Of Platforms and Blog Posts - A Fansite Fangame Flashback

Foreword In order to inject new blood into the site and get some activity going, here we have our first new writer, providing a retrospective look at a couple of EqD themed games of the past. Give a warm welcome to Magitronique, as he introduces himself briefly below. How long is he gonna stick around? How often is he gonna write? I'm leaving that completely down to him, while I am assuming the role of editor-in-chief in this context. So with all that said and done, I'm getting back to writing content myself. Despite the niche topic, enjoy the article below!-Lex Rudera
(I'll try to keep this brief since this article's already disgustingly long, but hello to Equestria Gaming and whoever's reading! I'm Magitronique, and I'll be around every now and then to talk at usually extreme and exorbitant lengths about horsegames. Happy reading, and thanks to those who are somehow still around after the lengthy, silent transition period we've had!)
In the four years at this point that I’ve happily been a part of this colorful horse cult we call a fandom, I, like many, have partaken in countless amounts of fan media of almost every single stripe. I’ve got loads of images, stories, music and a bunch of other little digital pony knick-knacks stored across an untold number of places, and like many I’m finding and collecting more every day. I suppose sacrificing loads of precious storage space is but one part of the price we pay for our (or my, at least) obsession! So it goes!
Some time ago, a neat little Cookie Clicker clone made it's rounds around the fandom. EQD Clicker allowed anyone to finally grab a slice of that sweet, sweet horse fame, providing it wrapped in the form of an endearing, snarky clickfest. You can't deny that it's a neat little idea at the least, yeah?
Commonly, and as expected, a lot of folks simply referred to it as Equestria Daily: The Game. I mean, that's accurate, right? That’s what it is, after all.
Well... not quite, actually.
Before the original incarnation of Equestria Gaming folded, and before this subsequent revival, I'd paid the arcade quite a bit of attention following the release of EQD Clicker. Somehow, smaller-scale fangames had gone under my radar for quite some time, and I was going on one hell of a binge after discovering it. In my journey through the Equestria Gaming Arcade, I discovered that another game styled as Equestria Daily: The Game actually exists, made all the way back in halcyon days of 2011.
By some strange, interesting twist of fate, we have two Equestria Daily games, made four years apart (in almost two completely different pony fandoms, really!), and with vastly different styles and approaches! You have to admit that’s at least a little bit neat, y’all. C'mon.
Naturally, this begs at least a few questions: Why, for one? How do these two compare? Which game, and which developer, did this incredibly silly concept the...proper justice, I suppose you'd call it? Let’s take a look at these below the break and find out!
Remember when I used the phrase “vastly different in style and approach?” Equestria Daily: The Game is explicitly the reason why I chose to use it.
Seriously, keeping in mind the entire idea is in the title, try skipping the opening cutscenes and just jump straight into the game without uttering “what.” I dare you! It’s almost impossible, considering this little situation here is what you’re thrown into, headfirst, if you do:
Unidentified OC? Check. Automatic rifle? …Uh, check? Large …envelope things? W-what?
Surprisingly enough, there’s actually a story at play, here: Equestria Daily receives one (million) too many emails one day, and good ol’ Cereal Velocity here is not happy about that and the fact that they’ve become somewhat sentient and have started wrecking everything. In all fairness, I wouldn’t be too pleased with that either, but I can’t say this’d be my solution.

