Gone in a Flash



24 year of flash games and animation may soon be gone

Adian Kline, Writer

As 2020 comes to an end, we can’t help but reflect on all the major things that have happened over this year. A lot of bad things have happened over this past year and unfortunately, another bad thing is going to be added to this list very soon. Now, if you’re anything like me when I was young, you would most often spend a lot of your free time on the internet playing browser games and watching stupid animations on a computer or laptop. A lot of these games and videos have a special place in my heart because of how often I would play games like Fancy Pant Adventures, Bloons Tower Defense, The Impossible Quiz, Rubble Trouble, and many others. 

 I would also often rewatch a lot of animations like stick fight, Animator vs Animation, and a lot of parodies of video games. Well, if you have noticed over this year, a pop up that you may see when you open your chrome that says “Flash Player will no longer be supported after December 2020.”

Now, you’re probably wondering how this relates to all the things I was talking about with games and videos. Well, all of those games and videos were made and supported by Flash, which means when Flash is gone they are gone. This means  a good amount of games, videos and even whole websites like Newgrounds, Kongregate, Armor Games, and even Cool Math Games will basically be gone because of support being shut down.

 Now, of course, this has been a long time coming with HTML 5 taking over the internet slowly and steadily. Also, with this being hinted at all the way back in 2017, we have had some time to think about how to save all of these games and videos. As of now, a lot of famous Flash websites like Newgrounds are launching their own player, in this case, the Newgrounds Player, which will be a downloadable player for the website so you play and watch any videos on it. Also, many big creators of these things like Sr Pelo, Puffballs, Edmund McMillian and Jonochrome have either transferred their videos to a YouTube format, rerelease the games in bundles to play on your computer, or redo the things just so it can work after Flash’s death. This is great because the history of the internet is still staying safe and even some of the creators are getting more well-diverse support and more fans.  But not all creations are created equal; some will never come back due to not being on any big sites or not getting any support from their creators. 

This brings up a good question of how we should handle preserving internet history because why shouldn’t internet history be different from preserving a painting in a museum or keeping documents and writing in storage. There already have been some big projects that launched to help perceive some of the Flash’s history like BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint, which is a group made a project that been in the work since 2017 and has saved over 78,000 Flash games or animations.

The project was made by a big community of people, who were volunteers, all over the world helping to save Flash games and animations. Best of all, the application is completely free and can run on over 20 different platforms. Another project is called, Ruffle which aims to be a plugin that will make the Flash content on a website and try to autofill and make it back to what it was. Ruffle is as well an open-source project that was made by volunteers, and not only does Ruffles help keep places that use Flash still up, but it also lets you able to use the plugin on your phone as well, which means you could be playing games like Run 2, World’s Hardest Game, or Papa’s Pizzeria on the go. 

But of course, not all of Flash will be saved, some are just so old or broken down that people can not figure out how to convert them all, plus with over a million different Flash games, not all are going to be looked at with a fine brush to see if they will be able to work through this conversion. So for some of these small or obscure games and animations, it may be the last days left on the internet until they are wiped away on January 12, 2021. So if you can look back at some of the game and animations before they are gone, because some of them will never come back and may die with Flash. Also if you can support some of the projects and people helping to keep the history of Flash, because those people poured hours into keeping it alive for not even a penny. Now with that, I am going to go back and play some Cool Math Games for what may be, but hopefully not, the last time.


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