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Falling Sand Games

This is a particular type of particle simulation physics sandbox game. Although I cannot remember for sure, I believe I discovered the genre towards the end of 2006 through AddictingGames, which listed various titles on its Web site; soon afterwards I also learned of the existence of the Web site, which hosted the exact same titles as AddictingGames and appeared to me the official site, and so from then on I would go to it, rather than AddictingGames, whenever I wanted to play. During the late 2000s, I would sporadically return to and play the games on it for stretches of perhaps a few days to a week at a time.

Sadly, as of November 2020, the Web site is no longer up, but fortunately, there are many Internet Archive captures of the site from the 2000s, complete with fully working versions of all but one of the games: Etch A Sketch Sand seems to load somewhat, but does not function correctly, while Falling Sand (along with its smaller version), Hell of Sand (along with its smaller version), NEW Sand, Pyro Sand, Pyro Sand 2, and X Falling Sand are all playable. There also exists another archive of all the games from, including a functional version of Etch A Sketch Sand, which does not require a Web browser that supports Java applets to play. (I thank A-Rok for bringing this to my attention.) I am quite sure that NEW Sand was the first one I played, which managed to keep me occupied for a while; it was only later, when I had grown bored of it, that I began exploring the other titles.

The main draw of these games is using the mouse to spawn particles of various materials (e.g. sand, water, oil, salt, fire), and then observing how they react with each other: fire burns oil, water extinguishes fire, sand is inert, etc. Each individual game also has its own unique features: Falling Sand, Hell of Sand, and X Falling Sand have a slug, which moves around the screen randomly, grows in size whenever exposed to water particles, and shrinks (and eventually dies) whenever exposed to salt particles; Hell of Sand and NEW Sand have zombies, which are little stick figures that slowly walk across the screen, and which also react to the various materials; NEW Sand has seeds, which can be planted on the ground to grow little trees within the game; and Pyro Sand and Pyro Sand 2 introduce explosive materials like gunpowder, napalm, and nitro. It is also possible to build intricate structures within the game, the only limit being the player's imagination.

Of course, the games listed on weren't the only members of the genre, but they were the only ones I ever bothered to play for any significant amount of time. They were all written in Java and distributed over the Web as Java applets, which, unfortunately, many browsers these days do not support. I can verify that all the copies on the Internet Archive (listed above) load successfully in Internet Explorer, and all but one (namely, Etch A Sketch Sand) work properly, but I have not bothered to test their functionality in other Web browsers—it hardly matters, though, because you should be using Internet Explorer as your primary browser, anyway. For what reason would you want to miss out on the power of Java applets, which, I will remind you, will never die? Java applets will never die

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This page last modified on 28 March 2021.