In today's world of increasingly complex websites that use increasingly powerful code to build slick interfaces, there's something quite refreshing about "Canvas Rider." It's a simple game with humble graphical pretensions, and it's based on the HTML5 canvas element. It's rendered incredibly well by Internet Explorer 9, which leverages your computer's graphics processing hardware.
The game involves guiding a stick figure on a bike over landscapes drawn with primitive pencils and paintbrushes. It's reminiscent of ASCII art and the earliest video games, and yet in a way it's also very sophisticated. You may only have two bike choices and a few basic keyboard-controlled movements (lean forward, lean back, turn around, go), but the way your stick figure responds to your guidance is uncannily lifelike. When you crash, you can almost feel yourself tumble down into that ravine or slam into that wall.
All that is great fun. Even more fun is that you can build your own track and submit it for the community to play. The "Canvas Rider" site provides a built-in HTML5 drawing program, which gives you a simple set of tools for using brushes and pencils and line tools to build an obstacle course with optional buildings and creatures. You set the goal point, which the player must reach without crashing in order to complete your track; if she does, she can post her score. (The plays that earn the best scores are saved so you can load and play along with them to see how your action compares.) You may also add checkpoints to your track, to which players are returned after crashing so they can try again from that point on, and localized effects such as boosts, gravity modifiers, and bombs.
Save your creation and it's added to the "Canvas Rider" gallery, which already includes thousands of submissions, some of them beautifully drawn and engineered, some just funny to look at. Each contributor's tracks are also collected on a single page, which may be browsed according to community ratings. A few of the nicest pages with some of the highest-rated tracks are by Moose_Man and 9Alex6.
This story, "Easy Rider" was originally published by BrandPost.