Want to play something a little bit different? Then how does a Flash-based retro-themed massively multiplayer cooperative bullet hell shooter sound? Interested? Read on.
Independent developers Spry Fox and Wildshadow Studios launched a curious-sounding MMO today. Named Realm of the Mad God, Spry Fox CEO David Edery describes it as a "massively cooperative bullet hell shooter" in a lengthy blog post explaining the game and the thinking behind it.
"It was an opportunity for us to stop talking about the potential of niche markets on the Web and start actually exploring that potential," Edery writes. "The 'long tail,' as Chris Anderson initially presented it, is an over-hyped and tremendously misunderstood phenomenon; but I've also frequently said that if there's anywhere the long tail could potentially benefit game developers, its massive and open platforms, aka the Web and, to a lesser extent, big proprietary platforms within the Web like Facebook."
The "long tail" Edery alludes to is a complicated-sounding statistical theory that you can read all about on Wikipedia if you're so inclined. An Amazon employee reportedly simplified it thus: "We sold more books today that didn't sell at all yesterday than we sold today of all the books that did sell yesterday."
Confused? Let Edery explain how this relates to Realm of the Mad God:
"RotMG is a game that will never achieve anything close to the active user population of a game like Cityville of Bejeweled Blitz," he continues. "But a game like RotMG doesn't need to. We can reach many millions of potential players via web game portals like the Chrome Web Store. If we can convert just 40k of those people to recurring visitors, we can make a healthy profit. And we can hopefully maintain that community for many years to come, because there's nothing like RotMG on the market as of now.
"I would never even dream of attempting to launch a game like this on XBLA and PSN or even iOS/Android, with their comparitively much larger audiences. A game like this simply isn't going to appeal to most people who play it, no matter how well-designed the game may be. And on the Web, that's entirely OK!"
Realm of the Mad God is free to play, Flash-based, runs in your browser and even has a Chrome Web Store app for easy access. Featuring a super-pixelated aesthetic similar to Jason Rohrer's work and Minecraft, bullet-hell gameplay with permadeath and no requirement to create an account to play, it's worth checking out. And you can do just that here.
This article originally appeared on GamePro.com as Realm of the Mad God
Copyright 2009 IDG Magazines Norge AS. All rights reserved
Postboks 9090 Grønland - 0133 OSLO / Telefon 22053000
Ansvarlig redaktør Henning Meese / Utviklingsansvarlig Ulf Helland / Salgsdirektør Tore Harald Pettersen