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Flashpoint is archiving Flash games before they disappear forever

Flashpoint is archiving Flash games before they disappear forever

May 2, 2018 | By Emma Kidwell

Ben Latimore is a member of the Archive Team, a volunteer-operated orginization working to preserve digital history housed by at risk services -- content running Adobe Flash being one of them.

His current endeavor is archiving as many Flash games as possible before they're no longer playable. 

Adobe announced last year that it would be ending support for its Flash plugin by 2020, with any browsers like Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari already prepping to phase out Flash ahead of the deadline. Many developers who worked in Flash will lose their work, and no one is quite sure what will happen to the games. 

"Adobe Flash (previously Macromedia Flash) is arguably the largest treasure trove of unpreserved gaming history today," Latimore writes in a Medium post detailing the project. "Spanning literal tens of thousands of games over a period of twenty years, the library of Flash games, breadth and depth, outlives any other game console on the market."

"When your browser no longer has the plugin to run those games, what happens to them?" Latimore asks. Businesses that thrived on supporting Flash games like NewGrounds and Kongregate have been quiet, prompting the notion that no one knows for sure the fate of these Flash games after support is pulled. 

Latimore reminds us that despite the unclear language, these games will definitely not be playable after 2020. "Allow me to summarize. In less than two years from the time of this article, hundreds of thousands of games are likely to disappear from the internet, forever," he cautions. 

The solution? BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint, a Flash game preservation museum and collection all housed in one place. Double-click any game in the list and it will open from a local copy on the hard drive and be ready to play as-is.

"There’s eventually going to be one question on the lips of everyone involved, though: is this legal? And the only real answer is nobody knows and really, nobody should care," Latimore writes. 

As of Flashpoint 1.3.1, there are currently 850 games saved in their entirety, with around 20 percent of them needing to either be hacked or run via a web server, or have external resources downloaded to help them run properly.

Interested developers and players can join Flashpoint's Discord server, where Latimore has been taking requests, hacking games and fulfilling requests since the conception of the project a few months ago.

"If nobody acts, the amount of history that’s capable of being lost forever is much too high to let it drain away. The games are worth more than that."

Be sure to read Latimore's entire Medium piece here, which goes into more detail about his goal of preserving Flash games. 

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