Rest in peace, Adobe Flash

The famed browser plug-in that was a driving force for many of our childhoods will soon be no longer supported, leaving behind much of our internet favorites with it.

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I spent hours as an 8-year-old playing Flash Pac Man online.

Alex Kajda, Staff Writer

So much has been lost in the year 2020. Many celebrity deaths have shocked the public, our social lives have been lost, our sanities have been tested as well, and as if that wasn’t bad enough for us high-school students, many of our childhood memories will be taken as well.

Adobe Flash has been one of the driving forces for internet games over the years. The term “flash games” ran prominent throughout the 2010s as a term for free to play browser games to kill time. After January 12th, 2021, Adobe will block all Flash content from running, and the final update for Flash was released Tuesday, December 8, marking an end to an era of internet glory.

The end of Flash comes after years of security issues and challenges through the advancement of the internet. In fact, “it has faced numerous security fixes and faced the challenge of newer options such as HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly” and has even undergone 292 fixes in the last 14 years (InfoSecurity Magazine). Flash has been holding on to its last breaths for years now but has remained strong to preserve the memories of the past.

Some of my earliest memories on the internet range from me playing Pac-Man flash games online circa 2010. Other internet goodies like World’s Hardest Game and Johnny Upgrade, along with most of Cool Math Games’ catalogue, spawned from Adobe Flash. Flash games were even a main motivator for students, as they’d get their work done early in school in order to be able to play these Flash games during their class free time. Luckily for Cool Math Games, most of their content has moved to HTML5, preserving their games and preventing a total disaster for their site. Some games such as Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac began as flash games but became incredibly successful when the games were refined and released properly to PCs and consoles. The importance of Flash has remained embedded in internet culture, but the end is nearing.

There is still hope, however. Internet Archive stated that they will be “collecting Flash content and preserving it through its Ruffle emulator” (NeoWin), meaning that some of the games we’ve grown to love and enjoy over the years won’t be gone forever and instead preserved in case we want to revisit them. This is great, but the feeling won’t be the same, as these games are emulated. As much as I hated it, I’ll miss the “enable Adobe Flash” popup in my browser and then being spammed with ads all over the place on these definitely not secure websites. It was all part of the fun of the internet during the early 2010s though, but sadly, I believe the internet has progressed passed that point.

With how much things have advanced online, the end of Flash was inevitable. It’s certainly upsetting that it will be gone soon, but it’s time to move on. Our childhood memories are going along with Flash, but hopefully there will be some solutions along the way to preserve the very things we’ve cherished from a young age.