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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The decline in IO games: What was the cause? was certainly an era of my childhood.
Florence Wei was certainly an era of my childhood.

Suppose you are a middle schooler walking into the Saratoga Library before the pandemic. If you recall doing this, then this memory is bound to be familiar: the round tables in the children’s section, lined with desktop computers. You can hear the silent yells of celebration — or sometimes anguish — and the shush of passersby. The cause of this scene? IO games. 

In 2015, game developer Matheus Valadares created, the first-ever IO game, an online game that allows people to play real-time multiplayer games without any downloads. The game was an immediate success. Soon, this new form of online gaming gained an even stronger following. From 2016 to 2017, the sophistication of IO games further developed, increasing their popularity. 

One of the most popular games is, where the player starts as a tiny snake and attempts to grow into the largest snake by eating other snakes. is another popular game where one plays as an animal trying to rise in the food chain. And finally, is a 2D battle royale with over 15 game modes. 

I was one of those kids playing the games throughout middle school. Out of curiosity, I decided to check out the games again this year, hoping to wash myself in nostalgia. Instead, I was in for a big surprise. 

When I clicked on, I saw the game had been taken down. In 2022, the web gaming portal Kongregate bought the game from the developers, and it was subsequently “sunsetted” or terminated. This decision was made for copyright reasons. 

The other games were barren., which used to have well over 14k players, lost activity due to lagging problems and a lack of updates. Now, there are few to no players on any of the servers. This largely defeats the point of the game because I remember that IO games were fun, particularly because of the large number of players.

Multiple variables can account for the decline. Either the developers needed more motivation to add updates or became too busy with their projects. The initial hype of IO games seemed to die as fast as it rose, being replaced by mobile and video gaming. 

Either way, the player base has been reduced to people like me seeking nostalgia. 

Despite their collapse, I will always hold IO games in a piece of my heart. If the games suddenly come to life again by some stroke of luck, I would be eager to grab the opportunity to relive that part of my life.

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