Anyone who has tuned in to the USA cable network over the past few years cannot avoid noticing that their focus has been on characters. Whether the eccentric star of Monk or the artist who created the “Hope” Obama design, every level of character has been put in an ad campaign for the network. Now, USA has launched their own gaming site with USA Character Arcade that lets players create their own characters by playing through a varied collection of USA themed flash games, earning points and trophies along the way.
Like most Flash based gaming sites, many of USA Character Arcade’s games are fast pick up and play action and puzzle games. Some are simple reskinned versions of other games like the Where’s Waldo-esque Where’s Bunny? in which a player must find a hidden rabbit throughout various snapshots of NYC. Others take a simple formula like that of Kitty Cannon and add a whole new level of strategy to it like Psych Food Fight . Instead of merely picking an angle and power level, a player now decides which item they’d like to chuck at the opposing side of the lunch room, each with a different level of bounce, as they try bounce their food all the way to their best friend’s face.
Other games take unique spins like Steady State where a player must use Tetris shaped blocks to build a tower as high as they can. The trick, realistic physics have been employed so that if a player adds too much weight on an unsupported beam, the blocks will begin toppling over and the player will have to begin construction again.
In addition to basic single player Flash games, Character arcade includes the ability to play MMO games like Dark Orbit and Gladius 2. While it isn’t going to be a World of Warcraft level experience for players, these MMOs still allow a player to feel connected while playing with the other members of the Character Arcade community. Also available are downloadable games as well. Right now, Character Arcade features five downloadable titles and plan to release more soon.
Character Arcade has made sure to put a lot of focus on community as well with the introduction of their own Twitter feed as well as a gaming blog to keep members abreast of the latest in gaming news. And of course, it wouldn’t be an internet community site without Facebook integration. Linking to a player’s Facebook allowed for incredibly quick sign up to the site and allows for a player to post their high scores and Character Arcade news directly to their news feed. Character Arcade also features a Game of the Week which has weekly real life prizes associated with it as well.
One coolest community aspects though is the Avatar system. Instead of just having a few basic choices, a player is able to choose from hundreds of options for any item they want to place on their Avatar from eyes and hair to clothing and costumes. But every item comes with a price. The points used to purchase these items comes from completing various achievements in games like beating a previous high score. This system, much like the addictive XBox Live Achievements, keeps players coming back as they are continuously gratified for their gaming accomplishments.
Whether killing some time while waiting for a show to come on or just bored and being unproductive at work, USA Character Arcade gives a ton of addicting options for a player’s casual gaming needs. The constant reward system through Avatar upgrades and USA themed games are a good touch that add to the strong lineup of free to play Flash games.