If you grew up playing Flash games, or maybe watching animations you probably shouldn’t have, on sites like Newgrounds you may want to be sitting down for this bit of news. Last night, Adobe announced that it’s planning to finally kill off support for its seminal Flash software by 2020.
The Vice-President of Adobe, Govind Balakrishnan, was certainly keen to labour praise upon the venerable media juggernaut – “Few technologies have had such a profound and positive impact in the internet era,” he told the UK’s Guardian website. With that said, the decision to axe the software should perhaps come as little surprise. The arrival and spread of competing software such as HTML5 meant that back in December 2015 the Flash Professional software was reworked into Adobe Animate CC, still supporting the classic Flash player but also including options for the newer, and arguably technically sounder, programs.
(Interestingly, around this same time Adobe announced that Flash player would be supported for 5-10 years more. In hindsight, its remarkably accurate as far as business predictions go.)
Flash attracted its share of criticism from other technology giants, with Steve Jobs publishing a letter concerning the software’s failings. Whatever you think of his opinions, it’s a fact that Apple devices never supported the player – a source of constant frustration for those of us who used them regularly, and perhaps something that helps soften the blow of the death sentence now imposed on the software.
While all this may be somewhat interesting to technology aficionados, what does this mean for the average person? While the production of new free online games likely won’t stop, it certainly marks something of the end of an era. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has memories of going to their friends’ houses after school, logging onto websites like Newgrounds or Miniclip and giggling inanely at some of the games on offer. Some of them were good, some of them were bad, some of them you wondered just what sort of person would have come up with them in the first place.
But they’re part of the internet’s, and video gaming’s, collective history – while not big-budget, the deserve praise and acknowledgement for their nostalgic appeal to a time we may never return to. So Flash, here’s to you – we hardly knew ye. I’ve included some links below to a few classic Flash games, so you can revisit old memories or try them out for the first time while you can.
At age seven, Jordan wanted to be a paleontologist. That went well. He now fills the void by writing on all manner of mildly-interesting topics - when he finds time in between complaining how everything was better in the 'good old days', that is.