Minotaur China Shop (Out Now!)

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: December 11th, 2008

From the creators of such wonders as Jetpack Brontosaurus and Off-Road Velociraptor Safari comes a game so objectively awesome it would make even King Minos proud. Minotaur China Shop is Flashbang‘s latest opus, chronicling the day-to-day struggles of Ben Ruiz The Minotaur, fresh out of the Labyrinth, pursuing his lifelong dream of selling fine china. But it’s so much more than that. It’s also a commentary on such sensitive topics as mental illness, discrimination, and capitalism, to name but a few.

In the game you, The Minotaur, must navigate your new shop, delivering various items to a stream of fantastical (but paying!) customers. However, being a big, clumsy minotaur, this is easier said than done. You will often find yourself knocking over and breaking your own precious inventory. Break enough and you will enter MINOTAUR RAGE, a “crippling psychological condition.” Fortunately, your insurance covers any damage done while enraged.

The game lasts five business days, with a chance to upgrade stats and abilities in between. A high score is tallied at the end. As with all titles available through Blurst, Minotaur China Shop is free to play. (And hilarious.) Check it out!

NOTE: You will need to download the Unity plugin to play. But it’s quick and painless, so just do it.

TIGdb: Entry for Minotaur China Shop

  • http://www.tscreative.net BMcC

    More like WINotaur! Yuck yuck.

  • Derek

    More games should make failing this fun.

  • Steve Swink


    Hope people enjoy it!

  • Bad Sector


    Why don’t they put a DOWNLOAD button in there? There is nothing that makes this game “web-only” and requires some arcane custom plugin which only a couple of sites use.

    So, how about adding an option to download the game for those who don’t want to download and install extra plugins?

  • Wants to play

    It consistently crashes Firefox when I click “Play as guest”. ;_;

  • http://www.tscreative.net BMcC

    @BadSector: It’s actually a rather _new_ plugin for the Unity engine, which is on the rise.

    But how is downloading the entire game better than downloading a much smaller plugin? Also, the Blurst site is going to keep track of your account, with leaderboards and achievements and all that.

  • Bad Sector

    I don’t really care about the “added value” of adding a plugin to my browser which might introduce security or -actually more likely- stability issues and consume more memory than is needed to visit 99.99999% of the sites out there.

    Besides, the plugin doesn’t contain the game, which will end getting transferred via the network cables anyway. So its basically the same downloading the game via a plugin or via my download manager.

  • http://blurst.com Matthew

    Wants to play: Can you drop us an email? We’d love to help you track down your issue: [email protected]

    There are various reasons we don’t offer download versions of the games (and we can produce them by changing a radio button on build options, too). If you’re interested I can get into it…

  • Nemo07

    Huh… it’s odd to see a game so fervently encourage failure/insurance fraud, by which I mean becoming enraged, tearing up the place, and then being rewarded for it. From what I’ve seen the insurance coverage also seems to be a better/easier strategy than carefully walking around and selling your china.

    Tearing up the store is ever so much fun. :)

  • sinoth

    Matthew, I’d love to hear your reasons for staying browser-only. I’ve enjoyed your games, but I dislike having to install a plugin that isn’t used for anything else.

    I know from one standpoint, once you assume the plugin is installed then playing a game is a nice one-step process. Visit site and bam, you’re good to go. Unfortunately, since this plugin is rare, playing your game becomes a two-step process with a cumbersome first step.

    Another issue is control. When you download an archive, extract it, and run the game inside, you have control over what is happening to your computer. A simple delete of the folder and you’re back to where you started. We really have no idea what that browser plugin is doing and have to trust that it (and our browser) will behave.

  • mots

    so far so good, seems the unity plugin is solid and performance is good.

    Of course I’ve only seen demos by capable developers, as with flash quality can be across the board, so who knows how bad it can behave.

  • Noyb

    @Nemo07 You still need to get good enough at selling in the early game so that you can reach more profitable insurance fraud early. And with how slow patrons come in compared to your ability to break things, it’s usually profitable to enter rage mode late in the day and smash stuff in overtime.

