Owners of the original iPhone will remember the dark days before the App Store or even the original jailbreaks and third party software when games and apps consisted of nothing more than clever web pages, usually loaded to the brim with javascript. The games were basic, and the "apps" consisted of little more than simple database-powered applets and tip calculators, but they did the trick.

Akihabara is a HTML5 toolbox filled with all kinds of neat goodies that creative developers can use to make browser games. On the Akihabara web site there are five demo games ranging from a simple Tetris-like game to a basic Zelda clone. The cool part is, these games work on every modern non-Internet Explorer browser, including the browsers of the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and apparently even other touchscreen phones like the Palm Pre.

Depending on what platform you're playing on, all of the proper controls appear on screen or you use the keyboard and arrow keys. On the iPhone, virtual controls pop up at the bottom of the screen and while they're not as responsive as a native game, it's still pretty amazing to think you're essentially playing a web page-- Without even a smidge of Flash.

All of the games on the Akihabara site are free, and really worth a spin both because they're really impressive pieces of web development but also so you can appreciate what things were like before the App Store came around.

  • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

    The Legend of Sadness (the Zelda clone) is actually a clever little game worth playing all the way to the end for the surprise ending. I'm really curious to see what developers do with the toolbox, keeping in mind that Akihabara games do not go through the app review process.

  • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

    The Legend of Sadness (the Zelda clone) is actually a clever little game worth playing all the way to the end for the surprise ending. I'm really curious to see what developers do with the toolbox, keeping in mind that Akihabara games do not go through the app review process.

  • blackHorse

    So how can one make money with HTML5 games?

    • Eli Hodapp

      Presumably all the same way Flash-based games make money. Advertisements, subscriptions, etc. Like Squarezero said, this skips the Apple approval process entirely so you are really only limited by your imagination.

  • blackHorse

    So how can one make money with HTML5 games?

    • Eli Hodapp

      Presumably all the same way Flash-based games make money. Advertisements, subscriptions, etc. Like Squarezero said, this skips the Apple approval process entirely so you are really only limited by your imagination.

  • Silverfist

    Ninja Ropes Extreme FTW, yo.

  • Silverfist

    Ninja Ropes Extreme FTW, yo.

  • Poco

    "Without even a smidge of Flash."

    What the... What is this article about, to show us how bad Flash is, how great Apple is to ban it and how cool HTML5 is? That's really great but what's the need of that?

    • http://mutekicorp.com Ryan @ Muteki

      My guess is that "how cool HTML5 is" is the important part there, the rest you're just reading into the article.

      • Poco

        Well, this article comes 1-2 days after apple changing its policy not allowing CS5 to create native iphone apps. Coincidence? The title says "who needs Flash anyway". Coincidence? For example I would love to have the oportunity to have Flash, not for silly games, there are much better things there and I do believe there will be (unluckily, instead of iphone they will be for android).

      • http://mutekicorp.com Ryan @ Muteki

        No, it's not a coincidence. Developers who are interested in using alternate technologies are finding a way, despite the changes in the SDK agreement.

        Cards on the table: I dislike the changes to the SDK agreement, and I think they hurt the developer ecosystem more than they help it. But it's overreaching to act like an article on toucharcade is promoting some sort of anti-flash bias. This article is simply showing a new facet of the ongoing set of issues, and I'm glad to see it.

      • Eli Hodapp

        Yeah, any coincidences are entirely unintentional. In a previous life, I was a web developer and just thought the Akihabara toolkit was a neat collection of code. It also applies to TouchArcade since all the games run on the iPhone -and- it's pretty amazing to see how far people have come with HTML5 compared to the super early iPhone web games which were VERY basic in comparison.

        So don't read too far in to it, the title was intended to be tongue in cheek. ;)

      • Poco

        Alright, if it is unintentional, I take it back. I just find really silly what's going on lately between Adobe and Apple... (actually it's Apple which bugs me for some time now... writing that from my macbook ;) but I wish they changed their policies)

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      No proprietary technology used. That's the point.

  • Poco

    "Without even a smidge of Flash."

    What the... What is this article about, to show us how bad Flash is, how great Apple is to ban it and how cool HTML5 is? That's really great but what's the need of that?

