Flash games on the Web are getting to be so quick and responsive . . . that they can recreate 30-year-old arcade games no problem. And that’s just fine with me because those are about the only video games where I can hold my own. Online video arcade OMGPOP’s latest game is a remake of Atari’s Missile Command on its 30th anniversary.
The OMGPOP version is true to the original except it adds a multiplayer twist. It’s pretty addictive and the social aspect makes it more fun. Just like at the old coin arcades, it was always better when you went with a couple of friends.
Like most OMGPOP games you can enter a live match with other players or invite your friends to meet you in a game room. You can sign in with Facebook Connect or AIM. OMGPOP matches you with players at about the same level as you. You can get more missiles, enlarge their impact radius, or increase your reload rate buy using your health points to buy better capabilities. If things are going really badly you can buy a nuke for 500 “coins.” You earn coins the more you play, but you can also pay for them straight out through PayPal or a credit card.
Selling virtual goods is OMGPOP’s main source of revenues. The site has about a dozen games. CEO Dan Porter (who used to be the president of Teach For America, TicketWeb before it sold to TicketMaster, and worked as a corporate VC for Virgin) says that about 2 to 5 percent of players end up actually paying for something. About 30 percent of its virtual goods revenues come from third-party offers from TrialPay, but they try to keep the scammier offers out. Porter says the site has 2.5 million members, and about 1 million monthly unique visitors. Most of those are high school and college students. The site is still small but has a loyal following. About 40 pecent of users visit the site more than 50 times a month.
I recently visited OMGPOP’s New York City offices, where Porter, founder Charles Forman, and game developer Will Chen gave me a preview of Missile Command in the video below. I also get Forman to weigh in on the HTML5 Vs. Flash debate. He says there is no way he could create the games on OMGPOP without Flash.