What Happened to Flash Games? Can You Still Play Them?

I can still remember the good old primary school days of playing CoolMathsGames in the middle of class. (Erm… I don’t encourage doing that. Make sure you pay attention to your work.) Anyway, not everybody is familiar with flash games: What they were? Where they have gone? And Why? Flash games do take up a spot in my heart, and I think it is important that they are remembered forever.

The year is 1996, and Jonathan Gay just invented the Flash Player. Flash, owned by Adobe, was intended for playing animations and graphics on websites, and it did a good job of doing just this for the first four years. However, after it got its own programming language in 2000, people found out that they could make games. Newgrounds was the first website ever where people could upload and play Flash games for free and quickly it boomed in popularity. Over the years, more and more games were created, and more and more websites hosted these games. Everything was great.

Xiao Xiao 2 by Zhu

Then we hit 2020. At the end of the year, Adobe made the decision to shut down the services that ran Flash Player, meaning websites that used it no longer functioned. Why would they take away something that we all loved so much? The answer to that question is very simple: evolution. 20 years is a long time for a technology to last, and the world is constantly spewing out new things all the time. HTML5 and WebGL are, simply put, more up to date than Flash is and objectively better. Therefore, Adobe decided that there were better things to put money and effort into, and closed Flash for good.

Now, despite Flash being gone, these pieces of internet history will not be lost forever. There are SWF players (Shockwave Flash), a type of software that can use old game files taken from their old websites and run them normally. Most websites and developers have transferred their games to other programming languages like HTML5, so quite a few old flash games have been salvaged and they are still playable. And even if the SWF players don’t work, or the game hasn’t been transferred to a different language, there will still be videos out there where you can watch people play these games.

Like I said, it is sad that Flash player had to leave, but it served us well for the time that it was around. At some point, we had to move on. I am glad that flash games will always be remembered as a part of the internet forever.

For all the great things that you have done, thank you, Jonathan Gay, thank you.

By YellowThing

Yellow has been enjoying playing a large variety of games for years now - from Portal to Stardew Valley, from Civilization to XCOM. Outside of gaming, he also enjoys listening to music and having a good time with his friends.

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