“Adobe will no longer be compatible with Flash Player after December 31, 2020.” Surely many of you have received this message when starting your Windows computer in recent days. Adobe advertised like this the end of an era and urged users to uninstall that component that has been with us for 25 years.
That long-announced death means that as of January 12, even people who have the component installed cannot use it. Modern browsers will disown Flash, but there are several efforts that allow games and animations to survive independently, and whoever wants to enjoy (or suffer) those experiences, can continue to do so despite the official death of Flash Player.
Flash Player may die, but we must not forget it because it is part of our past
The technology The Flash conquered the world in the late 90s and early 2000s, and with it Macromedia and Adobe managed to come up with a fantastic way for animators and game and application developers to have an alternative in which web content could be enriched in a way never seen before.
That past was being truncated little by little. Jobs and his famous ban on Flash on iOS marked a turning point in a technology that, let’s remember, was a fundamental pillar of YouTube’s operation until 2014.
In recent years that support has been slowly but inexorably disappearing, and Flash Player will no longer be supported by Adobe and modern browsers. This will prevent us from accessing these contents easily, but it does not mean that games and animations are relegated to oblivion.
In fact there are various efforts to preserve all that content. As pointed out in Fast Company, different initiatives will allow it, and will make those who want rescue those games and animations can do so, at least partially.
One of the most interesting is the one proposed by Flashpoint, a web game preservation project that since the beginning of 2018 has brought together more than 70,000 games and 8,000 animations on different platforms, with a clear role for Flash. It is possible to download the file, but careful, because it weighs 478 GB (532 GB unzipped) and you will therefore have to have enough disk space.
There are other alternatives: The Internet Archive also maintains a good catalog of Flash games and animations. To achieve this they make use of Ruffle, a emulation layer that we can also install on our machine to continue accessing those contents.
A service called Conifer also rescues this technology and allows let’s use a browser in an old version with Flash support and resides on a remote server. And interestingly, Adobe has offered a special Flash Player license to a development called Newgrounds that also allows Flash games and animations to be played despite the death of the original component in modern browsers.
Thus, Flash Player dies, yes, but the content will fortunately survive for all who want to continue accessing it, something that demonstrates that increasingly relevant ambition to preserve everything that was part of our technological past.