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Blackflip


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ArtbegottiBlackflipDepending on your definition, black could be the absence of any light, while white is the presence of all light. But isn't it amazing how quickly, with the flip of a switch, black can become white?

Enough philosophy, let's discuss Blackflip, a remarkably well-produced Flash puzzle game and website inspired by the game Polarium, which was created by Michell Corp. and released for the Nintendo DS.

The goal of Blackflip is to flip the black and white tiles so that each row is the same color. It is not necessary to turn the entire puzzle into one color. To flip tiles, click and drag on the tiles to draw a single continuous path through the tiles you wish to flip. You have a small amount of gray border with which you can travel around the puzzle, if necessary. If your one path flips all tiles in a row to the same color, the victory is yours!

All levels are made and submitted by fellow Blackflip players, and are solvable in at least one way. Using the level creator, you can create a puzzle as large as 13 squares wide or high. But before you can submit any near-impossible hoo-haw, just remember that for a puzzle to be listed on the site, you have to prove it's beatable by being the first to solve it! As a bonus, you can link to your own puzzles on your website with the provided tags.

Blackflip, created by Flaboratorium, comes packaged in a very nice website with fun graphics and a music player built right into the experience. (Look to the bottom-left corner to change tracks and adjust volume.) With an ever-expanding menu of solvable puzzles, can you solve them all and become a Blackflip master?

Play Blackflip

30 Comments

Oh wow. I actually really like this (anybody who knows me on JIG knows I don't always favor puzzle games).

I think that what sets this apart is its great interface -- the menu is fun to scroll through and catch a glimpse of each puzzle, and scrolling over a puzzle's thumbnail brings up a very polished menu showing you the number of times users have completed, failed, and skipped that puzzle, along with a pie chart showing the percentage of total plays for each. Very aesthetic and smart, I really like it!

I have a couple of complaints. The load times are atrocious--I don't know why the game has to query the database even at the main menu when I'm not looking at puzzles. Maybe I don't know much about games, but this seems rather odd. Also, the drag interface is a little clunky, so if I try to move quickly (such as in a situation where I suddenly see a solution), the path will often twist off randomly and I'll have to retrace my steps.

Finally, and this is sort of an aside, but I am completely opposed to in-game advertisements, especially ones that require you to stare at some car for 10 seconds while locking all buttons on the game's interface. That's way too frustrating and doesn't make me want to purchase the product. I know games sometimes need sponsership but that's obnoxious.

These faults aside, I really am enjoying this and it will probably take over my life for a while.

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[F]laboratorium September 24, 2007 4:12 PM

Hi,
i just wanted to explain shortly why the games queries the database in the main menu. The rotating ring of puzzles is generated from the user submitted puzzles. so it always shows the latest 20 puzzles there. Well of course this is not really necessary, but i thought user might like to see their puzzle on the main menu. Therefore it queries the database.
Loading times may be slow next days, cause the server is on heavy load due to many visitors to this game, so please excuse that.
Well, i agree that this ad might be kind of a bummer, therefore it appears only once you play this game (without refreshing the page). sorry for that but this is my try to get some little reward for buying me cola and chips for the next coding nights. :D So far thanks for reviewing that game and your positive criticism!
have a nice day/week/whatever!

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The loading times are ludicrous, and the music stops and starts randomly. And the ads are horrible. Good gameplay, but everything else needs work.

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The First Door Author Profile Page September 24, 2007 4:35 PM

This is a very good implementation of Polarium, although, the DS game also has an amazingly hard mode where lines of white and black pieces drop down from the top, like in Tetris.

If you mouse the mouse too fast, it does lose track of your pointer, but that was prevalent in the DS game as well. However, if you just take it a little slower it is very well done.

The DS game allowed you to tap in one square, then another one in the same row or column and it would draw a line in between for you. That is the only thing which I miss in this game.

