Listen, I’ve not neglected Tunnels of Doom out of some sort of vengeance. There is no animosity here. What happened is this: I found Kongregate and while before I would fire up Tunnels’ visual editor while I was away from my games as a means to remain connected to their sweet time-passing juice even when I lacked physical access to the fruit, I suddenly found myself in a position of either playing the games that occupied my mind or writing about them. Access and longing had forged a state of quantum superposition with a principle Einstein had not forseen: That when two states of a system overlap, other dependent systems collapse.
Actually, Einstein may have already talked about that. I’m not really a physicist, I’m just a gamer.
Ahem. Kongregate. Listen, Flash games are hardly new. Sites that feature a bunch of Flash games are established bedrocks of the online tapestry. And closed systems of imaginary rewards especially as relates to electronic games are also hardly unheard of. But Kongregate’s combination of a meta-game points system, user-submitted games and variety of titles makes it singularly compelling. Combine an accessible form of my favorite distraction, add an established addiction hook (see my year-long infatuation with XBLA Gamerscore points for reference) and add water. What sprouts, leafy and full, is a mind-gripping lock on my attention.
It would be one thing if the site contained just one or two games I liked. But the dangerous combination of tower defense titles, surprisingly rich old-school dungeon crawlers, strategic turn-based combat games, clever puzzle titles the likes of which you will never find on any PlayStation-branded device and the maliciously clever collectible card game tied closely to the already hostile points system and you have a place I can spend hours. And hours.
It’s not that Kongregate has no flaws, it certainly does. A plenteous selection of tower-defense variants and cookie-cutter platformers gives the site a certain redundancy and as cool as the collectible card game (Kongai) is in theory it’s implementation is by turns overwrought and too simplistic. But as something to do in lieu of make-myself-look-busy work and as a competitor with writing for my browser-time, it does it’s job well.