Are Popular Mobile Games Just Clones Of Flash Games From Decades Past?

By Tim Frank Anderson

Mobile games are quickly becoming some of the most popular games available today. Millions of people use their smartphones and tablets to play games more so than they do to send text messages and make phone calls! Mobile games are hugely popular due to their accessibility, and the fact that you can play them “on the go”. You might be sitting on the train, for example, traveling to work – in years past, you would have to sit in silence, but now you can whip out your mobile and play on Candy Crush for half an hour instead!


Screenshot from Candy Crush

In the early days of mobile and browser gaming, the majority of titles were created using Adobe Flash (or Macromedia Flash for those who can remember!). For its time Flash was a fantastic leap in technology and it helped create some memorable titles. Today, however, the popularity of Flash has waned and HTML5 technology has instead become the preferred choice. HTML5 is dynamic and can be used on a wide range of devices – many games that you play today on your smartphone or desktop browser will use HTML5.


Look familiar? This is Bejeweled. It’s like Candy Crush but with gems…

So are these HTML5 games you play today original and unique? Unfortunately not! You may think that titles such as Candy Crush and Angry Birds were created from scratch, but in reality, these games emulate the gameplay and mechanics of titles that were released decades ago. If you analyze the mobile browser game industry and look at game releases over the years, you can see that ideas and genres have been used time and time again and that most modern titles will have an older Flash counterpart.

If we look at the games mentioned above – Candy Crush and Angry Birds, we can actually see that these two titles simply take concepts from two old but hugely popular flash games – Bejeweled and Crush the Castle. Bejeweled was the original “match three” game in which players had to successfully match three colored gems to remove them from the playing field – this game was released in 2001! Furthermore, Crush the Castle was a medieval themed destroyer game that was released in 2009. This process of using old flash titles for inspiration has been used time and time again – developers can simply use an existing game idea, create new graphics, characters, and storyline and create a brand new title with minimal effort.


Look Familiar? This is Crush the Castle


It is easy to see why developers choose to do this – it is much easier to simply re-imagine an existing idea as opposed to devoting time to creating something from scratch. Drafting an original concept and a unique idea is extremely time-consuming and costly – by borrowing ideas from an older game, developers can create new and exciting titles for much less expense. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that a new concept will be a success – by re-imagining an existing title, you know there is an audience and that your game will be well-received.

Despite this fact, new mobile games released today continue to excite and enthrall us – developers continue to create fantastic end-products that keep us glued to our screens for hours on end. The future of mobile gaming certainly looks promising, and if developers continue to re-imagine old titles, we are guaranteed a heap of fun with a dash of nostalgia thrown in for good measure!

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