I've got a lot of work ahead of me...

Shawn Tanner @Afro-Ninja

Age 38

Game Developer


Joined on 3/2/02

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H-hey guys. It's been a while, huh?

A couple days ago @mike messaged me to let me know that my first game, Escape From Elm Street, was now fully functional in Ruffle. If you haven't been following the development of ruffle, it's an amazing flash emulator developed by mike and a number of talented contributors:


You've probably already seen a number of games and animations running right here on Newgrounds with it, even if you didn't realize it explicitly. Ruffle was able to get flash animations up and running pretty quickly, but anything involving actionscript was tough due to... well, a number of factors. A lot of actionscript is loose and inconsistent behind the scenes, and the way in which it can mix with the flash timeline makes it very complicated. I browsed the ruffle source and for a short period of time considered trying to contribute, but I found myself in over my head almost immediately. So I figured I'd leave it to the experts.

Anyway, mike messages me and I go play my old game for nostalgia's sake. The surreal part is that it functions IDENTICAL to the original flash version. Every janky 12 fps animation is in sync, all the sound effects where they should be, every line of code that keeps parts of the scenery hidden until they are needed. Even the text input boxes, which mike informed me was something they recently fixed (hence him notifying me)

With the insanity of 2020 I keep forgetting that flash "dies" at the end of the year. We'll always have access to offline flash player tools of course, but the removal of the plugin means nobody is going to go out of their way to play an ancient, terrible game like "Escape From Elm Street."

It made me feel guilty because I kind of just accepted that all of this content was destined to be forgotten. All of these old games and animations that consumed my teenage and young adult years. The entire basis of my own website, afro-ninja.com. Everything that, in one way or another, is the reason that I'm still able to work independently in games today.

Today is a bit different of course. Web games were my lifeblood. But If you take a look at my Newgrounds profile you can see a steady decline of new submissions, ending in 2017. When flash games exploded you could make good money from ads, sponsorship deals, and other arrangements. I was fortunate to be able to make that my career. But as the viability of web games changed, so did my career with it. Today I work in the mobile and (hopefully soon) console space, which doesn't leave me much time to work on web games anymore. Even if I do create something for the web it just ends up being a demo for something I've already released elsewhere (See: Soda Dungeon lite). Hell, I don't even have a copy of flash installed on my current work PC.

I've really enjoyed watching the recent success of Friday Night Funkin from @ninjamuffin99 and his crew. It reminds me of the time when all that mattered was chasing down those daily and weekly awards. The community support here is greater than ever and it's really motivating to see it in action. I'm not sure when I'll be able to make a web game again. But when I do, I hope I can still channel the spirit of small, scrappy, and fun.

The flipside to all of this of course is that my career path over the years HAS afforded me new and unique opportunities. Even before Newgrounds the thing I wanted to make more than anything else was an honest, sit down with a god damn controller in your hands, console game. I'm closer now more than ever to being able to make that happen. While I'd love nothing more than to take a break and crank on a game jam for a month, I'm also compelled to push full steam ahead on other projects now that I see a clear path. And in all fairness, that's not really something I can complain about.

But I'll be back for my daily awards eventually, @tomfulp


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