    • http://mutekicorp.com Ryan @ Muteki

      My guess is that "how cool HTML5 is" is the important part there, the rest you're just reading into the article.

      • Poco

        Well, this article comes 1-2 days after apple changing its policy not allowing CS5 to create native iphone apps. Coincidence? The title says "who needs Flash anyway". Coincidence? For example I would love to have the oportunity to have Flash, not for silly games, there are much better things there and I do believe there will be (unluckily, instead of iphone they will be for android).

      • http://mutekicorp.com Ryan @ Muteki

        No, it's not a coincidence. Developers who are interested in using alternate technologies are finding a way, despite the changes in the SDK agreement.

        Cards on the table: I dislike the changes to the SDK agreement, and I think they hurt the developer ecosystem more than they help it. But it's overreaching to act like an article on toucharcade is promoting some sort of anti-flash bias. This article is simply showing a new facet of the ongoing set of issues, and I'm glad to see it.

      • Eli Hodapp

        Yeah, any coincidences are entirely unintentional. In a previous life, I was a web developer and just thought the Akihabara toolkit was a neat collection of code. It also applies to TouchArcade since all the games run on the iPhone -and- it's pretty amazing to see how far people have come with HTML5 compared to the super early iPhone web games which were VERY basic in comparison.

        So don't read too far in to it, the title was intended to be tongue in cheek. ;)

      • Poco

        Alright, if it is unintentional, I take it back. I just find really silly what's going on lately between Adobe and Apple... (actually it's Apple which bugs me for some time now... writing that from my macbook ;) but I wish they changed their policies)

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      No proprietary technology used. That's the point.

  • Aussie2

    That game capman seems familiar......

  • Aussie2

    That game capman seems familiar......

  • Frobots

    It's really nice that TouchArcade started covering HTML5 games too. Thanks.

  • Frobots

    It's really nice that TouchArcade started covering HTML5 games too. Thanks.

  • Zohar

    Wow. Very impressive.

  • Zohar

    Wow. Very impressive.

  • Sound?

    Where's the sound? Flash isn't just about graphics... it's about _multi_media -- audio & video. Show me the sound, something very conveniently left out of all of this Flash/Apple hate.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      HTML5 has native support for standards based sound and video. The Akihabara libraries focus on graphics and animation (using Canvas, as someone mentioned below), which is likely why those simple demos have no sound.

  • Sound?

    Where's the sound? Flash isn't just about graphics... it's about _multi_media -- audio & video. Show me the sound, something very conveniently left out of all of this Flash/Apple hate.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      HTML5 has native support for standards based sound and video. The Akihabara libraries focus on graphics and animation (using Canvas, as someone mentioned below), which is likely why those simple demos have no sound.

  • drunknbass

    this actually uses canvas and a drawing setup that performs very well, and is one of the few ive seen that does this. thats why it performs well. We need more of this type of js/html5 libraries to be made so we can focus on content and not creating wheels and gears to power the machine.

  • drunknbass

    this actually uses canvas and a drawing setup that performs very well, and is one of the few ive seen that does this. thats why it performs well. We need more of this type of js/html5 libraries to be made so we can focus on content and not creating wheels and gears to power the machine.

  • Johnwayne

    Press the A key to start. Epic fail

    it's nice to have open source alternatives, but html5 sucks.

    Flash is still the daddy.... The best and most comfortable way to create web-games or cool web-apps is and will be flash (IDE).

    Steve jobs should not talk about adobe and flash. Adobe fully concentrates on other devices, optimizes the player for every device, except the iphone. No full webexperience for us, just because jobs doesnt want a "non-open" web standard in his mighty "non-open" OS.

    I really hope google and android catches up soon to be a real competition to the iphone os. Then steve can take his "non-open" OS with it's thousands of restrictions for developers and customers into his own digged grave with such a terrible philosophy.

    Apple sucks more and more.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Excuse me: what device is it that currently supports full Flash?

      By the way, it's not "Press A key," it's "Press A" as in an SNES controller -- it's a bit of an homage on the developer's part.

      Needless to say, Akihabara has nothing to do with Apple. It's just happens that Mobile Safari does an excellent job of supporting HTML5. So does the Android browser.

