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Agar.io

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Agar.io
Agar.io appstore logo.png
Agar.io mobile logo
Publisher(s)Miniclip (mobile)(PC)
Designer(s)Matheus Valadares[1]
Platform(s)Browser, Android, iOS
ReleaseBrowser
28 April 2015[2]
Android, iOS
24 July 2015
Genre(s)Action
Mode(s)Multiplayer

Agar.io[a] is a massively multiplayer online action game created by Brazilian[3] developer Matheus Valadares. Players control one or more cells in a map representing a Petri dish. The goal is to gain as much mass as possible by eating agar and cells smaller than the player's cell while avoiding larger ones which can eat the player's cells. Each player starts with one cell, but players can split a cell into two once it reaches a sufficient mass, allowing them to control multiple cells. The name comes from the substance agar, used to culture bacteria.

The game was released to positive critical reception; critics particularly praised its simplicity, competition, and mechanics, while criticism targeted its repetitive gameplay. Largely due to word of mouth on social networks, it was a quick success, becoming one of the most popular web and mobile games in its first year.[4] A Steam version was announced on 3 May 2015 (though never released as of May 2019), while the mobile version of Agar.io for iOS and Android was released on 24 July 2015 by Miniclip. Agar.io has inspired similar web games called ".io games", including games with a similar objective but different characters, and games that incorporate elements of other genres like shooter games.[3]

Gameplay[edit]

Agar.io gameplay; this shows only a small fraction of an Agar.io map. There are four cells on this screenshot. One of the cells is a drawing of Doge, an Internet meme.

The objective of Agar.io is to grow a cell on a Petri dish by swallowing both randomly generated pellets (agar), which slightly increases a cell's mass, and smaller cells, without being swallowed by larger cells.[5] The browser version currently holds five game modes: FFA (Free-For-All), Battle Royale, Teams, Experimental and Party. The mobile version of the game includes FFA (Free-For-All), Rush Mode and Battle Royale mode. The goal of the game is to obtain the largest cell; players must restart when all their cells are eaten. Players can change their cell's appearance with predefined words, phrases, symbols or skins.[6] The more mass a cell has, the slower it will move.[7] Cells gradually lose a small amount of mass over time.[8]

Viruses are green, spiky circles that split large cells. Viruses are normally randomly generated, but can also be generated when receiving enough mass, to the point of splitting into two, hence creating a new virus.[9]

Players can split their cell into two, and one of the two evenly divided cells will be flung in the direction of the cursor. This can be used as a ranged attack to shoot a cell in order to swallow other smaller cells or to escape an attack and move quickly around the map.[10] Split cells eventually merge back into one cell. Aside from feeding viruses, players can release a small fraction of their mass to feed other cells, an action commonly recognized as an intention to team with another player.[11] However, a small portion of the ejected mass is lost.[12] Players can also spawn from ejected mass.[12]

Development[edit]

Agar.io was announced on 4chan on 28 April 2015 by Matheus Valadares, a 19-year-old Brazilian developer.[13] Written in JavaScript and C++, the game was developed in a few days.[14] The game originally did not have a name, and users had to connect to Valadares' IP address in order to play. The name Agar.io was suggested by an anonymous user on 4chan, as other domain names such as cell.io were already taken.[13] Valadares continued updating and adding new features to the game, such as an experience system and an "experimental" game mode for testing experimental features.[15] One week later, Agar.io entered Steam Greenlight with Valadares announcing a future free-to-play version of the game for download. He planned to include features in the Steam version not available in the browser version, including additional gamemodes, custom styling, and an account system. It was approved for listing on Steam due to community interest.[16] However, the Greenlight program was shut down in 2017,[17] and the announced game has yet to be released.

On 24 July 2015, Miniclip published a mobile version of Agar.io for iOS and Android. Sergio Varanda, head of mobile at Miniclip, explained that the main goal of the mobile version was to "recreate the gaming experience" on mobile, citing the challenges with recreating the game on touchscreen controls.[18]

Reception[edit]

Agar.io was released to a positive critical reception. Particular praise was given to the simplicity, competition, and mechanics of the game. Engadget described the game as "a good abstraction of the fierce survival-of-the-fittest competition that you sometimes see on the microscopic level."[19] Toucharcade praised its simplicity, strategic element, and "personality."[20]

Criticism was mainly targeted towards its repetitiveness and the controls of the mobile version. Tom Christiansen of Gamezebo was mixed on the game, saying that there was "nothing to hold my attention" and that it was "highly repetitive, overall."[21] Pocket Gamer, reviewing the mobile version, described its controls as "floaty."[22]

Because it was frequently propagated through social media and broadcast on Twitch.tv[7] and YouTube,[23] Agar.io was a quick success. The agar.io website (for the browser version) was ranked by Alexa as one of the 1,000 most visited websites[24] and the mobile versions were downloaded more than ten million times during their first week.[25] During 2015, Agar.io was Google's most searched video game.[26] It was Google's second-most searched game in the United States in 2016.[27] A 2015 press release by Miniclip stated that Agar.io was listed as the fifth top game on YouTube’s list of top games.[28]

