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Newgrounds Wiki: Flash Portal History 2012

I'll just say this up front, 2012 was a pretty shitty year for NG as a business. Traffic and ad rates were in decline and our ad rates had never been good to begin with.

January - Winners

The year started off with a few definitive NG experiences.

After a decade of development, Abobo's Big Adventure finally landed on NG. It is required playing.

The Steven Segal show had been a big hit in the early days of the web, only to vanish. This month it made a triumphant return, celebrating its 11 year anniversary with a remastered edition!

We were also introduced to Prosnorkulus, another must-see.

February - Winners

Spazkid got tired of the Egoraptor comparisons and countered with Egorapture. Two years later he would actually animate one of Ego's Starbomb videos!

This month marked the premier of TheWeebl's first Savlonic video.

We also launched a total redesign, introducing new features and removing the word "Flash" from the site because we knew content would be branching into video, html5 and Unity. SouljaBoy called it swag.

From this point forward it's kinda weird that these pages are called "Flash Portal History" but I keep doing it for consistency.

March - Winners

This month marked the passing of both Randy Solem from Video Game Director's Cuts and Edd Gould of Eddsworlds fame. All my other complaints about 2012 sound petty in comparison. I had the good fortune to have met Edd at the UK meetups while meanwhile Randy lived right over the river in Jersey and we talked for years about meeting up and never did.

This WAS a great month for thought-provoking games, however. Anna Anthropy's dys4ia followed her personal experience with hormone replacement therapy while Traitor by Jonas Kyratzes introduced players to a shooter with complicated moral issues. Newgrounds was extremely proud to sponsor both of these games, in addition to the runaway hit, Madness Project Nexus.

I would love to see more games about human experiences on Newgrounds.

April - Winners

In the span of one week, NG lost Stamper and Sherbert died. Monthly revenue was in a death spiral and I was in a pretty dark place.

But hey, we DID launch video support that same week! It was invite-only at the start, the publishing system needed further improvements.

The Tournament of Flash Artists (TOFA) was re-named and became the Newgrounds Annual Tournament of Animation (NATA). The Open Round launched this month, with over 47 participants.

We also started cracking down on shovelware games, a growing scourge in the Portal. Businessy types would license generic game engines and have the infinitely reskinned by sweatshops, resulting in daily loads of uninspired shovelware, often physics driving games where you roll along over hills (Mario ATV was a running joke around here). The main point of NG is that individuals are making things with love and sharing them. Sometimes that line gets blurred when larger studios upload content but shovelware clearly crosses the line.

Another piece of good news, NG's own Glaiel-Gamer won Ludum Dare 23 with his game, Fracuum.

May - Winners

We got a big morale boost in May when Sarkazm released Lucky Day Forever. It was the spiritual successor of his 2004 movie, Smile! and went on to win movie of the year. In a year that was making me want to give up, Lucky Day Forever really gave me energy to carry on.

I was also uplifted by The Worst, by long-time contributor Sherbalex and Swelter, by CalArts newcomer Jacob Streilein. It was comforting to see a return of the old alongside the introduction of the new.

This was also the start of Joe2k's Dovahbear series.

June - Winners

Relative newcomer deathink continues to win our hearts with his delightful Pico Radio app.

We hosted NG Game Jam 7 this month, where teams had to create a core mechanics diagram and develop their game around it.

July - Winners

Seedling was one of the best games of the year and an honor to sponsor!

The-Super-Flash-Bros also shared a demo of the impression Detective Grimoire, now available on Steam!

Stencyl Jam 2012 was ongoing this month and the ultimate winner was A Tale of Colours.

We also celebrated our third Robot Day.

August - Winners

For the first time in the history of NG, we finally gave people the ability to unpublish their own content. Before, you would have to PM someone from the staff and have them do it. Not the most exciting feature but a useful feature nonetheless.

TmsT organized the Garfield Collab which was fun to see!

We of course celebrated Clock Day.

September - Winners

We celebrated another Madness Day!

NG hosted it's second Animation Jam, with the theme, "Too Scared To ____."

Mattster worked some magic with our sharing API, creating The Drawing Grounds.

October - Winners

This month we added HTML5 support, with the first upload being Dual Custody. This also gave us "good enough for now" Unity upload support, where Unity games could be uploaded in a ZIP with their own index file. This wouldn't be formally addressed until September 2014, when we introduced "perfect" upload support for Unity files. There were still plenty of cross-browser quirks with HTML5 games but we were moving full steam ahead with supporting alternatives to Flash for both games and movies now.

The Newgrounds Annual Tournament of Animation wrapped up this month and the winner was Transit, by Emrox!

We hosted Game Jam 8, aka Cabin Jam with the theme, Cabin in the Woods. The results were spooooky, with Shadow Tag coming out on top!

Speaking of spooky, there's the whole Halloween Spooktacular.

November - Winners

In November, BrenTheMan joined the team, to ultimately take over Tim duties. He started by building our video conversion server, allowing video uploads to move from invite-only to public access!

December - Winners

Seven years later, we were treated to another Interactive Buddy!

As usual there was a bunch of Christmas / Holiday stuff.

This year was an emotional rollercoaster, with a lot of ups and downs. Despite the introduction of the redesign, with a new publishing system that grew to accommodate video, html5 and Unity, the year ended with a whimper instead of a bang.

The reality was that YouTube had become the primary focus for a lot of animators and game developers were turning their gaze to mobile and Steam. We had worked extremely hard and achieved some amazing things but ultimately it wasn't enough because financially, NG was in the toilet. Traffic continued to spiral downward as we sponsored less games and animators made their big premiers on YouTube. It was bittersweet that they were using the Swivel beta to do it.

I really didn't blame anyone though, I knew we had failed on all fronts. YouTube had more views AND higher ad rates. My spirit was crushed and would remain that way through 2013, where NG continued to run at a loss.

Speaking of 2013...