  • bateleur

    I’d like to hear the discussion of why browser only too. (My perspective is slightly different, though – I don’t particularly favour downloads, I’m just interested in different business models!)

  • Etaoin Shirdlu

    I’ve had Unity installed in Firefox for several months, and I haven’t had any problems.

  • Etaoin Shirdlu

    Although the sound crackles when I’m playing Unity games. Never got around to looking into that…

  • Unity

    Eww, Skofo. lol

  • http://www.tscreative.net BMcC

    The Unity plugin is perfectly safe. And the Unity engine is great. I happen to know a number of excellent developers who have started using it…

  • http://news.bigdownload.com James Murff

    Ben Ruiz is a master of sexual bondage tricks.

    Ben Ruiz is a bear of a man.

    Ben Ruiz is a man of a bear.

    Ben Ruiz can destroy china shops using only his massive, titanium-hard fists.

    Ben Ruiz is the best. Or possibly the Ben Ruiz-iest.

    (Sorry, I had to. Love the game! Wrote a Freeware Friday on it a’cause I just love this game and Flashbang so much.)

  • Blake

    Hmm, well it looks nice, but I can’t get the Minotaur to walk around (arrow keys didn’t work in-game)

  • http://blurst.com/blog/ Steve Swink

    @Blake: What browswer and OS?

    Unity plugin current doesn’t play nice with Google Chrome – specifically, the input doesn’t work – but that’s going to be fixed with the 2.5 update :).

  • Squrza

    Unity wasn’t working in Opera either, although it was working fine in Firefox for me (Vista).

  • caliber9

    im guessing that they do not put the game up for downloads because they need hits to generate income from the advertisements since the game is completely free.

  • PHeMoX

    Great game! Plenty of substance and definitely more fun than the flying dinosaur game.

    Some things I’ve noticed:

    -controls are good, but the physics at times are more annoying than helpful
    (I’ve got to admit though, it does help the game in that you need to be careful about what you’re doing as in a real situation)

    -movement can be a pain because it lacks fluidness, but when speed increases it gets better

    -Smashing things or selling things, early on it seems selling things is the way to go. Not sure if I would call this well balanced, but at least we’ve got a good choice of strategy here! :)

    All in all, great game! Best one yet and I really like Offroad Velociraptor Safari as well.

  • Blake

    Well, that’s the problem- I’m using Chrome!

  • Sigvatr

    Coming soon from Flashbang: Austrian Kindergarten Pyromaniac

  • Cybolt

    Looks awesome from what I’ve seen of it from the trailer but can’t seem to play it for some reason. Game runs fine until just after the upgrades screen and then I don’t see the shop but I can hear everything working in the background (stuff breaks, messages come up, etc.) but no view of the shop itself. Used Firefox then tried on IE for that matter. =/

  • http://www.bestgameever.com Dylan

    Still laughing :)

    I’ve already emailed it to several friends – everybody needs to play this!

  • http://blurst.com Matthew

    OK, on why we don’t do download versions:

    There are a bunch of reasons. The simple version is that we think it’s easier to accomplish what we want to accomplish with Blurst by using the web player instead of standalone. These goals include:

    – Community. It makes more sense to wrap a browser around our games rather than give people downloads and hope they come back to the site. There’s quite a bit of placeholder widgets on Blurst in its current form, but they’ll slowly be replaced with leaderboards, achievements, friend functionality, and so on. This kind of stuff just works better with games in the web; people are already in the midset of jumping around (from game to game, or game to leaderboard, or forums, or our blog, etc).

    – Control. It’s ironic sinoth brought up control from the point of the user–which I totally understand–but we’re actually trying to increase control as a developer. With Raptor Safari we did something like 20 pushes inside of two days after launch, fixing all kinds of bugs and performance problems. Releasing to web means we can release sooner and trust that if we do hit problems we can fix them transparently, without new builds/patches/autopatches/whatever. Yes, there are complicated solutions that could act like Steam for updates, but we’re only six people and can’t afford the time to build that infrastructure.

