Line Rider updated – goodbye Adobe Flash, hello Microsoft Silverlight

July 6, 2008

Line Rider updated - goodbye Adobe Flash, hello Microsoft Silverlight  Line Rider has just been updated, and now uses the new Microsoft Silverlight rather than Adobe Flash. So many things about this game make me ask “why?” and this is no exception.

Adobe Flash has been the market leader in the world of multimedia browser applications for many years now, with many animated, or simple video clips using the technology. But now Microsoft wants in on the action, and has released its Silverlight technology on the Internet masses. It’s basically a clone of Flash, just with less features, and much less market penetration.

That could all change however, due to one silly little game which has been something of a Web phenomenon over the past couple of years switching from Flash to Silverlight. Behold, the next generation of Line Rider.

For those not in the know, Line Rider is a clever, though ultimately pointless, browser based game which sees you drawing a course for a little guy on a sled. There’s nothing complicated involved in the process, just you drawing a single line and then watching the animated little twerp complete the course. It’s fun for maybe five minutes, although some people seem to regard it as worthy of hours of entertainment.

Some of the courses are really well conceived, and a lot better than my pathetic attempts. This one, made especially for someone’s dad on Father’s Day is probably my favourite.

But back to the update, and the fact that a game played by millions of people has now changed allegiance from Adobe Flash to Microsoft Silverlight. I can’t really understand the logic of the move, as almost everyone on the Internet has the Flash plug-in, while Silverlight still needs years to catch up to the same level.

I’d love to be able to tell you that the game looks or plays better with the new technology from Microsoft, but when visiting the Line Rider main page, and trying to install Silverlight on to my PC, the whole thing crashed and shut my browser down. I had no such problems using the old Flash Line Rider, which is thankfully still available on the site.

If anyone does actually get the Silverlight version working, let me know if there are actually any improvements or if this is just change for change’s sake. If so, then the question must be asked whether Microsoft has got anything to do with it?

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