In loving memory of flash games
In an era when buying video games weren’t so convenient for everyone, many of us looked for other options for playing games. One of those options was flash games. It has been almost two decades since games like “Realm of the Mad God”, “Happy Wheels” and “N” have grown in popularity and created a community of gamers around the world via the Internet. Today we go back in time to appreciate the beauty and freedom explored in the days of the “Linerider” and “Super Mario” scams and all the rage in the flash game hype train.
It all started when FutureWave Software modified its SmartSketch software by adding stop-motion animation tools, renaming it FutureSplash Animator. Soon after, the software was acquired by Adobe and was subsequently redesigned as Adobe Flash. Around this time, people started using this software to create simple games and download them online as free games on portals like newgrounds.com, addictinggames.com, and miniclip.com.
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It was a time when game developers used a shareware model that allowed you to play part of the game so that you would eventually be interested in purchasing the entire game. Thus, the concept of completely free games has attracted many people to indulge in it for hours. We’re talking about games like Trials, Stick Cricket, Motherload and even weirder games like “Bush Shoot-Out” or my favorite “Fleabag vs. Mutt ”.
But towards the end of the 2000-2010s, as smartphones started to gain popularity and games like Angry Birds began to emerge, the flash games we were playing online were starting to appear in our app stores. As cell phones could be carried anywhere and offered more interactive support for gamers, traffic to flash game sites began to decline. Many of these mobile games were heavily inspired by flash games such as Candy Crush, which followed the same concept as Ball Match while endless racing games like Temple Run or Subway Surfer take inspiration from Canabalt.
But in the end, all trends come and go in the internet world and flash games have had to shift to make way for more advanced successors.
Even social media sites like Facebook now have games that you can play while chatting on Messenger. The Google Play store alone has an estimate of over 300,000 gaming apps, while Apple’s App Store has 800,000 gaming apps on its platform. And if you don’t play mobile games, you are probably playing the latest AAA games on your Xbox One or PS4.
And it’s not just the users who have moved on to new things. Much of the evolution of mobile games can be attributed to developers who started offering an option to buy in-game, making mobile games even more lucrative than free online independent game platforms. This impending drop in flash games was finally recognized by Adobe, when the company said last year that it would shut down Adobe Flash by 2020.
Even though flash games are on the verge of extinction, they will forever go down in history as an era where creativity flourished within the confines of limited technology and resources. And today’s mobile games, as advanced as they are, will continue to echo the golden age of flash games every time you play games like “Alto’s Adventure.”