Adobe kills Flash by the end of 2020, but Flash games are an important part of internet history. Fortunately a community project with the name Flashpoint is coming up to save them. This way you can keep playing all your favorites in the near future.
In Memory of Adobe Flash
Adobe has announced that it will "stop updating and distributing the Flash Player by the end of 2020." The company encouraged content creators to migrate existing Flash content to & # 39; new and open formats & # 39 ;.
The web has not been present in Flash for years, because browser-based technologies, such as HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly, are becoming wider.
Unlike Flash, these open technologies do not require a third-party plug-in. Open source technology is often kept at a higher level of control. Anyone can view the source code and the probe for exploits or implement the technology in their own projects.
Plug-ins, such as Flash, the long-standing Silverlight and the notorious Java browser plug-in, work under a closed source development model. They are (were) maintained by a single entity that has posted all updates and fixes.
In the second half of the last decade, Flash developed a rocky reputation for its unbridled security flaws, many of which were zero-day exploits for those at risk.
Apple led the attack by making Flash a thing of the past. The company decided not to include Flash support on the iPhone, so a change had to be made that had already taken place far too late. Google forced people who used Chrome to run Flash in a sandbox and later completely blocked it by refusing to index pages with Flash content.
In 2020, few websites use Flash. What does this mean for the many animations and interactive games that made the internet so much fun at the start of the millennium?
How to play Flash Games with Flashpoint
Of course, the internet does not let classic Flash games disappear at night. The solution is Flashpoint from BlueMaxima, a free, open-source application for Windows (Mac and Linux versions are being made).
Flashpoint offers everything you need to play classic web games. It has a library of around 38,000 web games and 2,400 animations.
However, experimental Mac and Linux builds may not support the full catalog. During testing, we noticed that the Mac version currently supports slightly more than 30,000 games.
If you use Windows, you can choose between Flashpoint Ultimate or Infinity. Ultimate is the comprehensive package. It contains the entire archive of Flash content and requires approximately 300 GB of disk space to install.
Infinity allows you to download games on demand while you play them and requires only around 300 MB of free space. If you have a Linux or Mac machine, you have to do it with Infinity for now.
Download Flashpoint for Windows or grab the experimental Mac or Linux ports to get started. Start the Flashpoint launcher and view the catalog.
Click on the "Games" tab to get started. On the left you will see various compound games list, in addition to the extensive list & # 39; all games & # 39 ;. If you are looking for something specific, type it in the search field at the top of the window. When you find something you want to try, double-click it and wait until Flashpoint comes into action.
On the Mac version that we used, it took some time before the game was started. This is because Flashpoint must first launch the server, redirect all resources based on the game you play, and then open a custom browser window to display the content.
If you want to jump straight to the right things, check the "Flashpoint Hall of Fame" compiled list. You will certainly see some old favorites here, such as QWOP Portal: The Flash Version Alien Hominid and Yeti Sports .
How Flashpoint works
Flashpoint is a self-proclaimed & # 39; webgame preservation project & # 39; that supports content created in Adobe Flash, Adobe Shockwave, HTML5, Java, Unity Web Player, Microsoft Silverlight, ActiveX, and other previously popular web plug-ins.
The project consists of three main components: a web server, redirector and launcher. These all work in combination to create the illusion that you have access to Flash content (and other technology) via the internet.
This is necessary because Flash SWF files can be picky. Some content only works when it is hosted on certain servers and some loads sources from elsewhere. Some content tries to talk to certain servers and does not work if it cannot find them.
Flashpoint is ultimately a conservation project. Much of the technology these games rely on must be replicated and hosted locally. Flashpoint takes care of all this for you, so you can enjoy Happy Tree Friends animations and pandemic simulators as it is 2003.
BlueMaxima is just as concerned about content retention as it is about developing underlying technology
The Flashpoint project is primarily concerned with conservation. Because the games are rescued from the internet (including original source websites, the internet archive and files contributed by users), their legality becomes somewhat of a gray area.
The Flashpoint FAQ invites all content creators who want their games to be removed from the archive to contact them. It does say that the company will probably try to convince you to have it saved for posterity, but "we are not unreasonable."
So, do you break laws? It's hard to say for sure. Although the copyright aspect is a gray area, many makers have agreed to include their creations in the archive. Most websites that originally hosted the content are long dead. And most of the content doesn't even work without the tricks that Flashpoint has used behind the scenes.
Many flash games can be classified as "Leaveonware", ie software that has been "abandoned" by the copyright owner.
Just like downloading ROM & # 39; s from the internet, it is a difficult legal area to navigate. Just like emulators themselves, there is nothing illegal about Flashpoint as a technology.
Modern Remakes of Your Flash Favorites
Apart from copyright uncertainty, some games in this collection have gone much further. If you have a favorite of yesteryear, chances are it is now a mobile game or can be purchased through Steam or other gaming services.
The following popular franchises have all started as Flash games:
Many of these are in the Flashpoint archives, but they are far from the best versions. Modern versions designed for computers, consoles and mobile devices are visually superior, have better controls and more content and allow you to support the makers by simply buying them.
Do you have .SWF & # 39; s? Emulate Flash with Ruffle
Flashpoint is not a real Flash emulator. As mentioned earlier, it uses three components (a web server, redirector and launcher) to make Flash content work as if it were hosted on the web. Importing a SWF file and clicking on Play is not easy. Some titles require a lot of tweaking and working behind the scenes before they can be used.
Ruffle is a real Flash Player emulator. You can use it in a browser or on a desktop to play SWF files, as if it were Adobe & # 39; s own Flash Player. To use it, however, you need a few .SWF files to load – it doesn't come with a collection of games such as Flashpoint.
The project uses a browser technology called WebAssembly to ensure compatibility across the board. Newgrounds has announced plans to use Ruffle to continue to offer as much of the content as possible after Flash is finally dropped. If you continue to use Flash content on the web, you probably use Ruffle to do this soon.
Finally, there is always the official stand-alone Flash Player from Adobe, which should still be available for download in 2020 and later. You can use it to open and play individual SWF files outside of your web browser.