Successful Flash Games And Office Boredom (or Why You Should Know Your Audience)

Successful Flash Games And Office Boredom (or Why You Should Know Your Audience)

When it comes to online Flash games, or any games for that matter, you have to understand your audience. What’s enjoyable to a 12 year old girl might be different from what’s appealing to a 32 year old male. I have been involved with the creation of a Flash games website where the visitors are mostly male between 20 and 35. Apparently a lot of these visitors play while at work. With this audience, I’ve found that often the simplest games are the most popular.

I have to admit that I wasn’t initially thinking about the website visitors. Some of the games on that website are action games with pretty sophisticated game play (for a Flash game, at least). They are similar in graphics and game play to the old Nintendo games I used to play. I was impressed when I first saw them. I thought for sure they would be the most popular games on the site.

I should have noticed right away that, while I thought these games were cool, I didn’t want to take the time to learn how to play them. Some of them involved tutorial levels to show you how to do everything, and this was a little more commitment than I wanted.

It later occurred to me that my website visitors may be just like me in that regard. Many of them are playing at work, or in between other tasks at home. They don’t want to get really involved with a game. It’s just a way to take a quick break.

With this in mind, the key factors in the most popular games on this site seem to be:

1. Simplicity

The game should be simple to play, and it should only take a few moments to learn how to play it. If the learning curve takes more than a minute, it’s too much commitment.

2. Instant Feedback

The games that rise to the top are games where you get instant feedback. For example, one of the most popular games involves throwing a piece of paper into a trash can. Yes, it sounds mindlessly simple, but there is a certain satisfaction to seeing that paper go into the basket. You know right away that you are successful when it goes in.

3. You can always do better

The game should challenge the player to always do better than the last time. In the throwing paper game, it keeps track of how many consecutive times you’ve thrown the paper into the basket. It leaves you always wanting to beat your last high score. If you reach a level of completion where you can’t get a higher score, there’s not much incentive to play the game any more.

These are the factors for success that I have observed in the Flash games site that I’ve been involved with. The case may be very different with another type of game site. Hardcore gamers will probably want more challenge and complexity, so that the game does not become dull after hours of game play. In the end, it all revolves around understanding your visitors.