RIP Flash

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With Chrome officially putting the nail in the coffin for Flash, I wanted to do something special as a way of saying goodbye to this great medium. So I asked a few of my flash developer friends to write a little eulogy for Flash’s passing. I’d like to thank everyone that contributed and know there are tons of developers that got their start in Flash and that we all have this shared experience. Thank you to everyone that ever played or made with Flash.

Bean - @OneMrBean Games: Soundodger, The End of Us, …But That Was Yesterday

Unlike its namesake, Flash lived a long life and died a slow death. It was given to the world with the intent of making advertisements move and play sound. However, the world learned to instead be moved and play games. Amidst a blossoming Internet that was just finding its feet, Flash was determined never to grow a pair, opting instead to fly on the wings of shape-tweened imagination through rainbow gradients. We were taught valuable lessons within schools, only to minimize browsers when a teacher came by. We learned about ourselves and our bodies, only to again minimize when a parent walked by. Alas, as much as Flash gave to us, we were ashamed to embrace its warmth. With the passing of Flash comes the final minimizing of all - never to be restored, never to be replaced by a faster, more secure alternative. Nay, Flash will remain the first and only form of true expression for the world, a monument to censorless ideas keyframed by creative minds young and old. This is the greatest loss to the Internet as a whole; something that clicked for so many will never be clicked again.

Adam “Atomic” Saltsman - @ADAMATOMIC Games: Flixel, Canabalt, Fathom

Hey Flash. It’s been a while. I don’t know if you even remember me, I made the game with the small man on the rooftop, and the pixel thing that everybody used for their art games? Anyways I just wanted to say, even if it’s too late, that you had a huge influence on me as a game developer and designer. Relatively accessible code and very easy online sharing made game making a social activity, even when I didn’t know a lot of other designers in person. Folks I met through making games with you, starting almost 15 years ago, are still people I count as my very best friends. I have no idea what my life or career would look like without you. You ruled and I miss you a lot.

Nina Freeman - @PersocomNina Games: Cibele, How Do you Do It?

It all began with you, Flash! I was a small child on my first home computer, probably 10 years old. There was this game on the internet where you could capture bees using a bubble wand, and I loved it. I’d found the Orisinal games by Ferry Halim! These small Flash games are some of the earliest memories I have of playing on the computer. My love for games only grew from there.

Game jams with friends in New York City are how I learned to make games. We used Flixel, Adam Saltsman’s wonderful open source ActionScript 3 library, for everything. I loved it, because it was a game making language that my friends and I shared. The developer tool for parties and friendships. We used it so that we could make things together, for fun. Flash was a form of communication for us. We made Flash games to share with each other and tell our stories. We made Flash games together to spend time with each other. Flash managed to define my love for game making and helped start many of my best friendships.

It’s amazing to think of Flash and how it was there with me for many of my most vivid memories. Everything from that first game jam, to the release of Cibele… the last Flash game I worked on. Flash, you were the best. I’ve found other nice tools, but the memories I had with you will always be my strongest. I am where I am because of you, Flash, and because of all the fun we had together making games with friends. I’ll never forget that. Thank you. <3

Kyle Pulver - @kylepulver Games: Offspring Fling, Snapshot

Fresh onto the internet back in the early days of Newgrounds, Flash revealed a realm of possibility that I would have otherwise never known. The absurd accessibility to games and animations created by individuals with a relentless drive to share their efforts with the world put me on the path of game development at an early age. Eventually the market of browser games which were played while the teacher wasn’t watching opened the door for me to become a real deal professional game developer, and Flashpunk would later guide me to heights I never thought I’d reach. In its prime Flash truly was the mysterious ringleader of a fantastically surreal circus featuring an endless buffet of experiences ranging from short and simple to ornate and bizarre. Now we arrive to the abandoned dirt lot where the circus once stood under an overcast sky wondering if we’ll have anything quite like it ever again. They say that on cold, windless nights just like this one, you can still hear the echoes of a helicopter flying down a crude green tunnel…

Rachel Simone Weil - @partytimeHXLNT Games: Forever Crossing

I’ll never forget you. Tweening. What the hell is tweening? What are keyframes? I found out because you showed me, Macromedia Flash, Version 2.0.