Yes, Equestria Daily: The Game is a shoot ’em up of all things, with a healthy amount of platforming thrown in for good measure, and actually based off of this old video from 2011! As blogpony Cereal Velocity (and Sethisto too, if you press Shift!), take the rampant email problem into your own hooves by, what else, shooting and jumping your way to the end of 18 levels; going through Ponyville, Sweet Apple Acres, the Everfree Forest and a weirdly minimally designed area called “Dragon’s Mountain.”
All things considered, it’s a pretty standard-issue little run and gun, though there’s actually more going for the concept rather than execution. That is to say, while it’s incredibly entertaining to take Cereal Velocity and Sethisto on an inexplicable, American-style romp through foreign lands, there’s a couple of glaring issues.
Although a fair few of them are difficult to discern in this image, there are a few things that come through that showcase what’s unfortunately just… generally off about this game. Chiefly, it’s the combination of odd level design choices (which we can see above) and relatively poor physics (which’ll need an explanation).
As far as handling goes, the controls (especially jumping) are extremely floaty and can be nigh-unresponsive during some heavier sections of gameplay. As a result of this, these incredibly puzzling design choices, like the weird semi-stairs seen above serve no real purpose other than to… confuse or just be part of the scenery, I suppose, seeing as 9/10ths of them are outright inaccessible. According to Enigma Sage’s review of the game written at release, the physics even then were wonky; however, considering the amount of work put into the game in the interim, my current running guess is that sections like these were designed for a slightly different physics set and simply weren’t changed later on after updating.
Secondly, there’s also the matter of this being, seemingly, a port of the mobile version back to flash. While likely intended to showcase the more polished, finished product, the problems associated with this serve to distract from whatever was intended to be showcased. Touch controls remain implemented, which wouldn’t normally be much of an issue, save for the in-game touchpad still being overlayed over the gameplay which cannot be turned off or disabled, ever. There’s also some general weirdness with hitboxes, likely also stemming from the control/format change; it’s frustratingly common to be killed repeatedly by invisible enemies that, I suppose, didn’t fully de-spawn, or even enemies a fair ways away from you. Needless to say, it makes for a fairly frustrating experience sometimes, especially during boss fights.
Speaking of, that actually gives us a pretty good segue into the positives!
While the game isn’t getting top marks for execution gameplay-wise, there’s definitely plenty of praise to be given in the creative department.
Those two interesting creatures up there are the bosses for this little game, and for whatever reason I them completely enthralling. I mean, seriously, it’s a dragon and Nightmare Moon made out of envelopes seeking nothing more than to annihilate you. While I suppose that one could say that, as bosses, these two are a bit of a stretch to use, it’s the fact that: a) it’s an Equestria Daily game, it doesn’t need to be that serious, and b) them also being made from envelopes is a touch that somehow makes it all feel right. I honestly couldn’t really say why. I suppose it’s all just really neat to take in? I really don’t know!
It’s not just the general design choices, or at least the interesting creative decisions involved, that deserve praise, however. Musically-speaking, the soundtrack is aces (if just a skosh too loud and compressed). I’d almost consider said excellence a given, though, seeing as most credit goes to prominent fandom musicians Foozogz and Radiarc! Interestingly, there’s also a music credit for someone going by “Max the Musicorn” whom nether I nor Google have honestly ever heard of. No disrespect to whomever they might be, but “literally who?”
Regardless of the neat creative direction the creator took this game in (I still can’t get over “Nightmail Moon!”), the gameplay is, not surprisingly, a pretty major part of the experience, and in that regard it falls pretty flat. It could, perhaps, be best summarized as a series of interesting ideas and creative choices hindered by poor execution. Unfortunately, but inevitably, that does cost it quite a few metaphorical points in the long run.
So, the question remains: is it worth playing? Well, yeah, sure it is! It’s an Equestria Daily shoot ’em up. That exists, y’all. Honestly, I’d figure that’s really more than enough reason to at least take a peek at it! Admittedly, though, the novelty doesn’t really make up for the technical and gameplay issues in the long run; so if you’re in the market for something decently replayable for the gameplay, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.
Speaking strictly of the concept and the art design, this game takes the idea of an EQD video game in an unexpectedly neat direction. Technically speaking, however, the overall experience is marred due to relatively poor gameplay and a small stable of annoying technical issues. Points for concept, but not execution.

EQD Clicker is exactly what it says on the tin: a Cookie Clicker derivative based on the day-to-day operations of Sethisto and Equestria Daily. To quote the creator, Marshmallow Supernova:
Have you ever wanted to be an internet superstar? Now you can – LITERALLY – with this exciting clicking game that I have dedicated hours of my life to making.
EQD Clicker is an uncannily lifelike simulator of the website Equestria Daily. Thrill as you take the role of brave Sethisto and attempt to carve out a Brony empire and fulfill your lifelong dream of marrying Trixie

Mechanically speaking, the game actually runs on the Cookie Clicker engine, and thus plays exactly the same. To explain for those unfamiliar: the objective is to generate a whole lot of a certain thing (usually cookies, this time hits, users for your horse blog and “Brony Bucks”) by clicking the hell out of the logo on the screen. As you accumulate more of said item and whatever monetary unit your variant uses (this time being the aforementioned “Brony Bucks”), you’re able to purchase “buildings” (“ staff” in this instance) which will generate more of that item automatically at a much faster clip. Additionally, you can also purchase upgrades for them periodically, which increases their overall production by a certain multiplier or percentage. Typically, you win once you’ve reached a certain milestone or some other objective and unlock the final item, which itself can be anything from “kickstart the apocalypse” to, in this case, fulfilling Seth’s lifelong dream.

Honestly, even though the whole Cookie Clicker thing is fairly played out at this point, I’m actually impressed with the idea of using it as the basis for a satirical horseblog simulator. It actually fits better than I would have imagined, so points for execution! I honestly can’t say I would’ve thought of that.
Seeing as it’s, quote, “ an uncannily lifelike simulator of the website Equestria Daily ,” you can imagine that everything in-game is played for laughs. Unsurprisingly, as unlocking them is essentially the bulk of the game, almost all of it stems from the upgrades themselves and their flavor text. Below is just a small sampling of the ways you too can improve your Equestria Daily™ blogging experience.

