You can now play Flash content on the Internet Archive using emulation

Adobe Flash support ends officially on December 31, 2020. The aging technology has been replaced by others for the most part and browser makers and operating system companies revealed that their applications and systems would stop supporting Flash in 2020 as well.

The end of support has consequences, and one of these consequences is that Flash content that is available currently will be ignored once Flash is no longer supported.

Does that mean that all the good Flash games, animations and applications are no longer accessible? Not necessarily. We reviewed the software of the Flash Games Preservation Project in 2018 already, and the project has grown since then to over 70,000 games and 8,000 animations.

Now it is the Internet Archive’s turn to provide a new home for Flash games, apps, and animations. The archive provides access to Flash content through emulation so that all of the content continues to run on the archive’s site even after Flash support ends.

Adobe revealed that users won’t be able to play Flash content in 2021; there is an option for Enterprises though.

The Internet Archive picked Ruffle as the emulator of choice. The emulator does not provide 100% compatibility but plays “a very large portion of historical Flash animation in the browser, at both a smooth and accurate rate” according to Internet Archive’s Jason Scott.

internet archive flash

The content plays in any modern web browser that supports Webassembly.

You can check out a collection of Flash games and animations that is already available. You find some all-time classics there already, but many games and animations are still missing.

Just select a game or animation to open its profile page on the Internet Archive website. A big “play” button is displayed at the top and a click on the button starts the emulator and then the selected Flash content.

The emulation works similarly to other emulations on the site, e.g. to play Dos games, C-64 games, or Arcade games.

Content is limited currently and that is the main drawback especially when you compare the offering with the Flash Games preservation project. Then again, the latest full version of the project has a size of more than 500 Gigabytes when extracted and more than 470 Gigabytes need to be downloaded. There are standalone versions that download games when selected though.

If you just want to play a game or animation, and it happens to be on the Internet Archive, then it may be the better option as you don’t have to download anything and can get started right away.

Now You: Will you miss Flash content?

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