    – On Trust. I do get people may have trust issues with a newer plugin. We have to work through that, but Unity is a savvy company who realizes what they’re up against (their product evangelist was on Director for years). Flash is a plugin, and people have to trust that Flash content will be sandboxed and won’t fuck with your system. Unity will eventually have that trust.

    – Feedback. We’re moving into an 8-week dev cycle in 2009. Part of this will be interacting very heavily with our users: posting prototypes, early betas, and so on. This also makes more sense in a web context, because it’s easy to push messages on people when they visit the site (“oh hey–you’re on our beta list and we just posted a new version! go check it out…”). Yes, you can do this in standalone games, but it feels surprisingly intrusive. People are quite used to websites telling them these kinds of things.

    – Expectation. People expect a certain kind of experience with web games, and we’re leaning into that with short dev cycles and propensity for experimentation. We can get away with a little less production and a little less play time on a web game. We’re basically reserving standalone builds for future use (maybe as a feature when we roll out subscriptions, or maybe for longer and better games).

    A lot of the above boils down to keeping people on Blurst.com, where we can better talk to them (both as human developers and more abstractly as a system designed to build community). And, yeah, one potential goal might be keeping them on our site for advertising purposes, although we actually have zero plans to do that. The banner space up there now is populated with cross-game links to our own stuff, and we plan to open it up to promotion of fellow indie titles (at the low, low price of absolutely free).

    Totally open to discussion on this! Curious what people think of our reasoning…

  • MikeK

    You make more money off of the insurance than selling the items!? Thats fucking awesome!

  • eobet

    If it is browser based, can it then be played in OS X? Safari?

  • PHeMoX

    @Matthew: Makes a lot of sense to me. I’d go with a browser-based solution if the engine I’m using would support it. I am thinking about switching to Unity though, as it’s definitely the future as far as the whole DRM issue, illegal copying and what more.

    People will get more and more tolerant towards these kinds of solutions anyways.

  • eumelyn

    I feel so bad for this poor minotaur. He obviously loves fine china and it’s not his fault he’s so clumsy. To top it off he can’t control his anger and has to resort to insurance fraud to keep his business afloat.

    A very sad game indeed.

  • http://blurst.com Matthew

    @eobet: Yes and yes. No Linux support for Unity, yet, although it’s coming at some point (Miguel de Icaza, Mono/GNOME, is working on it).

  • Uesugi

    Matthew, I like what Unity is doing and plan to do some development with their nifty framework in the near future. BUT I’m not about to install their plugin.

    I realize you’re trying to bootstrap a community by limiting access to your games, but sorry I’ll just go elsewhere. Love the idea of the game though, and I’m sure it’s fun.

    Best of luck.

  • rz.

    Uesugi: you’re fucking weird. wow.

  • http://blurst.com/blog Steve Swink

    @Uesugi: So, you don’t play Flash games? You’ve never played a game on Kongregate, miniclip, or Newgrounds because you resent installing a plugin and, thusly, their attempts to “limit access” to their games?

    I guess I just don’t get where you’re coming from.

  • Daftmouse

    Why are so many of these comments whining about unity and not talking about the pure awesomeness of this game?

  • Bob

    Awesome game!…but the sound isn’t working for me…

  • Mark

    Unity is great, and this game is fantastic. I managed to make off with about 1.8 million in insurance claims!

  • PHeMoX

    Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to want to make games with Unity in the near future, but at the same time refuse to install the required plug-ins yourself, for basically free-to-play games.

    If you want FlashBang to continue making games, you’ll have to support them, but they are definitely not forcing anyone.

  • Gr.Viper

    Strangely, unlike Unity Flash is quite often used not only for games but also as a design and interface element not to mention video playback.

    And a (very) large number of flash games can be easily downloaded and played at any time off HDD with a standalone player. Some are locked and unplayable if downloaded but why on earth Unity game makers start off with the same nonsense…

  • Uesugi

    Yeah, I already knew I was weird. I’ll make downloadable games with Unity. Forcing someone to install a Unity or Yoyo or X plugin to play a game just isn’t my thing. Same goes with Flash, but somehow everyone (me included) already has Flash.

  • Chris

    Early adopters get to play more games, but you’re certainly entitled to abstain. (;