For the next few days I will be posting a countdown of the best Web games of 2004, from the perspective of this humble Web site. There were a lot of games posted here during 2004, too many for me to go through and count them all—I will leave that as an exercise for the reader. =)
Disclaimer: I do not profess to be an expert on anything, but I do know good gameplay when I experience it. Unfortunately, there just isn't enough time to play every game out there.
So, I want to thank everyone who helped make the selection a bit easier for me by voting for your favorite games. This countdown is as much your voice as it is my own, possibly even more so.
With that said, I also want to give a nod to all the fantastic Web games out there with which I have not yet been acquainted. You know who you are. I will hunt you down sooner or later and give you the praise you so rightly deserve.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for—ok, so maybe not, but play along with me, hmm?—Following are the games that did not quite make the Top 10 list this year, yet for one reason or another I feel they deserve more attention than they received...
PixelField: an action puzzle strategy game, this game shines from its intuitive gameplay, immersive physics, soothing soundtrack, and excellent replay value. The 3 red pixels that dangle and stretch as the base is moved around each level create a sensation in which you can almost feel the physics of the game. PixelField is one of my favorite Flash games ever, and one that I keep coming back to again and again. Click.
Saltacol: also an action puzzle strategy game, it became an instant favorite when I found it earlier this month. Saltacol features excellent level design and gameplay, and just finishing the game (or even a level) is such sweet success. Infinite lives allows you to keep trying, yet the level design ensures that you won't soon put this game down. Excellence in design, physics, graphics, and replay value. Flash games don't get much better than this. Click.
Bubbles: an action arcade game that excels in fun. This is one of those games that comes along every once in a while that you just know will be a classic the first time you play. And it's easy to see why: simple gameplay makes it accessible to anyone, awesome power-ups keep the pace frantic, and the arcade action keeps you coming back for more. Instant classic, major league fun. Click.
Warthog Launch: another action strategy game, and one with an explosive fun factor. And who doesn't like to blow things up once in a while? The best part is that Warthog Launch provides a gratifying stress-relieving experience allthewhile exercising the analytical portions of the brain. The sound effects alone make the experience worthwhile, and thus worthy of being included in this year's honorable mention. Click.
Mudcraft: a real-time strategy game created in Flash, and quite a remarkable accomplishment. And while this game offers familiar gameplay mechanics to anyone who has played any of the Blizzard *craft games, it offers a non-violent approach instead. And it works. Mudcraft features adorable mud people graphics and animation, voices, and a delightful soundtrack, packaged together with gameplay that is engaging and that will keep you busy for hours. Click.