Why it matters: Flash, the deprecated multimedia platform that added interactivity to websites in the early days of the internet, has been on life support for a long time. For those of us that have been computing that long, we know Flash as the former Macromedia product that got us through the late 90s and early 2000s, before Adobe acquired it in 2005. As old web technologies fade away, they often leave a vast amount of historical content worth preserving. Flashpoint has been working since 2018 to ensure that thousands of games and web animations don’t disappear when Flash reaches end-of-life this year.
It’s not news at this point that Adobe plans to declare Flash dead this year. In fact, the writing has been on the wall for years. Over time, advanced web APIs, newer web development standards, and HTML 5 have been able to provide the same functionality that formerly required Flash plugins. As such, support for Flash has slowly waned.
Chrome started blocking non-essential Flash content in 2015 as websites migrated away from the technology; Firefox followed suit in 2016. Google would soon speed up Flash’s death clock, blocking all Flash content by default in Chrome and even stopped indexing pages with Flash content in search results.
Safari, one of the last browsers still supporting Flash, finally dropped that support last year, although mobile Safari in the iPhone, which is the more relevant flavor of the browser never supported the technology.
It’s likely that no one will miss Flash, or it’s abundance of security vulnerabilities. However, as it trots off into the sunset, it leaves behind thousands of games and animations from a bygone internet era worth preserving.
One such initiative that’s been moving to preserve the legacy of Flash content is Ruffle, a Flash player emulator written in the Rust programming language. However, Ruffle is still a work in progress, and according to its GitHub page, is still in the proof-of-concept stage.
However, BlueMaxima and its Flashpoint launcher have already archived 38,000 Flash games and 2,400 animations — and they’re playable now. Flashpoint uses open-source software and a fair amount of clever trickery to emulate Flash games.
Flashpoint is packaged in a couple different ways: Flashpoint Ultimate and Flashpoint Infinity. Flashpoint Ultimate includes the launcher and the entire game archive, playable offline, assuming you’ve got around 300GB of space to install everything.
Flashpoint Infinity is more minimalist, which allows you to download the games as you want to play them, with a more svelte 300MB install size. Both versions can be downloaded here.
Additionally, there’s a master list of games and animations that have currently been preserved through Flashpoint. It’s worth checking out, even if just to briefly remember an important part of internet history and culture.