So long, Flash. After decades of driving independent game developers, animators and artists, the venerable web tool is being shut down for good at the end of the month. This week, Adobe pushed the final release of Flash Player to the web with a fond farewell – and an encouragement to uninstall the compromised tool before official support ends on December 31st. It’s not every day a patch release tells you to delete a piece of software, but there you go.
Flash has been on the chopping block for a good few years now. Once a mainstay of the web, Adobe’s platform has become both increasingly vulnerable to security breaches and usurped by more efficient plugins like HTML5, WebGL and the like.
This week’s release notes confirm on what we already knew – that official support for Flash will end on December 31st – adding that, after January 12th, Flash Player will start actively blocking Flash files from being run. All that said, Adobe “strongly recommends” you begin uninstalling Flash Player now, before it becomes useless at best and actively harmful at worst.
Flash’s death throes have been an ongoing concern for preservationists, mind. For a good decade there, Flash was the go-to tool for countless game developers. Without Flash, we don’t have The Binding Of Isaac, Ridiculous Fishing, Alien Hominid, etc – but within Flash itself, you’re still looking at thousands of absolute classics. Fancy Pants Adventure! Yeti Sports! Line Rider! Early queer game works like LIM and Dys4ia, and a whole lotta animated brainworms from Weeblstuff, AlbinoBlackSheep, and other names that have long-since jettisoned themselves from my memory.
All of these risked being lost for good. Fortunately, standalone tools like Flashpoint have popped up to help preserve this lawless period of web history. Standalone launcher Flashpoint has immortalised a bespoke selection of playable Flash Games, while The Internet Archive recently began accepting playable Flash submissions in its archives via the Ruffle emulator. Just this week, browser game hub Armor Games announced similar plans to preserve its own catalogue of 3,500+ games, many stretching back into the late 00s.
So, Flash might be about to die. But thanks to the work of archivists, its legacy won’t be consigned to oblivion just quite yet.