Fan Art: SirTapTap & Channel Background by Miranora

I’m shocked I never put these up on the site, but looking back I didn’t get a response about what information I should include as credit! These are from an OG fan Kayla AKA Minanora as they used to be known on Twitter (the account is since gone). These were made years before I had a site to put fan art on! About 2012, I believe, when I did my OFF playthrough.

These were close to the first fan art I ever got and from a close fan so they still mean a ton to me! I feel a bit bad since I know every artist hates their old art (even me, and I haven’t drawn since high school!), but I’d feel even worse not featuring heartfelt art that I got on my site!

Sir Tap Tap Fan art by Miranora, featuring The Batter from OFF, The Judge, Kirby, and a Pikmin

And this was my first Channel Art! If you look…not all that closely, you can tell that the style of text here was used by Klobstrocity for my current channel art.

@_miranora Sirtaptap channel art

See more fan art in the Fan Art Gallery and don’t be shy to send your submissions to my email ([email protected]) or share them in our Discord! I try to post all fan art I receive here as long as the artist is okay with it.

Fan Art: Sir TapTap vs AbyssRium Valentine’s Event 2018

ACK, I missed this one! (If I forget to post your fan art as a post here, please let me know!) This is a Tap Tap and Parker doodle by AmnesiaMoons from back in 2018 when the Tap Tap Fish AbyssRium Valentine’s event kind of…sucked.

Sir TapTap Fan Art by Amnesia Moons. Sir TapTap is spearing a Heart Fish, symbolizing the AbyssRium Valentine's event. Parker is here too, with flames in his eyes.
by Amnesia Moons

I had it in the Fan Art Gallery but somehow it missed having its own post, so here it is in all of it’s a n g e r y glory even if it’s a bit late for AbyssRium Valentine’s Day. Thanks as always Amnesia!

Continue reading “Fan Art: Sir TapTap vs AbyssRium Valentine’s Event 2018”

Will Flash Games Stop Working in 2021? Flash Shutdown & Emulation

Never thought I’d be making a debunking article about Adobe Flash but here we are. As someone with a YouTube Channel focused on Indie games often covering Flash Games, I hear the line “sure sucks you can’t play Flash Games after 2020” a lot. So what’s the deal? Is Adobe Flash and Flash Games really dead? Will I never be able to play Bloons TD again?

The short answer: MS DOS’s support ended nearly 20 years ago. Are DOS games unplayable in 2020? No. In fact, they’re still sold on Steam. Long answer: Well, the rest of this article.

Note I basically talked about this same thing on YouTube a couple months ago, if you prefer to watch/listen, check that out.

Adobe Flash’s Official End Of Life

What’s really happening after December 2020 is that Adobe’s official security patch support for Flash will end. (And we all know how useful Adobe’s security support has been). More directly, official browser support of Adobe Flash will end which is probably where you heard about Flash’s death, particularly from Chrome’s lovely little bar warning.

This is basically akin to your OS not natively opening .ZIP files. You won’t be able to, without extra effort, open them up, and sure, to many people that’s all it takes. ZIP files were an impregnable barrier to some until Windows started natively opening them. But a lot of us would just download 7Zip (or god forbid, in those dark times, WinRAR) and go right along.

But how will people play something that’s not officially supported? Flash Games, like ZIP files, are mostly just…files. They’re SFW files generally, just a bunch of data that a program on your computer has to know how to open and process for it to work properly.

As a passionate preservationist the topic is pretty near and dear to me even if I didn’t like Flash Games so much, but before we talk about the how of preservation, allow me a brief sideline to talk about why we actually don’t like Adobe Flash itself.

Isn’t Flash Literally Internet Hitler?

Not quite. You’ve probably heard of Flash’s countless flaws (or maybe you just heard Apple didn’t like it, and that’s all it took), and to be sure, back in the days when advertisements, video players, and even whole website designs were in flash, it was a mess. Adobe’s never been big on stability, or security, or, …well, let’s just say they had to patch Flash a LOT.

Flash and Adobe’s…’security culture’ or lack thereof, meant dynamically loaded flash content from third parties was an incredibly risky move, which is why Flash ads were a disastrously bad idea, and they used a ton of resources too. …modern ads are still resource hogs, but most of that badness is because they’re ads from third parties who don’t give a crap—turns out that’s a bigger problem than the ad serving technology. Whodathunkit.

Flash also wasn’t good for website layouts at all—it’s not designed for accessibility so screen readers and other assistive technologies had a heck of a time with it. Video players weren’t much better, Flash just never ran too fast and had a habit of crashing if you had lots of tabs with Flash open. When most of the web ran on or expected you to use Flash, it was a big problem.

So what could Flash possibly be good for? What redeeming feature could this evil, hateful technology have?