During the campaigns of the June 2015 Turkish elections, Agar.io was used in Turkey as a medium of political advocacy; many players were naming their cells after Turkish political parties and references, with alliances formed between players with similar political views, battling against other players with opposing views.[29] Some political parties have used Agar.io in campaign posters as a symbol of support.[6]

Agar.io was featured (including some details of its gameplay as well as a shot of an actual game) in "Chapter 48" of Netflix TV-series House of Cards.[30] Its gameplay was compared to the presidential campaigning.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sometimes called or pronounced "agario" (/ˈɡɑːr, ˈɑː-/).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Agar.io, le nouveau jeu phénomène sur iPhone/iPad et Android". Pockett.net (in French). Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  2. ^ Irmak, Şafak. "İnternetin Yeni Çılgınlığı: Agar.io" [The Internet's new craze: Agar.io]. Webtekno (in Turkish).
  3. ^ a b Takahashi, Dean (2017). "The surprising momentum behind games like Agar.io". VentureBeat. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Why You Should Care About Agar.io". App Annie. 28 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Eat and be eaten: How to survive and thrive in Agar.io". Digital Trends. 14 September 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b Grayson, Nathan. "A Game That's Become A Political Battleground". Kotaku (America). Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  7. ^ a b Livingston, Christopher. "Agario: the dot-gobbling browser game that's a hit on Twitch". PC Gamer. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Comment battre vos collègues au jeu en ligne Agar.io" [How to beat your colleagues in the online game Agar.io]. Le Monde (in French). "Enfin chaque joueur perd de la masse." ("Finally each player loses mass.")
  9. ^ "Comment battre vos collègues au jeu en ligne Agar.io" [How to beat your colleagues in the online game Agar.io]. Le Monde (in French). "Il doit composer avec les autres compétiteurs, mais aussi avec les virus, des boules de taille moyenne qui feront éclater les joueurs les plus gros en plusieurs morceaux, les laissant vulnérables ... Il est possible de faire se dupliquer les virus en leur tirant dessus plusieurs fois avec la touche W." ("They [the player] must deal with other competitors, but also with viruses, balls of medium size that split the biggest players into several pieces, leaving them vulnerable ... It is possible to duplicate viruses by shooting them several times with the W key.")
  10. ^ "Agar.io: a guide to the hit game – and the best tips to win". The Week. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Comment battre vos collègues au jeu en ligne Agar.io" [How to beat your colleagues in the online game Agar.io]. Le Monde (in French). "Le plus gros est, par exemple, nourri par ses amis qui viennent volontairement se faire manger." ("The biggest are, for example, fed by their friends who come voluntarily to be eaten.")
  12. ^ a b "changelog.txt". 11 February 2017. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  13. ^ a b Anonymous. "No.292440446". 4chan (archived by archived.moe). Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Efsane oyunun geliştiricisi ile kısa bir söyleşi yaptık". Kafakutu (in Turkish). 13 May 2015. Archived from the original on 26 August 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  15. ^ "The new Agar.io mobile update – what's new?". Miniclip. 3 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Steam Greenlight: Agar.io". Steam. Archived from the original on 18 June 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  17. ^ Sarkar, Samit (2017). "Valve shuts down Steam Greenlight, replacing it next week". Polygon. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  18. ^ Gordon, Scott. "Agar.io: can the Play Store's top game continue to grow?". AndroidPit. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  19. ^ Fingas, Jon. "Agar.io brings massively multiplayer games to the Petri dish". Engadget. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  20. ^ Carter, Chris. "'Agar.io' Review – The Amoeba Boys (and Girls)". Toucharcade. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  21. ^ Christiansen, Tom. "Agar.io Review: Bursting Your Bubble". Gamezebo. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  22. ^ Fox, Glen. "Agar.io review". Pocket Gamer. Steel Media.
  23. ^ Matuk, Pablo. "Agar.io, el nuevo y sencillo juego de moda" [Agar.io, the new and simple game in fashion]. Unocero (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 1 August 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  24. ^ "agar.io Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Archived from the original on 28 August 2015.
  25. ^ "How Agari.io conquered the App Store, without spending a penny". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  26. ^ "Agar.io, Fallout 4, Mortal Kombat X in Google's most searched games in 2015". International Business Times. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  27. ^ Fitzpatrick, Alex (13 December 2016). "These Were the Most-Googled Video Games of 2016". Time. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  28. ^ "Agar.io is #5 on YouTube's list of top games". corporate.miniclip.com. 22 December 2015.
  29. ^ "Web game becomes latest battlefield in Turkish politics". Hurriyet Daily News. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  30. ^ "Miniclip's Agar.io features in 'House of Cards' season 4". Business Insider Deutschland. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016.

External links[edit]