Do we feel Flash nostalgia yet?

First, a post from @argyleink

the Flash MovieClip component class was ahead of it’s time

  • visual, tagged state
  • easily interpolate props between states
  • life cycle hooks
  • could have no code or lots of code
  • typed AS3 api
  • and… what else do you remember being awesome?

then a post from @mashable

Why we loved browser games — and will never have anything like them again

where you’ll be able to read great insights comments from @alienmelon (Nathalie Lawhead) , and others like @edmundmcmillen (Edmund McMillen)

read the full article here
Browser games were a digital awakening for an entire generation

In Tales of the Early Internet , Mashable explores online life through 2007 — back before social media and the smartphone changed everything.

Everyone remembers their favorite browser games, whether it was some cursed obscurity now lost to the void of internet history or a wildly popular time-waster that later evolved into a multi-million dollar franchise (like Doom , Trials , Super Meat Boy , or Bejeweled, to name a few).

For many millennials, the golden age of browser games from the early 2000s defined our formative online experiences.

The arrival of tools like Flash allowed folks without much technical know-how to make everything from beautifully animated personal games to interactive oddities, democratizing a medium previously controlled by big corporations into an explosion of unregulated amateur creative expression. Suddenly, anyone (including a whole lot of young people) could publish a game — no matter how weird, unconventional, rudimentary, or controversial — with the potential to reach millions.~

Not sure if I want to comment a lot, well … maybe let’s try a little …

Flash definitively brought a lot of things at the creativity level and also the technical level,
in older posts I maybe said it once or twice “people does not realise how good they got it with Flash”,
you popup your Flash IDE, experiment/create/whatever, and can get something going pretty fast and boom put that SWF out there online and everyone can “play with it”, that’s what I call the barrier to entry,

It was pretty pretty pretty good, very low barrier to entry, and nowadays this is gone, sure.

Thing is, creativity cesspools can emerge from pretty much anything, it is this combination of luck, good tech, be there at the right moment, etc. but it is not unique to something in particular.

I saw it, at my own little level, in different little things, once in the Photoshop plugin crowd (way before Flash), the Kai’s Power Tools then MetaCreations, sick crazy UI, major influence;
I saw it in Flash too off course, but more like “hey we’re Macromedia here our Flash tool” to be answered by some crowd of dev “hey look what the impossible shit we did with it” to the flabbergasted software vendor who then shaped the tool more in those directions; in some other places like Processing (see post Generative Art with AS3 and Adobe Air), etc.

You don’t really know why the sauce stir in one particular place, and Flash for that was one huge pot of creativity sauce, but when you see it you know it.

And sadly here what I know today: I don’t fucking see it anywhere close to HTML.

It is hell to design with CSS to the point you want to throw your loved computer out of the window,
the HTML5 promise of “hey look we can do anything Flash can do, for realsy!!” have landed nowhere, seriously… how many games are done in HTML5? 5 maybe? oh great, is that per year? you mean this year? where?

Do you realise when I tried to do a personal backups of BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint archives I had to provision a special server just for those 500GB of torrent ? that just the Game Master List is a massive 3MB of pure text ?

It is not a problem of web tech really, the sauce is not stirring there and nobody really know why.

The web techs are now a huge clusterfuck which put the barrier to entry way too high for any “simple mind” who just want to create stuff and publish it (today! not in 2 years from now)

Flash was not perfect, we went trough our own flash components hell too, how many different ones we got along all those years? 5 or so … but still, if someone wanted to make a nice wooden cuckoo clock with a funny birds, or a nice naval inspired radar in fluorescent green with some blips, it was just a matter of creativity and a bit of work, but really anyone could just get started on their own little project, it was that easy.

Today, just building a website is not easy anymore.

It is so not easy, that you have horrors like wix and other free website builders, yukkkk (raise your hand if you puked in your mouth too)

Flash was the “HTML right click view source” of it’s generation, you could not literally see the sources but if you seen it SWF-embedded in a browser somewhere you could grab Flash (the IDE) and just starts, copy, change, distort, create your own stuff, etc.

I definitively don’t see that on the web anymore.

I guess now people will have to digg much deeper to express their creativity,
harder but not impossible.


I feel nostalgia about the openness of the community. At Flash gamedev times everyone followed the same path: make a Flash game - go to FGL - watch the sponsors compete for your game by increasing their bids - release the game with the winner and watch the players on Kongregate and NewGrounds rate your game and give suggestions.

The developers, who were successful on this path, gladly helped the newbies, because this helped the whole gamedev environment.

Nowadays, while many flash game developers stay in the business (by making Mobile or PC games), they are very reluctant to share their stories. For example, in the chat of hypercasual game developer (2300 members) noone ever shares even the video of their games, in the fear (not necessary unbased) that someone might steal their idea and release the same game faster with another publicher.