That small list (unfortunately!) doesn’t include my particular favorites: the gigantic list of unlockable waifus for Seth (which, naturally, boost your personal efficiency) and the “Hire” and “Fire Knighty” upgrades, which promise to upgrade your horse browsing experience and make the blog run at a staggering 60 fps, and then summarily undoing all of said upgrades in a frenzied panic, respectively. Fantastic.
While the pony-flavored shenanigans are all well and good, though, EQD Clicker is simply a Cookie Clicker re-skin (literally) at its core, and as a result of that there are a few pitfalls and limitations that kind of put a damper on things.
First, and as the creator his/herself admits, things tend to be a little bit unbalanced, and especially so once you’re well into the game. Specifically, the building price-to-efficiency ratio scales increasingly off-kilter the higher up you go. While the prices are typically meant to outstrip what you’re generating, the prices scale high enough after a certain point that after having bought most upgrades, it adds a ridiculous amount of waiting time between purchases that ends up making things far too tedious to want to deal with.
Secondly, and as you can probably imagine, the game’s kind of lacking in the replayability department. Seriously, this game is short, yo. While the original had more than enough content and took enough time between unlocking that content that you could play it literally forever, in this version your only real achievement after you’ve married Trixie is this:
Which, naturally, leads to this:
That’s pretty much all there is to it, unfortunately. Admittedly, it’s expecting. way more than too much to have a satirical horseblog version of Cookie Clicker to have an equivalent amount of variety, but I honestly can’t shake the feeling of disappointment. I’m well are that there’s only so much blood you can squeeze out of this particular stone, but I really was left wanting more after it was over. Not to mention that simply tanking site quality after marrying Trixie, while definitely chuckleworthy, doesn’t really make for even a remotely satisfying ending in the first place, especially for one that comes up so quickly.
…Oh, and I guess I should mention that Unicon Bits do absolutely nothing as far as I can tell, but, hey, thatsthejoke.jpg.
Question is, is this particular EQD game worth a shot? Definitely! While it’s relatively short and has its share of weirdness, very much like Equestria Daily: The Game, the experience is worth the five or ten minutes you put into it. Admittedly, that’s probably about as much as you’ll really want to invest, since you’ll see everything there is to see after that long. Not much point in putting in any more than that, unfortunately.
Combining the ambient addictiveness of Cookie Clicker with a plethora of playful jabs at EQD and the pony news scene makes for a really interesting experience. While there’s a few (very) noticeable issues like imbalances and a rather unsatisfying endgame, said experience allows you to look past them for the relatively short playtime.

So, I suppose with that little review-slash-recap out of the way, we can finally actually talk about how the two stack up against one another!
Really, comparing the two requires a bit more thought than I was prepared for. I mean, somehow, some way, two different people managed to look at Equestria Daily and say “yeah, I think I can spin a game out of this,” and they did. I’m not totally sure as to why, but I’m still having a bit of a time wrapping my head around the fact that these even exist , honestly.
In all, while both games certainly do interesting things by the name of Equestria Daily and horsebloggery as a whole, the way they do so are vastly different from one another. EQD:TG focuses solely on the blog’s personalities rather than the blog itself, and the neat little story crafted around them: an American-style trek through an email infested Equestria in order to finally catch a break from their oppressively full inbox. E QD Clicker , on the other hand, takes another road entirely and focuses, for the most part, on the blog itself, eschewing most personalities sans Sethisto in favor of both the site and all those involved with it collectively.
When you think about it, it seems that whether or not one game does the “EQD game” concept better than the other would mostly depend on what one would look for in such a thing. If you’re looking for something that focuses more on the personalities themselves and taking the concept in a wonderfully silly direction reflective of the blog’s innate eccentricity, EQD:TG would be the game for you. However, if you’re looking for something focusing much more literally on the blog itself, especially with all of the snarky-ness essentially a given, and that plays much more smoothly, EQD Clicker would be more your speed.
At the end of the day, I’m inclined to swing things in Equestria Daily: The Game ‘s favor. While EQD Clicker is undeniably the better game from a technical standpoint and a decent game in its own right, it’s EQD:TG that embodies more of the… well, I suppose the term would be “EQD spirit.” Somehow, taking the concept of an Equestria Daily game in the unexpectedly silly shoot-em-up/platformer direction feels incredibly apropos, especially as compared to a largely straight-played blog simulator, despite its largely satirical bent.
As far as my personal opinion is concerned, which is what this essentially boils down to, I feel that it’s one thing to make an “Equestria Daily” game, but it’s another thing entirely to make an “Equestria Daily ” game, if you catch my drift. Not truly having the proper feel for a game like that is what, by and large, costs EQD Clicker the metaphorical “win” in the end.
tl;dr: They’re incredibly different games despite sharing the same muse. EQD: The Game is a more whimsical adventure-type game while EQD Clicker plays it somewhat straighter as a satrical “blog sim.” EQD Clicker is the superior game technically, but doesn’t invoke what I feel to be the spirit/feel of the blog like EQD:TG does, thus it metaphorically “loses” in comparison.

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