The Canon: Alien Hominid

I had a different game slated for this week, but I played the Alien Hominid with my friend this weekend, and I had to put this together.

Alien Hominid began as a flash game released on New Grounds in 2002 programmed by New Grounds founder Tom Fulp and artist Dan Paladin. Alien Hominid was released for consoles in 2004 after the creative duo established The Behemoth game development company.Alien_Hominid_cover.png

What made it great then? Alien Hominid is in many ways the mainstream realization of early 00’s Flash games. It was born on New Grounds, has a simplistic and vector sketchy style and offers gratuitous violence with cutesy charm. This pedigree makes it a physical memento of the browser video games that I and many others loved.

It is not difficult to play, but it is difficult to survive. The screen fills up with so many explosions, laser shots, and enemies that keeping track of your alien is the greatest challenge. Boss fights can be punishing, giving you little room to maneuver and small targets to hit. Despite its difficulty, Alien Hominid keeps the action going. There is a nearly endless stream of enemies preventing you from taking your time with the stage. This difficulty mixed with a fast paced arcade style and a 2-player co-op mode made Alien Hominid a favorite of mine in my middle school days.

What makes it great now? Having just played several levels this weekend, I can say that Alien Hominid is just as fun as it was when I was a teen. It’s now easier to notice a few of the flaws in the platforming controls, and certain areas are beyond unfair (one boss was able to kill me as I respawned, despite the invulnerability period). However, revisiting Alien Hominid was a pleasure.

Why should it be remembered? It is unclear how long Flash will continue to exist. If it finally goes by the wayside, I hope there will be ways to find some of the old browser games and videos that I loved as a kid. Alien Hominid is an already preserved relic of this generation of games. It’s a Flash game that made it to consoles and is still fun today.

If you want to play the original Flash version of Alien Hominid, it is still up on New Grounds here.

-Peter

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