www.kongregate.com is revolutionizing the free online flash games environment. Now this is a website that any Joe Schmo(John Doe, Mr. Smith, the list goes on and on.) can upload is little flash game. Now this makes it seem like it would be an environment full of terrible three second flash games, like the YouTube of flash games. But this website breaks away from sites like www.addictinggames.com and www.armorgames.com with relatively simple yet revolutionary tactics.
1. Unlike YouTube there are other video upload sites where good directors can earn money for great content they submit. Kongregate uses this as one of their tactics to encourage developers to submit good games. Using advertising while each game is loading, Kongregate is able to share the revenue with developers. Each week, the Kongregate community rates the recently uploaded games and the highest rated game uploaded that week earns $250 and two runners up earn $150. Each month, the highest rated game uploaded that month earns $1500, and there is a much larger, spread out prize drawing ranging from $1000 for second and $250 for 5-9th. This encourages the really good designers to submit and to earn money. Now this doesn’t completely prevent people from uploaded crappy games but this does bring all the great games in to keep the content generally above average.
2. This website was able to create a constructive environment for developers to share ideas and skills and even partner up to create even better games. Kongregate is focusing on this aspect of their draw using left over advertising revenue. Kongregate has just recently sponsered their first flash game. What this means is their logo and a link to the site flashes up when the game loads to bring people into the site. The sponsering gives money to the developer up-front as a budgeting to make the game. Kongregate is building relationships with good developers to create some more great sponsered games. They are also taking an active role in the development of the game to help the main developer and to make the games even better. You may have seen this if you have played a game that said it was made by “Developer Name” + AddictingGames. This creates a constructive environment between Kongregate and the developers, and expands their user-base through the advertising.
*3.* The site is based around more than just playing the flash games. (MOST IMPORTANT) Now this seems confusing at first like there might be things that interupt your ability to play the games and enjoy them but it actually works the opposite way. When you sign up for an account you get a profile and a user level. Through playing the games you earn points which upgrade your user level. You can earn one point every time you rate a game from 1-5 encouraging the users to rate the games which helps the weekly and monthly competitions. You can also earn points through badges. Badges are special accomplishments you achieve in the game with which you earn a square badge in your display case next to your profile and they give you points based on the difficulty. They range from easy badges, for 5 points, to impossible badges, for 60 points. The system that Kongregate runs the games on allows for the badges to be automatically updated to your profile once you reach the point in-game. A message is displayed which says you earned the badge. These badges give bragging rights to the user who achieves a really hard goal and bragging rites to the users who are going for a really high level. You can also earn points for submitting games and getting good ratings which works as a popularity gage for how good the developer is, based on how high his level is.
They also have other systems for revolutionizing the gameplay. Each game loads with a chat panel attached to the side of it. This makes it possible to talk about the game you are playing with other users who are playing it at the same time, or with users who are playing something else but have played that game before and know what you are talking about. This is a great feature. It makes the gameplay more than just playing a flash game by yourself. Its like playing a flash game with your buddies, talking about the game or just about random stuff.
Another system they have introduced is a soon to be released, Kongregate Trading Card Game. Each week there are new game challenges that by reaching a goal in a certain game, similar to badges, you can earn cards to use once the TCG is published on the website. The better the card is, the harder the challenges become. Generally the challenges have more than one part so it is similar to collecting 2-3 badges but not getting badges or points but a card. The challenges also generally have a theme to bring people to new games they may not have played before because it is in a genre they don’t particularly like, even though they are great games.
I personally can’t wait for the TCG to come out and i constantly check back every day to see if there are new badges or any new challenges for cards. I also sometimes check the newer games to earn points on rating them. I am LordOtori, a level 6 with 3 collected cards so far. (I only started a few weeks ago and already it has made a huge impact on my flash gaming.) I hope you discover this site because of this review and I hope you are as immersed in it as I am.