I am constantly asked questions about the so called “Death of Flash” and what I plan on doing about it. This is a one sentence question that requires several paragraphs to answer. But the short version is Flash content is going to be just fine. Right now, there are already functional archives and emulators you can use to play Flash games. As these resources continue to improve Flash content will be accessible and preserved for years to come.
If that answer doesn’t quell your worries, I’ve written a more detailed explanation so just keep on reading.
Animation & Swivel
Let’s start with the simplest and longest solved problem: Flash animations. About a decade ago Newgrounds introduced a tool to near flawlessly (there are always going to be a few edge cases) convert swf files¹ into typical video formats. People have been using it to upload Flash animations as standard video files for years.
This tool is called Swivel. It’s free and open source.
“What about interactive movies and Easter eggs?” you might be asking. That’a s little more complicated, but will be solved by at least one of the solutions provided below.
What about games?
Most Flash game developers aren’t actually producing content that is only available in swf format¹ these days, myself included. Many have moved on to other frameworks, and even games made using Adobe Animate² don’t require the Flashplayer to run any more.
Adobe AIR is software that can be used to convert Flash games programmed in ActionScript3³ to native executable capable of running on Windows, Mac OS, Android and iOS devices. This does mean games made in older versions of ActionScript (like A Koopa’s Revenge 2) will need other means to be played, but this will never be a problem because of the many solutions described below.
The first and most compatible answer is the Newgrounds Player. Licensed from Abobe, it’s based on the official Flashplayer, but doesn’t have the often cited security flaws that lead to Flash’s demise. I can vouch that it works great for AKR2, it even imported my save file from Chrome when I played on Newgrounds.
It’s not an absolutely perfect replication of the original, but it’s as close as you’re going to get, and closer than anyone should need. The only real downside is that the player spawns a separate window to play the games rather than having them embedded in the page.
Unfortunately, the NGplayer only works for desktop and laptop computers, so it’s no solution for mobile. But the original Flashplayer never worked on mobile anyway, so nothing lost there.
Ruffle is an open source Flashplayer emulator. Also from Newgrounds.
At the time of this writing Ruffle is less compatible with old games compared to the NG player, but it’s much more flexible, and there are plans to make it more compatible in the future. It works directly in the browser, and even on mobile. And there are even future plans to have inbuilt touchscreen controllers for games that require keypresses.
AKR2 doesn’t work in Ruffle as of the time of this writing, but hopefully after further updates it will work as well as it ever did in the Flashplayer.
Among several projects archiving old web games is BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint. This one includes non Flash-based web games in addition to many of the early 2000’s era Flashes.
I can’t vouch for this one personally, but it’s another option for those wanting to play old Flash games.
Lambtaco Games Specifically
All future games I release will be in formats not requiring the Flashplayer, or its alternatives. (With possibly one exception) I’m moving on to developing games using the Godot game engine, but to the end user it shouldn’t make any difference.
1 the Flash game file format .
2 the program used to make Flash games and movies, previously named Flash.
3 The coding language used to make Flash games. 3 versions exist.