In 10th grade, I had nearly finished my transition from straight-A student to depressed slacker. School work, I mused, was beneath me anyway. But when I was tasked with making a Powerpoint presentation about the periodic table for chemistry class, I suddenly jolted back into overachiever mode. I was going to make the best periodic table presentation the world had ever seen. And I’d make it with Macromedia Flash, Version 2.0.

I created an entire fucking James Bond movie intro parody in Flash, replacing James Bond with “Bond… covalent bond.” For the soundtrack, I decided to used a theme song I’d heard in a new fansubbed anime called Cowboy Bebop.

I triumphantly brought my Zip disk into chemistry class and played the animation. My classmates were stunned. How did she get everything to move like that? What is this music? What is anime? A resounding success, or so I thought.

I got a B on the project for not “following directions” and using Powerpoint. And I think that explains a lot about me, and a lot about about you, Macromedia Flash, Version 2.0.

Charles H Huang @muditaheart Games: House of Good Vibes, Clyde’s World

Dearest Flash,

You entered our lives, riding in on our DSL modem connections, and messed everything up permanently… and for that we can’t thank you enough. You were the harbinger of modern indie games, the bastion of many Newgrounds-esque animation, art, and audio, you Numa Numa’d viral media into Ultimate Destinies, and maybe even exposed our pre/post-pubescent brains to our first doses of pornography via dating sim vector art hentai. But as quickly as we came, you were gone in a Flash. (Lemme know if I went too far there, Saam!)

Despite the rampant piracy and lack of regulation for incredibly insensitive content (yes, swearing and dying cartoon baby animals, George W. Bush jokes, and making fun of Britney Spears did seem like quality content at the time (#SaveBritney))… Flash, did we ever treat you right? Did we ever treat you the way you deserved, with near ubiquitous cross platform compatibility and regular 4-5 figure indie game licensing contracts? Did we try hard enough to save you from your cancellation by Steve Jobs via blog post (RIP)? How many things could we have done? Over a dozen? Over 9000? Over 151? (Which in Japanese, translates to: “Hyakugojyuiichi”)

You are now dead and gone, but you will never leave us, not just because of the amazing mass archival efforts being made, and also the essential corporation backends kept on life support by Adobe, but also because we cannot forget the ancestral internet adage that goes: nothing on the internet is ever gone forever.

Let us give you a final salute to the friend we always had, but never deserved.

Flash: All Our Cringey, Thirsty, Artsy, Emo Adolescent Childhoods Shall Forever Belong to You, Homestar Running on in our hearts. Yatta!

Charles H. Huang, a once cringey, thirsty, artsy, emo, adolescent turned game designer

Saam Pahlavan @saampahlavan Games: Disorder, Get Dat Swag, Konkey Dong

Dear Flash,

I still remember the time I spent with you in my early teens. Learning about tweening and basic animations. The amount of joy I had in expressing my ideas by making red circles fight some blue circles. I remember how I didn’t know how layers worked so I kept redrawing backgrounds as I was trying to animate stick figures frame by frame. I didn’t know it at the time, but you would help shape my future. By the time I reached early adulthood we reconnected. I discovered a whole new side of you called Actionscript. You gave me my first magical spark of game development when I learned about the ENTER_FRAME function. I animated a little pixel version of myself walking back and forth. All I could think was “THIS IS THE COOLEST THING I’VE EVER MADE.” I got to know you and the tools others made for you like Flixel. It led to the creation of one of my first platformers aptly titled “Get Dat Swag”. You let me see the possibilities of game development and even got me my first job in the industry. There isn’t anything quite like you, you combined my love of motion and interactivity all into one little white box where I could express myself. Hell, you allowed for a whole generation to express themselves from escape room games to weird anime videogame mash-ups. It’s been a few years and we’ve both moved on, but I won’t forget the time we spent together.

Rest In Peace my swf friend.