We’ve known about Adobe’s plans to kill of Flash for years now. Back in 2017 Alice O shouted off a list of memorable Flash games and it’s telling that I’ve an entirely different list in my head (as do all of you) of games that it will be a shame to lose. Fortunately there are enough preservationists here in the wilds of The Internet looking to keep an archive of what was, even the wonky ones. Flashpoint is a launcher preserving all the old games and animations built in Flash before Adobe trashes support this year.
Flashpoint isn’t the only launcher working to preserve Flash games, but it is an extensive one. The Flash Game Archive, Ruffle, and the Internet Archive all have projects looking to keep a long history of Flash games available to curious players. As of version 7.0 (it’s now on version 7.1) Flashpoint claim to have over 36,000 games available on their launcher and 2,300 Flash animations. That’s a huge hunk of my childhood as a dial-up internet kid looking for laughs online.
Flashpoint offer a few different versions available for download. Flashpoint Ultimate can be downloaded just once and played entirely offline, though you’ll pay for that decision in storage space to the tune of 288GB after extracting all of the files. Flashpoint Infinity doesn’t come with every game installed off the bat, so you’ll just choose the ones you care about for a much cheaper 296MB initial download.
The most popular Flash games have survived as standalones on Itch or Steam but even the lesser known deserve to be kept up on our shelf like the weird diary with a useless lock on it we’ll neither read ever again nor commit to tossing out. Although there are undoubtedly games that don’t exactly deserve a glass case and nameplate in the metaphorical internet museum, plenty of today’s hits were originally built as free Flash games.
Frog Fractions (soon to be re-released on Steam), Superhot (also now on Steam), and The Binding Of Isaac (ditto) all began that way. Weird free game experimentation is far from dead with game engines like Unity, Bitsy, Twine and so on constantly lowering the barrier to entry, but it would be a shame to lose that collective history.
All this said, Flash games won’t just explode on December 31st, 2020 (or whatever day Adobe officially ceases support). The files themselves can still be accessed in many cases, and there are standalone programs meant to run .swf files. Flashpoint and projects like it aren’t in an Indiana Jones-style race against a giant boulder. They’re a slower ominous trek to preserve files before the sites that host them eventually fall into disuse.
You can download Flashpoint and learn more about it on its website.