrong, leading to the deterioration of all physical matter on Earth, and only you, the scientist responsible, can find a cure. What will you do?
Although a very simple game, it showcases what makes many indie browsers so great. The simplistic art style emphasizes the emotional moments so well because of the directness. All the details are there, with small things becoming so emphasized over the course of six days thanks to the simplicity of the game. Couple this with a haunting, atmospheric soundtrack and a game that legitimately, honestly, only gives you one chance to get it right, and you've got one of the most emotional browser games on the internet — one that you can experience for yourself in barely an hour.
1. Strike Force Heroes 2
To round out yet another genre you can find on the internet, you have #shooter games. Normally played from a 2D perspective — although you can find the rare 3D one — most online shooters tend to be popular. You've got Raze, the Thing-Thing series, Madness Combat and far more, but the cream of the crop has got to be Strike Force Heroes 2.
Its campaign is extremely simple. As a newbie joining the Strike Force Heroes, you're tasked with taking down an evil organization bent on destroying the world. Make no mistake, it's a browser game. The plot is corny, the voice acting is decent at best, and the animations are rather simple.
But Strike Force Heroes 2 makes up for the lackluster elements by offering some of the smoothest, easiest 2D shooter gameplay, being unashamedly memetic, and providing a multitude of classes, guns, missions, and difficulties to toy around with. Honestly, I'm not sure how much justice I can do in describing it.
Its music is intense and surprisingly good, its graphics are adequate, and in terms of content and replayability? Man, Strike Force Heroes 2 is one of the best browser games around.
You could easily waste hours and hours on this game. I have. That being said, if you'd like to try the game out, here's a link!
If I've missed any games that should be on this list (which I definitely have — the internet's a freakin' gold mine), please feel free to share! Do you have any favorite online browser games that you know of, or is this world entirely new to you? Comment below!