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It usually goes without saying that most people are quite resistant to change. Thus, it was no surprise that the recent amount of "cross platform" games released by Nitrome were met with a somewhat negative response.

Most people's responses to that are, "just deal with it." "Nitrome needs to make money to stay alive, etc." And of course, those are viable reasons. Having said some of these things myself though, I realised that I haven't really put a lot of time into trying to play a cross platform Nitrome game on browser. For me, it was just more convenient to use my mobile device; I could play pretty much anywhere and anytime I wanted. I had a few complaints about the Unity games that went outside the "it doesn't work in Chrome" points.

However, playing Green Ninja, a thought just occurred to me that I really didn't like playing it in a browser. Don't get me wrong; I love the mobile version, but upon playing the game in a browser, it became obvious to me that the game was clearly meant for a mobile device and the browser version was just kind of an afterthought. That is to say, the browser version still very much handles itself like a mobile game and not so much a browser game. That, to me, does ruin the illusion of having a game that is tailored to work across all platforms. It could possibly contribute to the reason why the idea of going cross platform is unappealing to the browser game fans (though not the sole reason of course).

Anywho, have some 1-in-the-morning thoughts about some things I personally think make the browser versions of cross platform games not work as well as they do on a mobile device.

The music doesn't stop when the game loses focus

This doesn't necessarily mean when switching tabs, since that seems to keep the music playing in Firefox, but the moment the game is minimised, the music just pauses. Part of what I loved to do with Nitrome Flash games is load the game and let the music play, and like loop...forever. Maybe that doesn't apply to everyone. I don't know. But games like Meowgical Tower allow you to keep playing the music even after minimising the browser window, so I guess it's possible. Also Nitrome has the buttons to toggle music and sounds on and off, so even if the music was to keep running in the background, it wouldn't have been the hugest deal.

More keyboard support

It seems as though a few touch functions are replaced with mouse functions. If a game was purely mouse based, this isn't really bothersome for the most part because your hand stays on the mouse the entire time. But thinking of the way these "mobile-to-browser" games are presented in terms of level screens and stuff, the functionality suddenly doesn't work that well. I noticed that pressing the spacebar at the start screen of Green Ninja allows you to advance to the level select screen, and the left and right arrow keys can scroll the map. But wouldn't it be nice if the game was entirely keyboard based such that you can use the arrow keys to select an option on the level select map and then press Enter/spacebar to select that level? (Granted, previous Flash games, even with keyboard controls always required mouse inputs on their menus, but something about the presentation of mobile game menu screens suggests that there needs to be a better adaptation of the controls that would be better suited to the simple mobile menu interface.)

Better handling of the game's resolution

The graphics in Green Ninja browser version, for example, are weird. The resolution is strange and narrow. The colours look off. Slanted lines look really jagged. Perhaps it's just my mobile device's retina display, but Nitrome's graphics in browser games have pretty much always looked stunning. It's just strange how their cross-platform games don't seem to carry over too well into browse. To me, the colours seem dulled out in games such as Cooped Up.

Secondly, the game is put into a screen bigger than itself, which results in black bars being put on the sides of the screen to compensate. Why is that? The black bars just add to the illusion that the game was just some port from a mobile game - which yes, that's what it is - but that's not a good thing for players who go to Nitrome to play browser games and don't have a mobile device compatible with these games. And Nitrome can make screens that would allow the "Game" module on the page to fit within the game container itself (I feel like Green Ninja almost has a Dirk Valentine sort of resolution.) If Nitrome was able to get rid of the black bars and maybe even like add a little more width to portrait oriented games, then the resolution could at least feel more like a browser game and not so much a mobile-to-browser game. Know what I mean? Yeah, I didn't think so.

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