Flash Games 2020, An Obituary: Newgrounds Creates Emulator To Preserve All Flash Games Online In The Halls Of Internet History

Flash Games 2020, An Obituary: Newgrounds Creates Emulator To Preserve All Flash Games Online In The Halls Of Internet History
Credit: Flash Logo via Adobe

In 2020, Flash support is being discontinued on all major internet browsers by its creator, Adobe. For those who spent hours of their youth trawling through games’ websites like coolmathgames.com and Miniclip, it’s a huge blow to future nostalgic trips into the murky depths of internet history.

Thankfully, Newgrounds has finally (and officially) announced there’ll be an emulator built-in the Rust engine to convert original flash games into a playable format. They’ve thought of everything: the increasing concerns of Flash’ security are put to rest with modern security measures inside its emulator and there’ll even be mobile touch-screen optimization.

When it was announced that Flash was no longer going to be supported, it took a while for the news to get around. Flash is barely used anymore, whereas in the past almost everything on the web ran off its platform. While many websites have adapted to the changes, one thing that has remained unchanged is the hundreds of thousands of browser-based games coded and shared online over the Flash platform.

These games form the backbone of the first steps into the world of video games for children born in the 1990s and early 2000s. Websites like Miniclip, coolmathgames, and Newgrounds had video games and flash animation that was the original birthplace of memes and Internet culture itself.

Popular games include the addictive Neopets – a sort of Gacha game that predates the modern mobile-game obsession – and Club Penguin, a penguin-based MMO that offered a lot of premium content for a humble sum of $2.99 a month. While Neopets has done a shuffle in and out of activity – you can still play it online now – Club Penguin is now its own standalone platform operated by Disney.

While these two games were the sort of headline hits, there were also thousands of games which, with hindsight, resemble early Internet art. Bloons Tower Defense is still one of the most compelling tower-defense games I’ve ever played, and there are thousands of people that probably agree.

The fact these games will not face oblivion in 2020 when Flash is discontinued by Adobe is a thing of miracles, though it does make sense: online browser game websites still draw in millions of traffic each month, generally from countries like Brazil, China, and Indonesia where many of the children can’t afford tablets and mobile phones.

Newgrounds isn’t the first to try and keep Flash games alive – Operation Flashpoint is a fan-based database of Flash games that has reached thousands of games. For those who haven’t delved into a Flash game since 2004, give it a go: it won’t be long before you need an emulator.