All in all, however, it is an amazingly well implemented game which I'm sure I'll spend a fair amount of time playing! Also, the music is really fitting for the puzzle game and is keeping me nicely upbeat when I can't see a solution at all!

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The loading times didn't bother me, the music did not stop randomly—in fact, it was so enjoyable that I let it play in the background most of the afternoon while I was doing other things—and having to endure the one ad was not "horrible" by any means. I think it's an infinitesimal price to pay for all the effort that went into creating the site for everyone's FREE enjoyment.

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The First Door Author Profile Page September 24, 2007 5:02 PM

The music has never stopped on me either and I do find it strangely addictive. There is one called 'Nintendo Rock' which is completely stuck in my subconscious!

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Im stuck on one called A neight. Has anyone else seen in and got it

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Michael Stanton September 24, 2007 6:36 PM

I've crafted a puzzle that you might find challenging. It's puzzle 196, or just click here.

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It's a nice game... I wish that it was columns instead of rows you had to fill... I think better in vertical. Maybe a rotate feature?

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I, too, was initially annoyed at the MochiAd that popped up, and thought it would pop up every. single. time I tried a new puzzle. It certainly turned me off to the game a bit.

Perhaps a "this MochiAd will only appear once" message will help assuage fears of an ad-ridden game?

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I love this game! The music - wow, what a perfect loop. It hasn't gotten repetitive yet! The gameplay is a load of fun, and the graphical presentation and pleasing sounds that go along with it accentuate the whole experience!

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I sort of understand Trixi; originally I thought that it would clear rows AND columns of single colors, but I guess that was considered too easy.

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The one thing I don't like is how you have to hold down the mouse button, my finger starts hurting after a while

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@ [F]laboratorium,
I'm afraid my criticism came too soon. I don't mind going through that ad once, as long as it doesn't happen every time. I therefore totally retract that criticism. While I'm still opposed to those kind of in-game ads, that one isn't horrible. I totally understand the desire to make some money from games (though personally I always kind of prefer unsponsored ones, they always seem to have a sort of genuine feel).
In any case, sorry about that! I still like the game a lot despite the load times.

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The load times are absolutely terrible.
I have a strong suspicion that this is due to a poor implementation. For example:
The zoom feature accesses the database just to zoom in or out. From a programming perpective, there is no need to re-access the database when zooming in (because you already have the data), and you only need to access new items when you zoom out (unless the database has changed since the last access).
Secondly, there is no reason the database access should be slow -- even on a low end server. The actual data that is needed to show a listing of say 15 games is very low. One game needs only around 300bytes of data, so 15 games would be under 5kb of data! -- that's including comments and the grid layout. (To give people some perspective, this jayisgames webpage is under 90kb without images!) From this small amount of data, the game can then generate all of the games and images client side. If things are being drawn server side, then that should be changed as that is a very, very bad way to do things (and is probably why it is slow).

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I don't think any drawing is being done on the server. Come on, this is Flash.

And I don't think it's very difficult to believe the server is being pounded right now with players, thus creating a delay as requests are queued (since servers have max connection limits).

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Shame that people keep submitting obnoxiously simple puzzles. Can't some of these be filtered, or voted, out?

(Kinetikai's puzzles are very good...)

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[f}laboratorium September 25, 2007 3:29 PM

Hi again!

Just to explain some things: Zooming accesses the server cause it will always "look" for new puzzles, even if you zoom in.. cause maybe you're looking at the very first NEW puzzle then...(because it was submitted newly). Of course there are no images "drawn" or saved on the server.. mostly everything in this game is done by the flash drawing api which works clientside. Well some things may have been better optimized i agree..but hey, this was my first attempt to create something multiuser like using mysql. so i dont care :D, looks like for most user it works very well.
Believe it or not, the server is really crowded right now, and it has high loads due to the soundtrack which is streamed to every user playing (not the database accesses). I uploaded a traffic chart from my server logs to show what i mean...
generated Traffic
have a nice day, and thanks to all the users who "donated" their nice puzzles to this game, cheers!