      • Johnwayne

        All android devices, palm etc. in a few months.

        Adobe is currently in the final stage of releasing full flash player 10.1 for mobile devices, with hardware acceleration. Adobe realized they need to put more effort into mobile, and thats what they are working on atm. But we -iphone usets- will not be part of it.

        They all work aggressively with adobe together for a (almost) full webexperience on their devices.... And this with no sluggish or laggy flash experience with capable devices such as nexus one.

      • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

        In a few months. Yeah. We'll see.

    • trevs

      Flash will be replaced. Maybe not anytime soon, but like all development platforms, something will come along that is better and faster. HTML5 has a lot of promise for multimedia gaming, and it's still in stages of infancy. Open source will eventually replace all pieces of propriety software.

      • Poco

        You are stating that based on what? Show some example of open source replacing propriety SW, I cannot think about big success stories. Even tho Flash sucks in many aspects (e.g. I hate the buggy os x flash player), I don't see html5 taking over that soon. HTML took decades to do something that Flash could do 10 years ago. It will take some market share from Flash, Silverlight and JavaFX imho but I see all these technologies continuing their journeys and evolving.

    • iwasnevergivenaname

      No offense, but have you seen Flash on the other smart phones. It is really slow.

  • Johnwayne

    Press the A key to start. Epic fail

    it's nice to have open source alternatives, but html5 sucks.

    Flash is still the daddy.... The best and most comfortable way to create web-games or cool web-apps is and will be flash (IDE).

    Steve jobs should not talk about adobe and flash. Adobe fully concentrates on other devices, optimizes the player for every device, except the iphone. No full webexperience for us, just because jobs doesnt want a "non-open" web standard in his mighty "non-open" OS.

    I really hope google and android catches up soon to be a real competition to the iphone os. Then steve can take his "non-open" OS with it's thousands of restrictions for developers and customers into his own digged grave with such a terrible philosophy.

    Apple sucks more and more.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Excuse me: what device is it that currently supports full Flash?

      By the way, it's not "Press A key," it's "Press A" as in an SNES controller -- it's a bit of an homage on the developer's part.

      Needless to say, Akihabara has nothing to do with Apple. It's just happens that Mobile Safari does an excellent job of supporting HTML5. So does the Android browser.

      • Johnwayne

        All android devices, palm etc. in a few months.

        Adobe is currently in the final stage of releasing full flash player 10.1 for mobile devices, with hardware acceleration. Adobe realized they need to put more effort into mobile, and thats what they are working on atm. But we -iphone usets- will not be part of it.

        They all work aggressively with adobe together for a (almost) full webexperience on their devices.... And this with no sluggish or laggy flash experience with capable devices such as nexus one.

      • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

        In a few months. Yeah. We'll see.

    • trevs

      Flash will be replaced. Maybe not anytime soon, but like all development platforms, something will come along that is better and faster. HTML5 has a lot of promise for multimedia gaming, and it's still in stages of infancy. Open source will eventually replace all pieces of propriety software.

      • Poco

        You are stating that based on what? Show some example of open source replacing propriety SW, I cannot think about big success stories. Even tho Flash sucks in many aspects (e.g. I hate the buggy os x flash player), I don't see html5 taking over that soon. HTML took decades to do something that Flash could do 10 years ago. It will take some market share from Flash, Silverlight and JavaFX imho but I see all these technologies continuing their journeys and evolving.

    • iwasnevergivenaname

      No offense, but have you seen Flash on the other smart phones. It is really slow.

  • darwiniandude

    Great to see.

  • darwiniandude

    Great to see.

  • Brandon

    HTML5 ALL THE WAY! I'm so glad apple is pushing everybody to use it! I am super impressed with HTML5 now...

  • Brandon

    HTML5 ALL THE WAY! I'm so glad apple is pushing everybody to use it! I am super impressed with HTML5 now...

  • Alex

    Awesome. I've been waiting for a decent html5 game for iPhone. Now can someone with an ipad tell me if the keyboard works in the games? That would be completely awesome.

  • Alex

    Awesome. I've been waiting for a decent html5 game for iPhone. Now can someone with an ipad tell me if the keyboard works in the games? That would be completely awesome.

