Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: April 2009

What is a flamethrower?

It’s a container with flammable liquids being squirted in a stream through a sort of gun part, like a hose. This liquid is ignited as it leaves the gun, usually by a form of source of fire at the tip of the gun. The not ignited liquid then continues as a jet, emitted from the flamethrower, more or less in the same fashion as a jet of water would from a gardening hose. Anything and everything that the burning liquid touches will, naturally, catch fire as well.

But, the point is, it’s a jet. It’s designed to squirt liquid at a good distance, not to spray it in a cloud just in front of the wielder of the weapon, burning the wielder to a crisp in a second.

This is a flamethrower.


Now, what really grinds my gears is that there are plenty of games with weapons called just that – “flamethrowers” – but hardly any of these actually act even remotely like a flamethrower should. Instead of squirting a devastating jet of burning liquid, creating an infernal arc, sticking to every surface and scorching it… they puff little clouds of fire. Puff. Puff. Like a little spray can, puffing yellow glowing balls of cotton.

Like this.

Yellow glowing cotton puffer

Puff. Pffft. Poooh. Puh. Pfff…

A flamethrower doesn’t puff out clouds of fire that somehow just floats, burning in the air for a bit. They emit a stream of flammable liquid, which flies in a jet that eventually falls to the ground. It doesn’t just puff out in a straight line, vanishing in the air.

Only a very few times, I think, have I ever played a game that shows the flamethrower for the devastating monster it really is. With punch, and many cases a fair distance as well, where it’s not just magical flames slowly drifting off, burning using gravity-defying cotton as fuel.

Only in Renegade (if I’m not mistaken) does the flamethrower actually squirt flammable liquids, set on fire as it leaves the gun – or not so that you can spray fuel around and wait for a nice opportunity to set it on fire.

It’s simple stuff you learn in elementary school when you are taught the fire triangle. Simply put it’s heat, oxygen and fuel. Not just heat and oxygen. Where is the fuel? What is in the tank? Gas? Really? Ka-boom, anyone?

You either make a cute little puffer wich no punch or range whatsoever, or you make a freaking fearsome FLAMETHROWER leaving burning pools of fuel and destruction everywhere. It’s a huge difference, and once you’ve tried any game with a flamethrower with real punch you will understand exactly what I mean.

A real flamethrower would kick most weapons’ asses in most shooter games, at least at a normal shooter game range. Maybe that’s why developers makes them into puffers. Puff. Pfft.

But please, for the love of something that could be really fucking awesome, leave the flamethrower out of your game if you can’t make one that lives up to the name!