Well, it’s pretty damn good at animations. And games. Which is. You know. The things it was made to do. And that’s one of the biggest reasons Flash became such a problem; it was so easy to use and on so many people’s computers, people started using it for stuff it was not made to do. If no one ever made an ad or website layout in Flash, we probably wouldn’t be here having this not-quite-conversation honestly.

Anyway, back to saving Flash, now that we know why some crazy person like myself would want to do such a terrible thing.

Adobe Flash Beyond 2020: Emulation, Players, Extensions

There’s three basic ways to play Flash after the official extension is unsupported/removed. The most basic way is Browser Extensions—with native Flash support they aren’t necessary, but official (or sideloaded) extensions could allow one to just run Flash in browser with a little extra work.

Then there’s Flash Players, like the Newgrounds Flash Player. Flash is just a way of encoding executable information, so downloadable players can (and do) just run .SFW files similar to how you can load .nes files in your favorite emulator. It’s a little more effort, but you won’t lose it after 2020 and don’t have to install any browser extensions which people—for good reason—often don’t trust. For a laugh, try the flash player with a Homestar Runner cartoon to see how it works. Here’s a direct SFW link to a classic H*R cartoon, open the file in Newgrounds Flash Player and boom.

The most advanced, promising, and (slightly) far off way of preserving Flash content is Flash Emulators. More on these later, but like all emulators, Flash Emulation is basically an interpreter or compiler that lets a system play games or content that your system doesn’t natively run. In this case, it would be a program that interprets Flash games/animations without directly relying on Adobe’s code.

But Are Flash Games Safe?

Of all the reasons to abandon Flash, safety was by far the biggest and most reasonable. Is it even safe to still run Flash stuff after 2020 then?

Most of the Flash game and animation content people actually care about is years, even a decade or so old. New Flash security vulnerabilities will surely be found, just like new MSDOS vulnerabilities are found occasionally. While a new Flash Player’s official support certainly could keep up with Flash files, the basic assumption of security would basically move from “is the platform secure” to “is the file secure”.

The best way to play Flash Games post Flashpocalypse will be basically the same way it is now—to only play Flash Games from reasonably secure sites like Newgrounds, Kongregate, Armor Games, places that take down actually malicious software instead of trusting your Flash Player to be secure. This is basically the same paradigm your phone’s App Store uses.

It’s not like trusting Flash Player to be secure on its own ever worked when Adobe supported it anyway.

To a lot of people that’s still very scary and that’s fine; I’m not saying your average user is going to download SWFs and play them without even thinking about it. But for those of you who download Fallout 4 mods on the regular, playing a post-2020 Flash Game is going to be similar in difficulty and security—and frankly a 15 year old flash game is probably a lot safer to run than Fallout4NudeMod.exe. Just saying.

So I’m not trying to argue the security aspect too much, as a pretty hardcore “gamer” I regularly download stuff from Itchio and even Mediafire and I know some people would flip out doing that, and the same will basically be true of non-packaged Flash games for a bit. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of comments that it’s unsafe and I acknowledge for the average user, fine. The average user doesn’t run DOSBOX either though, some of us will always go a step beyond the path of least resistance, and in this case it’s not really too big a step.

The Future Of Flash Games Is Emulation

But even if you’re too scared of trusting individual flash files (including those that have worked without issue for 15 years…), Flash Emulators and other solutions can replace Flash while keeping their own security as well, it’s not like we’ll be using a Dec 2020 version of Adobe flash for 2000 years, just like DOSBOX isn’t exactly using a wild and wooly 1999 release of DOS begging your real OS to be invaded by Napster viruses.

Even if you’re too scared to download Newgrounds’ Flash Player, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of Flash Emulation. I imagine in a matter of years Flash Emulation will be as pleasant and smooth as SNES emulation is now—smooth enough to run in your browser without even knowing it’s emulation, in fact. The Ruffle demo is already pretty close, though its support isn’t yet universal. It’s very likely in the future Flash emulation will just happen in the browser with no manual installs or downloads at all.

So Will Flash Die? Official Support will end, yes. Will Flash Games and Animations still work? Yep. The two aren’t as mutually exclusive as you might have thought. Flash isn’t an MMO or service that requires server-side support—oh, and MMOs can be preserved too by the way!

In short, whatever happens, my obstinate keister will still be playing Flash games for years to come, and you’ll be able to too. In fact, join me on YouTube to check out some Flash Classics!

(Subtle plug, TapTap. Nice.)

Fan Art: Crystal, Fire, Water & Meteor TapTaps by Code Coral

Fan art time! Here’s a couple fine, exotic bois from Code Coral in our Discord server! Thanks so much! The crystal boi is very shiny and crystals are peak aesthetics, but the meteor boi reminds me of Minior my favorite Gen 7 Pokemon!

Power of…!

crystal taptap by code coral
Crystal!
meteor taptap by code coral
Outer Space!
fire taptap by code coral
The Phoenix Flames!
water elemental taptap fan art by code coral
And…and…I’m not sure I want to know about this one.