P.S. Soundtrack will be up for download in the next days..stay tuned!

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Might want to reconsider that "kidsafe" tag; there's often profanity in the comments and in the win/lose taglines on submitted puzzles.

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Thanks, James. You're right. Our standard practice is to apply a "pg13" tag to anything with a community contribution element to it, as this has.

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This game is absolutely awesome. Puzzles are challenging, great selection, good interface, good music. Well done

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My one complaint is that rating the difficulty... the descriptions equate easy with boring and bad. I like easy!

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i liked the music. the game concept itself is not really new, but it is still a fun little game

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Boston Gamer October 1, 2007 11:26 PM

Beautiful, wonderful game. Never played one like this before, and with user-generated puzzles, I can't even keep up! Music is great, interface and graphics are very slick.

The holding down of the mouse button is annoying though, especially on a laptop.

If you want to see the more interesting puzzles, just switch to the "Less Solved" or "Most Difficult" listings. Haven't found one I can't do yet (although some took nearly a full multi-tasking hour).

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The words "level editor" always draw me in, and this one was good. It it a very simple concept that allows for susprising complexity in execution. It's kind of like Tetris in a way, except... um... okay, it's not very much like Tetris, but it's equally simple and equally complex. What was I talking about? Oh yes.

I actually like the fact that you can submit any maze you want so long as you can demonstrate a solution. Yes, a lot of agonizingly simple ones get churned out that way, but I actually like that, it allows for some artistic expression and just plain goofiness as well. The one titled "Music" is way too easy, but it's a great idea for a puzzle.

The one drawback to this particular game is that it's hard to make puzzles under these rules that are medium difficulty, in other words they all end up either incredibly easy or really, really hard. But that's inevitable in many different types of puzzles.

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Thanks to this site's random recommendations listed below my favorites, I happened upon this game the day before Thanksgiving. Since then, I have become very hooked: There are 4000+ puzzles (and always growing) and by tomorrow I'll have done 25% which means I've been solving an average of at least 35 a day.
With my passion for the game a given, I still would like to tweak the program. I would like it if the search parameters were slightly more flexible. For example, I'd like to go directly to all the "J" titles without clicking through all the pages beginning with "A".
In the game itself, I'd like to be able to put my "ribbon" down and pull on the other end for those times I've misjudged the ideal starting point so that I don't have to start the whole puzzle over... That's a minor irritant though. The accessibility of the database is a bigger issue to me, because part of me is wondering whether I can do them all.... I originally told myself I could stop at 15%, then 20%.... Now I'm acknowledging that I'm addicted to the game.
Here's a shout-out to Sylocat: Your puzzles are consistently good to great, and I've really enjoyed our quirky conversations.

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Ah, I love this game. I found it around the day it came out, and made quite a few of the more difficult puzzles then. Since then, I stopped playing for a while, but have recently come back. I'm still a bit rusty, but its still a great site.

It got a lot of work for updates and such when it first came out, but has since lost his/her interest I think, with no new updates in a very long while... oh well, it has all it needs for now, so to all, happy puzzling!

P.S. Feel free to try some of the puzzles I made, I have some very tricky ones...

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What, seriously? Every time you lose you are told "You Suck"? Get real. For such a creative game, that is completely unacceptable.

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@ dsrtrosy

No, you do not always get the "you suck" message when you fail to complete a puzzle. All of the puzzles on the site are created using the puzzle creator, which allows users to make their own puzzles. When a puzzle is made, the creator gets to name the puzzle, and choose a win/fai lmessage for that puzzle. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't want to bother, so they just leave it at the default messages of "you suck"(failing) or "you rock (for solving).

As well as some of the peopel who create puzzles on the german versions of the site will have german win lose message... that's always fun : )

"Gersafft, ver gut" or something like that.

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Cassie! :D April 12, 2008 4:55 PM

Omg!!! I REALLY need help! I don't understand how to do dotd >.< and for a lot of levels they are necessary

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