The Untimely Death of A Former Pastime


Alexzander (AJ) Braaten, Writer

For a good chunk of the early 2000’s the gaming industry was dominated not by a major brand like Nintendo or Microsoft but a variety of different “Flash games.” Not that there weren’t great games being put out by those companies, just the availability and nuance of Flash games dominated.

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Different Flash players had existed since the late 90’s such as Macromedia Flash in 1996, and HotJava in 1997 but the original king of flash came in 98′. At that time, “” had the largest variety of Java games on the internet; like the name entails, they had a wide selection of classic games to play from such as Checkers, Chess, and Free-cell. The real Renaissance of Flash games wouldn’t peak until a few years later, when the slow and ineffective for-the-time Dial-Up connection was being replaced with the Broadband connection which was not only cheaper but also connected way faster. This meant that Flash games and the rest of the internet would no longer have to rely on slower connections of old, and this opened the Pandora’s box of online entertainment.

New sites popped-up, showing a wide variety of genres and styles that would never have been playable before. Sites like Newgrounds, Addictingames, Miniclip, Kongregate, and Coolmathgames all had hundreds of thousands of people flocking to them each day to play these fun, inventive and mostly free games. The big selling point for them was how accessible they were and how easy it was to play whenever you had access to a computer. Some were level based, others were endless runs, and a few had overarching stories, but they were quick and concise. Another great thing about Flash games was the genre variety. There were fighting games, platformers, endless runners, shooters, RPG and trivia games to tickle the fancy of anyone looking for a quick fix of fun. If Flash games were so popular with such a significant amount of variety, a quick and easy gaming session and they were free… How are they dying, and why?

Flash games, like all great things, are bound to end, and unlike most great things we know, it’s an exact death date. By the time 2021 rolls around Adobe Flash will no longer be supported, thus killing the entire platform of Flash games in one fell swoop. The reason why is obvious; its use has gone down drastically from its peak. People have been moving in droves to a different source for their quick gaming fix for years now. Mobile gaming is the nail in the coffin for Flash games, its got it beat in nearly every category. You can carry a phone with you anywhere, the phone will store and save more data and the list goes on. Phones have even taken popular games and formats that were created or popularized in Flash games to put on the mobile app store. Genres like Endless runner, Tower defense, Dirt-bike racing and Point ‘n Click games. So if these new mobile games are just like the Flash gmaes of old and they are more accessible, then what’s the problem?

The problem with the mobile platform is how companies can make money off of their free games. The simple answer is that they can’t make money without two things; advertisement and micro-transactions. Having these free games on a computer was a lot easier if you had an Adblocker and there wasn’t really any way to set up micro-transactions. Now to play these fun, pick up & go games you have to suffer through a 30 second advert after every death or level. It’s just not the same anymore and as of December 31’st it will be the only way to access these fun little bits of history, and that’s just wrong. So if you want to get a good hit of nostalgia cause 2020 has got you feeling down I’d highly recommend going back to these classics before it’s too late.