Mass exodus of browser games

Original author: Jesse Villa
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We will return 2007. At this time, games like Halo 3 , Bioshock , Portal , Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Super Mario Galaxy appeared and received good reviews from critics . In the same year, many other outstanding projects came out, so it is considered the best year in the history of video games. But not for everyone. Some games needed powerful and expensive computers, and recently released consoles sold at prices ranging from $ 249.99 (Nintendo Wii) to $ 599.99 (PlayStation 3). For many players, being able to play modern games was too expensive.

However, at that time the video game market did not end with home consoles and powerful computers: from the very inception of the Internet, online browser games began to appear on the scene. Such games could be played on any computer with an Internet connection, and most of them were free. In the same 2007, such well-known browser games appeared as The Last Stand , The Impossible Quiz , Newgrounds Rumble , Pandemic and Trials 2.. Unfortunately, the software maker needed to run these games has completed its support. Because of this, now we can’t play hundreds and thousands of games, it has destroyed many years of development of games and game content. Browser games have left a deep mark in the history of video games, but due to the end of support for Flash in 2020, we will lose this story and the funds necessary to save it.

What made browser games unique and vibrant


Many browser games arose thanks to Flash technology, while it was a low-cost but powerful tool for displaying multimedia content in web browsers. Flash consisted of two parts: Flash - a program in which it was possible to create Flash files using drawing and scripting tools that allow you to create your own animations and games, and Flash player - a free plug-in that launched creations created in Flash files. Flash files included a wide range of games that could be played everywhere and always: from a home computer or in a school library. The most attractive in these games was their simplicity and straightforward game design. Some games used the most simplified basic game mechanics and graphics. Other Flash games were more polished and extravagant.


Bowman game menu screen

A simple example is the Bowman game , in which two archers try to hit each other by shooting arrows from their bows. The one who first succeeds in inflicting sufficient damage to the enemy wins. The game was attended by natural obstacles and a battle mode against a computer or a person. The main thing in the game is not its appearance, but the basic game mechanics, creating an exciting and understandable gameplay.


The gameplay of Endeavor, in which a player controls a gnome jumping and climbing uphill.

On the other side of the spectrum is Endeavor , a jump and climb platformer connected to role-playing elements. The player controls a gnome trying to reveal an ancient secret: he explores the world and is pumped. The game has several endings, non-player characters with whom you can interact, quests, and so on. It is hard to imagine that a Flash game of this magnitude can be completed in one go.

"... we discovered the Holy Grail of game development. It was a tool in which it was easy to write scripts, easy to draw, projects of which could be released right away, which had a huge audience, which was looking forward to new content, and it was available to everyone."
- John Clooney, “The Flash Games Postmortem”

Flash game development veteran John Clooney is one of many game creators who used Flash to put his ideas on the Internet. Thanks to Flash, the vanguard of independent game developers has emerged. Flash started commercially successful games like Alien Hominid , N + , Super Meat Boy , VVVVVV. These games either had well-developed game design, or had excellent graphics, so they went further than online platforms and became full-blown projects or franchises. And all this became possible thanks to Flash. Browser games provided an endless stream of interesting and exciting gameplay, and at the same time, they sparked a spark of creativity in indie developers. Unfortunately, the peak of fame for browser games, like all good things, had its end.


Adobe, something is bad for me ...

The decline of Flash


CEO and co-founder of Apple Inc. Before his death in 2010, Steven Jobs wrote an open letter to Adobe, explaining why Flash is not supported on Apple's mobile devices - iPhone, iPad and iPod. In short, the following was written there: the future has arrived, and you are out of date.

Flash was created in the era of the PC, it is designed for PC and mouse control. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we understand why the company seeks to extend it beyond the PC. But the era of mobile is the time of low-power devices, touch interfaces, and open web standards. In all these areas, Flash does not live up to expectations.

- Stephen Jobs, Thoughts on Flash

Moreover, the Flash player has earned notoriety for its reticence and error prone to worsening most web pages. Some see Flash's death as a blessing because Internet users have a faster and more reliable worldwide network. Even websites such as Newgrounds , Addicting Games , Kongregate, and Miniclip , which for many years used Flash in all their content, began to gradually abandon it because of all its shortcomings. However, the fading of Flash, according to the founder of Newgrounds, a prominent figure in the era of Flash games, should not be taken as a holiday:

I am very upset when people rejoice at the death of Flash. I fully understand that it is time to move on, but do not praise the death of the technology that enabled so many people and carried a lot of entertainment on the web for more than 20 years.

- Tom Fulp, Flash 2020 and the Future

The end of the Flash era will still be a time of mourning, especially for those games that cannot be saved. Flash has affected the video game industry, and the loss of its forgotten content will also mean the loss of some of the history of early video games.

History of appearance and disappearance


It is believed that the first video game created exclusively for entertainment was 1958 Tennis for Two . Almost four decades later, Club a Seal of 1997 became the first browser-based game . Although these games are very different in genre, they are both milestones that are the first of their kind. However, it is not known whether they were actually the first. Many early games were piece goods, they were created, but not published, or dismantled for parts after release. Like film, the story of this medium should not fade and die.

In the process of archiving console video games, you have to deal with closed project documentation, the legal aspects of extracting content from source media, for example, cartridges using special equipment. To enrich the gameplay in the consoles, special controllers or non-digital objects were used. This makes it difficult to save console video games.

- “Keeping the Game Alive: Evaluating Strategies for the Preservation of Console Video Games”

This applies not only to physical copies of video games, but also to their digital releases. Given that some digital games have disappeared from digital stores and it is now impossible to play them (this applies to games such as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game , After Burner Climax and PT ), we understand that in the digital age nothing lasts forever unless you take archiving seriously. The fate of these missing games or early lost video games will be repeated and we will continue to lose valuable pieces of history. Flash content created over the years of creativity and innovation of the first experimenters will begin to disappear. Flash's life ends, so efforts must be made to preserve it.


Flashpoint Interface

Commitment to Preserving Digital History


Ben Latimore, a member of Jason Scott's Archive Team , known for archiving digital history, is concerned about the state of Flash content on the Internet. Seeing that no one was making an effort to save these crumbling relics of the Flash era, he took on this responsibility. BlueMaxima Flashpoint is a “comprehensive archival project, museum and playable collection of Flash games” program: anyone can play Flash games again without installing software.

“Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) is one of the largest treasures of game history not preserved today. Over twenty years, tens of thousands of games have been created, a library of Flash games in depth and breadth has survived any game console on the market. And all this can disappear in two years ... If no one does anything, then we can lose forever a huge piece of history. These games deserve more. Much more. "

- Ben Latimore, “Adobe Flash's Gaming Legacy - Thousands upon Thousands of Titles - and My Efforts To Save It”

Archiving Flash games means saving game history. Volunteers and project participants are conducting an unprecedented joint work on the conservation of Flash-games until they gradually disappear.

Flash days are slowly coming to an end, but their interest, creativity and the impact they have on the Internet will never fade. I can say the same about my flashbacks of the Flash games that I played with my friends in the school library. The authors and ideas that have arisen thanks to this software will continue to live in archives, which will remain as a significant milestone in the history of video games.

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