See more art in the Fan Art Gallery and don’t be shy to send your submissions to my email ([email protected]) or share them in our Discord! I try to post all fan art I receive here as long as the artist is okay with it.

Fan Art: Happy Birthday TapTap by Jamie

This one’s a Birthday wish from @Nattonath on Twitter, AKA Jamie in our Discord server! Thanks a ton! Quarantine birthdays due to COVID are a little quiet, but they’re much better with all the friends I can keep contact with online!

A TapTap, a cartoon spikeball with a nose, smile, and shiny eyes, with a birthday hat. It reads Happy Bday, TapTap. Fan art by Jamie

I’ll have the Tappiest birthday I can.

See more fan art in the Fan Art Gallery and don’t be shy to send your submissions to my email ([email protected]) or share them in our Discord! I try to post all fan art I receive here as long as the artist is okay with it.

Commission: Bunny Nath by @mi3li!

It’s Nath time again, this time I got an adorable commission from @mi3li. It turned out great, I wanted to see her in something cute! (Yeah, I went bunny suit again, it’s a classic.) I also got a TapTap Avatar from them! If you have a 100% Orange Juice addition too, make sure to join our Discord Server to coordinate games with us!

Most Nath fan art seems to go without prosthetics for whatever reason, so I asked for a version of that too:

Continue reading “Commission: Bunny Nath by @mi3li!”

Commission: SirTapTap avatar by @mi3li!

Along with the Nath commission, I also got a little TapTap buddy from @mi3li! Isn’t he adorable? Is it weird to say that about my own avatar? Oh well, it is. I’ve started using it on YouTube and Discord lately.

Here’s a transparent background version too:

Continue reading “Commission: SirTapTap avatar by @mi3li!”

The Minimalist Game PR Email: A GIF, A Link, & A Steam Key

Not everyone can hire a PR person, especially indie game devs often working as a one-person-team. That said, I often get a lot of…rough emails from devs.  As an example, here’s a barely edited sample directly from my inbox:

A game PR email containing nothing more than

The obvious issue here is…I know nothing about the game. Sure, I could click that link, but it’s just as easy to click the ‘archive message’ button, and with 50+ emails in my box, that’s probably my first reflex nine times out of ten if you don’t make an impression. I wish I could say this is rare, but I get a lot of these. A few very basic PR services even send out emails that are basically this with better formatting.

And I get it! Almost certainly you’re a gamedev first and a PR person second. Or third. Fifth. Sixteenth. That’s fine! But even solo or hobby game devs still need to do a little homemade PR too.  Let’s take a look at creating a Minimum Viable Product for game PR that gets people to actually look at your game even if we can’t pay someone to just do it for us.

Game PR as a Minimum Viable Product

You’ve probably heard of Minimum Viable Products before; it’s all about making the simplest, easiest, cheapest thing that (you think) will actually solve your/your client’s problem. And hey, there’s something to be said about minimalism in general for PR—I’m no big YouTuber, and even I get 10+ emails a day most days. I’m sure major review sites are getting many, many times more than that. You’re going to need to assume anyone looking at your email is getting dozens of similar pitches.

Here’s what helps me the most, as a gaming YouTuber with far, far more emails than time:

  • A GIF of the game
  • A link to the Steam/itch.io/etc page
  • A review key to actually play the game right now

That’s it. You can and probably should give me a little text snippet describing the game, but really, a good GIF can really sell that on it’s own. Show me just enough of the game to give me a sense of the gameplay, the setting, the mood. Something your target audience will see and think “yep, I want that!”.

You can use a YouTube video instead if you like, especially if music/sound is critical to your game; when I say “GIF” I mean something short, small, and punchy. Even if it’s a video, think Vine, not RedLetterMedia.

GIFs are Magic

What’s so great about a GIF? Let’s use an a (fake) copy example, pretending I’m pitching Assault Android Cactus.

Assault Android Cactus is a score-based Twin-Stick Shooter available on Steam featuring full controller support, multiple game modes, and 9 selectable characters with unique weapons.

If you got that in your email, would you be interested? Maybe you really like Twin Stick shooters, but there’s a lot of those. Let’s try a GIF that takes as about as long to watch as that took to read, this one from FutureBetaGamer:

Continue reading “The Minimalist Game PR Email: A GIF, A Link, & A Steam Key”

Commission: Bunny Suit Nath Chibi by Kinoglossia

Wasn’t expecting this one so fast! I commissioned Chen aka @kinoglossia a bunbun chibi Nath from 100% Orange Juice!

We’ve been playing 100% OJ a lot in our Discord Server and I ended up liking Nath a ton (I blame Coffgirl and Mythology). I ordered up two versions, one with more realistic prostheses (Nath lost her arms) and one with the Extension weapons Nath starts with ingame, and they came out great!

Continue reading “Commission: Bunny Suit Nath Chibi by Kinoglossia”