Why it's taken me so long to discover Kongregate, I don't know. I've played plenty of games on it, but I never took the time to notice what was going on around the frame in which my game was loaded. Oh, the sorrows of being unobservant.
Kongregate isn't a game; it's a game hosting site. It’s a place where casual gamers can connect and where game developers can get together to share ideas and receive feedback from their audience. All this is wrapped in a candy shell that rewards the gamers for testing out the developers games.
Kongregate is, first and foremost, a site where developers can post their games and get them displayed to a wide audience. Games are rated by their audience. A rating system for games is nothing new. So what’s unique about Kongregate? To assist the game testers (read “flash game junkies”) game makers can program flags into their flash games that Kogregate reads. For example, if a game designer wants to get his players to thoroughly test a game, he or she can set up a flag that gets tripped when a player scores “100,000 points on hard mode". Once this flag gets tripped, the player’s account earns nice little badge that signifies they’ve achieve this mark. The badge is not saved in the particular game, it’s stored on the player’s Kongregate profile.
This system of rewarding a player’s account with badges is unique. It adds a reason to play some games longer than I otherwise would have. Why try to score 10 times more than my current average? Because the challenge is there!
Not only do you gain badges, a player’s account also gains experience points with each goal achieved. As you’re chatting with other players, they can see your level. Like badges, your level isn’t really good for anything except showing off how much of your life you’ve wasted making your dolphin do somersaults or how many zombies you’ve blown up. Like every seasoned RPG player out there knows, experience points are a nice impetus to continue playing. In the case of Kongregate, instead of gaining experience so you can beat that big side boss, you gain experience to show other Kongregators how many games you’ve tried out.
Get on over there and Kongregate with one of the largest and uniquely conceived communities of flash gamers on the Internet. Hove some fun! I’m sure you’ll find something to catch your interest.