- Via firstly Kim Pallister and secondly Jim Greer comes a fascinating post by the creator of 'Generic Defense Game', a free Flash game that's currently available on Kongregate.com, and is spectacularly popular.

The premise that creator PsychoGoldfish started with is fascinating: "The experiment was to create a game in a genre that has been completely over-saturated with carbon copy games, and distribute it to see how much money and popularity I could exploit from it. I wanted a game that would both mock this type of game, but would also make no pretenses at being original in any way. And so the concept of ‘generic’ defense game was born."

And it was scarily successful - a front page Digg, featured on all the major casual Flash game sites, etc. But PsychoGoldfish is worried about what his experiment shows: "Today, everyone from high-school kids to seasoned veterans, are whipping off generic games (not just in the defense genre) because the big commercial sites will dish out $500 or so, for pretty much anything that works (and even some things that don’t)."

He continues: "The casual players tend to stick to these commercialized sites, because they brand all the games they sponsor to the degree that the players feel these sites are where all the games are coming from. For many casual players… these are the only sites they check for new games. This is great for these sites, as they build strong user bases, and stronger revenue streams. This is good for the developers because they can earn sponsorships without having to put fourth a great deal of effort. This is bad for the industry because the quality content is being buried by the quantity content."

Interestingly, PsychoGoldfish compares the current situation to the death of the Atari in the early '80s - allegedly overwhelmed by a gigantic batch of mediocre titles - and charges: "This experiment has completely validated that it pays more to make a bunch of generic games, then it does to push the envelope."

Of course, it's interesting that the Defense genre, for which there are now a whole heap of games, was directly 'inspired' by an existing Warcraft III mod, which itself had progenitors in Starcraft, I've been told - others may have a better lineage that this. Whatever the case, Defense games are the equivalent of the new Diner Dash for the free Flash-game community, and it's startling to see the results, with clones being so darn easy to make.