Gone in a Flash


Lance Brownfield

Flash game sites like onemorelevel.com are no longer usable as Adobe stopped supporting Flash in December.

2020 was a tragic year indeed, but for websites like onemorelevel.com and addictinggames.com it may be the end.


On Dec. 31, Adobe stopped supporting Flash Player, a software used to play countless games on the internet. The company has blocked further use of the software and recommends users to uninstall.


“Flash really exploded as a medium when I was in high school and middle school in particular,” Dr. John Price, director of Esports at Henderson said. “So we’re talking years of 1999 to 2006 or so were some huge years where flash was a massive driver for any game.”


One of the problems with the aging program was old code that only gets harder to work with as time passes. According to Price, as programmers of Flash have come and gone, they leave behind “massive code that no one knows.”


Flash made it possible for regular people to make animations, games and many other forms of content with ease. The software was a forerunner of YouTube and the mobile games we play today. Popular games like “Bloons TD 5” and “Plants Vs. Zombies” were first conceptualized through Flash Player.


With the rise of games on the app store, Steam and other platforms, flash game sites fell by the wayside. Mostly used by students trying to kill time in class, these sites have been declining for years.


Domains like agames.com now redirect to newer game sites with 3D and .io games. Instead of taking their animations to newgrounds.com, people would showcase it on YouTube instead. Making videos on Vine and TikTok is much easier and quicker than animating, thus these apps became far more popular.


“It was readily available and overall not too hard to learn,” Price said. “But it crashed all the time. There are entire animation series about Adobe Flash crashing and literally not compiling entire animations and people pulling their hair out.”


Perhaps one day there will be a museum exhibit dedicated to Adobe Flash Player and its role in the early internet. It won’t be long before a generation of internet users has no idea what Flash was or what it was for.


All is not lost, however, as there are some efforts underway to save the Flash games that are going extinct. Aptly titled, Project Flashpoint is made up of internet historians working to preserve different parts of the web. The team has over 67 thousand Flash entries already. To access the animations and games, you must download Flashpoint from their website. There are two main download sizes, 532GB Ultimate and 2GB Infinity.


“Flash was a stepping stone and an introduction for a lot of people,” Price said. “There’ll be something else. Maybe it’ll be Unity for this generation or what have you.”