Should you have thousands of flash games on your site?

houstonlively posted 6th of January 2011 in Community Voice. 6 comments.

I could make this a very short blog, by simply saying 'No', but then everyone would want to know why.  A quick look in the Market will unveil several flash game addons for your Dolphin site.  You know you want a game addon, but which one do you choose.  There's one that gives you the possibility of having over 40,000 games, and a few that are in the mere thousands.   More is better... right?


Wrong.  After running an arcade game site since 2007, nothing can be farther from the truth.  On my game site, I have the option of adding about 8,000 games if I chose to do so.  I have about 600.  Most of the members really like the site over many other sites that are running the exact same arcade system and have most of the same games as I do.  In fact, most other site have thousands more games than I do.  My members have all told me the exact same thing, when I ask them why they don't like the other sites as much as they like mine.  They can't stand wading through a sea of games that flat out suck, in order to find the good ones.  On my game site, I have added the games one at a time, only after personally playing each one of them.  Over the years, I have played a lot of the other 7,500 + games.  Some of them, I couldn't get past the opening screen, others held my interest.  Of the tens of thousands of flash games available, I can say from a combination of experience and mathematical probability, that at least 90% of those games, flat out suck, and will never get played, if you add them to your site.  They just add clutter.  They are background noise that nobody wants to listen to.  Don't be awed by the number of games an arcade system offers.  More is definitely not better.


So what makes a good arcade system?  First, and most importantly, the arcade system must have a score keeping system.  No one wants to play games, if their amazing high score isn't recorded.  A good arcade system will encourage competition between players, and will also encourage the players to invite their friends to your site.  If you take away the Dolphin 7 Game addons that do not have a scoring system, only two are left.  One is called 'Flash Games Mod with Highscores and Challenges", and the other is 'Game Zone'.  Of those two, I found 'Game Zone' to be the most promising.   What turns me off about the 'Flash Games Mod with Highscores and Challenges' addon, is the advertising that is pushed to the beginning of every game.  I can say with 100% certainty, that flash games proliferated with advertising, will be a  big turn-off to most arcade users.  Personally, I find it annoying as hell.  It makes me want to click the browser's back button.  I am always amused how the purveyors of products that are drenched in advertising, use that as a selling point, when I know for a fact, that the end users of the product will be extremely annoyed.  Mochiad games are a fine example of this philosophy.

As I said, I found 'Game Zone' to hold the most promise.  Game Zone is not perfect though.  What appeals most to me about Game Zone, is that it uses games that were designed for the popular Ibproarcade systems.  Ibproarcade, is an arcade addon that rose to fame as an addon for vBulletin and Invision Power Board.  All of the flash games used by Game Zone, were originally designed for use with these systems.  There are around 10,000 flash games that have been converted for use with ibproarcade compatible systems.  More than 90% of those aren't worth having, for various reasons.  Game Zone works with the first generation of ibproarcade games, commonly known as V2 games by ibproarcade game coders.  To convert a flash game for use with ibproarcade, requires a few simple edits to the flash file, where some of the action script is replaced, to change the way score submission works.

V2 games, over the years, became known for being susceptible to hacking or cheating.  There were several tools developed just for this purpose, where before the score is sent from the client computer to the server, it can be intercepted and modified.  I have never had a big problem with this on my own game site.  Every time I suspected someone did this, I took the appropriate action.  Sometimes, score submission on V2 games can 'glitch'.  This typically happens when a user has two different V2 games opens in two different browser tabs.  Sometimes, submitting the score from  one game, will submit the score to the wrong game.  When it happens, it it usually quite noticeable, and all you have to do, is delete the score.  It's not a big problem, and not something you should worry about, if you're using the Game Zone mod.   It is however, quite relevant, as you will soon see.

To virtually eliminate the possibility of cheating, and erroneous scores being submitted, the ibbproarcade game coders developed a new way of converting games for use with ibproarcade.  This second generation of more secure games, is known as V32 games.  V32 games, rather than just submitting a score to the server, implement a bit of handshaking that must take place within a very short period of time, in order for the score to be submitted.  It is virtually impossible to tamper with the V32 score submission process.  Most new flash games that have been converted for use with ibproarcade over the last five years, are V32 games.  Therein lies the biggest problem with Game Zone.  It can't use any of the newest V32 games, and there are some really good ones.  If you try to add a V32 game to Game Zone, it will play just fine, but when it comes time to submit the score, it won't happen due to the handshaking that must happen, but isn't built into Game Zone.

If Game Zone supported V32 games, it would be just about perfect. I sent a PM to the Game Zone dev, that outlined this issue.  Hopefully the Game Zone mod can be modified to accept scores from V32games.  I don't think a lot of changes are required, and there are some good how-to article on the subject.  I'll dig up some links to relevant info and post them soon.




Since posting this, I have successfully modified 'Game Zone' to accept scores from V32 games.  I can't post the code modification here, since it involves a paid mod, but I'd be happy to share it with the developer.  One of the best sites to download individual ibproarcade compatible games, is You'll be limited to one download per day, until you contribute content to the site.  Visit that site to find out what games you are missing out on.


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Wow, this was really interesting.

I have been thinking about upgrading to one of these better game scripts for a while now, but I wasn't sure which one to go for. This post certainly persuaded me, although I had to read it over twice to make sure I understood everything (and I'm still not sure I do). Please keep us posted here if this developer does add your modifications to make it accept scores from V32 games. Thanks!
You can check out a few of the V32 games I added here:

My hack for accepting V32 scoring, is just 2 lines of code. I also fixed the two column featured games page. With a few fixes, the mod is indeed close to perfect. I would like to see a few more admin functions added also.
After using the Game Zone mod for several weeks, I have to report that it is a chaotic mess. There are chunks of code missing, The comment system is quite buggy. There are some significant css issues. Language keys are mixed with hard coded text strings. The game edit feature really needs to include settings for game width and height... currently the only way to do this, is directly editing the DB after you've located a single game amongst 4000+. How all this goes unnoticed by the dev and all see more the users of this mod, is not something I can comprehend at the moment.

On the bright side, game play works OK.
I want to add just one game to my website, as my website is geared towards music, I want to add the game ROCK STAR.... anyone know how I can go about doing this? - The game was a short lived hit on MySpace before myspace took a dump... NO, I don't think that the demise of MySpace was the fault Rock Star, but probably just the opposite.

Any help?
Below is the legacy version of the Boonex site, maintained for Dolphin.Pro 7.x support.
The new Dolphin solution is powered by UNA Community Management System.