Adobe today put another nail in the coffin of Flash, making it so the Flash Player can no longer play all these games and animations and things. The company announced officially ended support for the Flash Player on December 31st, after prophesising its death back in 2017, and today they straight stop it from working. However, you can still play and watch a lot of the Flash classics, thanks to the efforts of enthusiast archivists.
“Since Adobe is no longer supporting Flash Player after the EOL Date, Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning 12 January 2021 to help secure users’ systems,” the company say. “Flash Player may remain on the user’s system unless the user uninstalls it.”
I suppose you could create a wee memorial for FlashPlayer on your computer. Fill its folder with .txt files reminiscing about the good times. Surround its icon with pictures of flowers. Or at least say some kind words before clicking the uninstall button.
A whole lot of Internet history will be lost with the end of Flash, but a whole lot already is – who knows how many sites, hosts, and portals went down over the years before folks thought to preserve them. Thankfully, people have made efforts to save what they could since Adobe announced the end.
BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint project boasts of saving over 70,000 games and 8,000 animations running in Flash and other obsolete plugins, gathering them in a launcher that can still run them today. Prolific Flash game publishers Armor Games are preserving their own using a Flash emulator. The Internet Archive’s Flash library has a couple thousand as well, playable in your browser. Yes, the IA archive has the All Your Base Are Belong To Us music video.
Web games still live on, of course, enabled by other newfangled technologies like HTML5. But I still feel nostalgic pangs watching Flash go.
It’s a terrible shame that Flash is remembered by so many for obnoxious banner ads more than its many treats. Being able to play a game or watch a cartoon just by clicking a link in your browser was magical 20 years ago. Even now, that vector art is crisper than a YouTube video. Bit of a shame that nostalgic revivals of vintage video game aesthetics have so far largely skipped the quaintly amateurish look of so many Flash games. That wasn’t the only style Flash could do, but there was a distinct charming energy of people learning it as they made their very first game or toon to share with the world. An age of creativity and enthusiasm which created a lot of web culture as we know it.
Please share your memories and favourites in the comments, gang. Punch the monkey one last time.