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Donkin's World: Rob Donkin, Flash Game Developer

Richard Donkin tells of his games designing son, Rob, who is entertaining and challenging millions of Internet games players around the world.

Rob has been busy in his new job. Well it's not a job is it? It's what he does. He makes games you can find on the internet. They're all free to play and listed here on his new web site. http://www.robdonkin.com/

So how does he make a living? Web sites like this one pay him to advertise their sites on the front end of the games. Why do they do that? Well his most popular game to date, Panda, Tactical Sniper has had more than 10m plays. http://www.badviking.com/panda/

That figure is twice the audience for British television's most watched programme in the second week of September (the latest figures available at the time of this blog). Who Do You Think You Are? pulled in audience of 4.646m.

Advertisers are slowly waking up to the reach of these games but they're still just scratching the surface. One difficulty for advertisers is that many products are not looking for a global audience. A big chunk of the game plays on Rob's game comes from US and the demographic is mostly teenagers.

I cannot understand why more commercial interests have not explored the Flash Games medium, either in product placement within games or in commissioning custom-built games for their sites.

Some products do have games on their sites but most of them are pretty purile and unsophisticated, put together by in-house developers who don't have a clue about Flash Gaming. That's not to say the field has been entirely ignored.

My former employer, Pearson, heavily involved in the education market, has begun mining the potential of educational gaming in its site Poptropica http://www.poptropica.com/ which has added an educational bent to children's role-playing sites such as Club Penguin. http://www.clubpenguin.com/

These big sites involve big investment but as Rob explains here, it is possible to build a simple but stimulating flash game in a day. http://www.robdonkin.com/gearcopter/ But flash games shouldn't be dismissed as unsophisticated. The puzzles in The Dreamerz http://www.badviking.com/the-dreamerz/ are as involving as any you would find on Poptropica.

If you read Rob's blurb about himself you can see why big companies struggle to attract the best flash gamers. To work for someone else is to lose control over your own creativity. Rob says that's too high a price to pay - for now. http://www.robdonkin.com/about/


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