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Sitarah Ali ’23

Upon opening Google Chrome, one may see the message “Flash Player will no longer be supported after December 2020.” It seems as though this is a recent development, but this has been in the works for years. In a July 25, 2017 blog by Google Chrome Product Manager Anthony Laforge, Google’s plans for Adobe Flash were specified: “Chrome will continue phasing out Flash over the next few years, first by asking for your permission to run Flash in more situations, and eventually disabling it by default. We will remove Flash completely from Chrome toward the end of 2020.” Google is not alone in this decision. Mozilla Corporation, Microsoft, and Opera Software also seek to end Flash support for their browsers at the end of 2020.

Despite its security flaws, lower power efficiency, and drop in usage over the years, what makes Adobe Flash important? Adobe Flash has been used to create countless animations and games, available for internet users to play and view for free. Whole websites were dedicated to the creations people made using Flash. Arguably, Flash has been influential in kick-starting the internet and its culture.  

However, Flash game websites such as Newgrounds have gone around this issue by creating their own Flash player program outside web browsers. Flash-based massively multiplayer online games such as Adventure Quest Worlds have also gone the same route. There are also projects such as Project Flashpoint by BlueMaxima, which seeks to preserve Flash games and animations by archiving them in a large digital database and allowing people to access these Flash creations through the Flashpoint program. Also, the Internet Archive included a Flash emulator known as Ruffle. Ruffle allows Internet Archive users to emulate Flash while browsing through Flash content in the Archive. Ruffle is also a browser extension, so users can still visit websites that require Flash. When asked about the life of Flash support after its official discontinuation, GN student Carl Gullickson, ’21, responded, “It’s reassuring to hear that tools are being made to archive and reminisce, but the idea of Flash will be lost to time. It’s up to the lot of us to continue and spread our word on the world wide web and create anything.”

The death of Flash may be recognized by the general populous. However, to the most dedicated to Flash media, Flash still lives on through other programs. In the meantime, students can just play Flash games until its discontinuation at the end of this year.