  • PahnCrd

    Is sound possible in HTML 5?

    • PahnCrd
    • Nookster

      Not in mobile Safari, it's HTML5 support is partially broken for audio.

      • drunknbass

        inline audio and video is supported on ipad (3.2) and iPhone 4.0.

  • PahnCrd

    Is sound possible in HTML 5?

    • PahnCrd
    • Nookster

      Not in mobile Safari, it's HTML5 support is partially broken for audio.

      • drunknbass

        inline audio and video is supported on ipad (3.2) and iPhone 4.0.

  • http://rpg-fanatics.de Crish

    http://iphone.donaldhays.com/sunset/game/

    Don´t if you had an article about Sunset, but just in case you didn´t, it´s a nice web based Dungeon Crawler. Playable in Safari and your Pc/Mac webbrowser.

  • http://rpg-fanatics.de Crish

    http://iphone.donaldhays.com/sunset/game/

    Don´t if you had an article about Sunset, but just in case you didn´t, it´s a nice web based Dungeon Crawler. Playable in Safari and your Pc/Mac webbrowser.

  • JM

    It says press a to start but you really need to press Z. How would that work on an iPhone? The keyboard only comes up in text boxes, not in the middle of an HTML5 applet thing.

  • JM

    It says press a to start but you really need to press Z. How would that work on an iPhone? The keyboard only comes up in text boxes, not in the middle of an HTML5 applet thing.

  • http://www.podzilla.com.br edo

    HTML5 FTW!

    I think developers in general should pay more attention to HTML5, there's a real potencial there (I guess you guys have heard of someone in google running Quake on Chrome...)

    I really like flash, but I don't think is a good plataform for handhelds, it's too resource comsuming.

    And the fact the you are not bount to apple aproving your app, man, that's just great!

  • http://www.podzilla.com.br edo

    HTML5 FTW!

    I think developers in general should pay more attention to HTML5, there's a real potencial there (I guess you guys have heard of someone in google running Quake on Chrome...)

    I really like flash, but I don't think is a good plataform for handhelds, it's too resource comsuming.

    And the fact the you are not bount to apple aproving your app, man, that's just great!

  • http://bomberman.eirikb.no Eirik Brandtzæg

    About that, here is a quick game I wrote, but ofc never finished:
    http://bomberman.eirikb.no
    It does not use Canvas, as it was a test to see how well it would work without Canvas.
    But it's coded in such a way I can just replace the graphics container with canvas without any problems.
    Oh and it does not work well on handhelds because of controls)

  • http://bomberman.eirikb.no Eirik Brandtzæg

    About that, here is a quick game I wrote, but ofc never finished:
    http://bomberman.eirikb.no
    It does not use Canvas, as it was a test to see how well it would work without Canvas.
    But it's coded in such a way I can just replace the graphics container with canvas without any problems.
    Oh and it does not work well on handhelds because of controls)

  • Daniel Rapp

    To show further potentialities of HTML5 check out my site http://rappdaniel.com.
    Most games work on all non-IE browsers. However, I must have done something to anger firefox with 'Mini Flatwar', because it doesn't seem to run on it.

    Please remember that these games are the first graphical games i've ever done, so don't blame all the many bugs and lag on HTML5.

  • Daniel Rapp

    To show further potentialities of HTML5 check out my site http://rappdaniel.com.
    Most games work on all non-IE browsers. However, I must have done something to anger firefox with 'Mini Flatwar', because it doesn't seem to run on it.

    Please remember that these games are the first graphical games i've ever done, so don't blame all the many bugs and lag on HTML5.

  • http://www.emilydaniels.com Emily Daniels

    I made a game from the Akihabara engine that pits Bjork vs. Cthulhu. It's a great toolkit- really easy to work with. You can play the game here: http://www.emilydaniels.com/games/cthulhulovesyou/index.html

  • http://www.emilydaniels.com Emily Daniels

    I made a game from the Akihabara engine that pits Bjork vs. Cthulhu. It's a great toolkit- really easy to work with. You can play the game here: http://www.emilydaniels.com/games/cthulhulovesyou/index.html