Everything You Need to Know

Everything You Need to Know

For years Adobe Flash Player was the heart of multimedia content on the web. If it had video, animation, or interactivity, it was probably Flash. On December 31, 2020, Adobe stopped all support for Flash Player, removing it from Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS, rendering all Flash content on the web inoperable, and bringing about the death of Flash plugins.

Well, that’s not entirely true. As we explain in How To Play Flash Files After 2020, there are many ways to access Flash content that modern browsers won’t play. The Flash Game Archive is one such project, and they’re working hard to preserve Flash games specifically.

What Is the Flash Game Archive?

The FGA is a preservation project to save as many Flash video games as possible. They’ve created a standalone application that plays these Flash games through emulation and using the original Flash player software. The application also works as a launcher for the game collection and offers information about each title.

The app developers have used the Unity game engine to create it and offer the software for free with no ads. However, as far as we can tell, this is not a free and open-source application.

If you look inside the FGA application folder, you’ll find copies of various Flash Player Executables and Ruffle. Ruffle is an excellent Flash emulator that third-party users, such as FGA’s developers, can use to run Flash games or Flash animations on modern hardware and operating systems. It works by translating Flash to modern HTML5 and is generally effective.

Why Archive Flash Games?

It’s easy to think of Flash games as disposable curiosities. However, Flash games from sites like Newgrounds represent a crucial era in the early days of the web. We saw something similar happen in the early days of cinema.

People didn’t think movies were valuable or important, so most early films are now lost to time. The internet will be with humanity for as long as we’re a high-tech society, so preserving internet artifacts representing a specific time and place in its history is inherently valuable.

The FGA Philosophy

For many of the reasons listed above, the FGA believes that preserving Flash games is worth doing. Their main argument is that a thriving emulator community helps keep console games alive long after the consoles themselves are gone, but there’s no console for Flash games.

The Flash Game Archive is custom software that doesn’t have the advertising and privacy problems of playing in a web browser. Once you have downloaded the game, you don’t need an internet connection.

FGA Is Small

One of the most popular solutions to accessing Flash games today is Bluemaxima’s Flashpoint Infinity. However, the installation size for Flashpoint varies from a few gigabytes to several hundred gigabytes!

In contrast, FGA’s download comes in at under 50MB, and you only need to use disk space and bandwidth for the specific games you’re interested in playing. As you select games from the available titles, they’ll download to your computer.

How to Use FGA

Using the FGA applications is easy to understand on your own, but why beat around the bush? Here’s how to get into a game as quickly as possible:

  1. Download the latest version of FGA. It’s Windows-only. Sorry Linux and macOS users!
  2. Unzip the folder you’ve downloaded.
  3. Run Flash Game Archive 2.
  1. On the app’s home screen, select Categories.
  1. Pick any category you’d like.
  1. Select a game from the list, such as 3 Foot Ninja.
  1. Select the Play button.

You can favorite a game by selecting the heart icon on its page. Then when you go to Favorites on the home screen, you’ll see all the titles you’ve shortlisted. You can also find games by searching for them or checking the Featured section on the home screen to see which games Patrons and developers think everyone should know about.

Configuring FGA

Flash Game Archive doesn’t have many settings for you to tweak, but they’re worth highlighting.

At the top right of the home screen, you’ll see several resolution presets for the app. Simply pick the one that matches your screen, or choose one below your screen’s native resolution if you want it in a smaller window.

If you select Settings from the app’s home screen, you’ll have the option to allow all Flash games.

This restores the removed functionality from Microsoft Windows, where otherwise, the OS might block the games. You can also undo that settings change and fix it with the Restore Old Settings button on the right-hand side.

Contributing Games to the Archive

You can upload Flash games to the archive using the Upload option on the website. All the files required to run the game must be compressed into a single ZIP file and uploaded using that page. As far as we can tell, direct requests to add games to the archive are reserved for FGA Patreon subscribers.

There’s not much information on that page about how the approval process works. Unfortunately, you also don’t get to provide personal details with the upload, so being a Patron is likely the way to go.

What About Copyright?

Most Flash games in the FGA are made by individuals or small groups of enthusiastic amateurs. Professional teams backed by large companies made some. Either way, these games are the intellectual property of their creators.

Anyone can submit a game to the FGA, creating a situation where games end up in the archive when the copyright owner doesn’t want them to. FGA has a dedicated page where copyright holders can request that a game be removed from the library. This is essentially an “ask for forgiveness later” approach, but it’s impossible to seek out the copyright holder for every flash game. Most of these games have anonymous authors who can’t be tracked down.

Supporting the Flash Game Archive

The Flash Game Archive is free for everyone to download and use, but it does cost money to develop and maintain software like this. So, FGA relies on the support of like-minded people and allows you to donate money through cryptocurrency or a Patreon subscription.

There are three tiers: Grey, Blue, and Gold. These cost $5, $10, and $20 per month. All three tiers get their names put in the software, but if you are a Gold Patreon, you can request that games you care about are placed in the Featured section, so more people will likely play them.

The FGA Discord

Since the FGA is a community-driven project, it should be no surprise that it has a thriving Discord server. You can get a Discord invite from the home page by clicking the Discord button. Alternatively, you can click the Discord button on the app’s home screen.

FGA’s Discord is packed with features. There are channels to donate money, request features, and learn how to change the default password (it’s just “password”). There’s even an FAQ that covers the most common questions and misconceptions about FGA.

Playing Your Own SWF Files

If you have your own SWF Flash game files, you can load them directly using the FGA application. All you have to do is select Load Local SWF from the app’s main menu.

You can choose which Flash versions to use for maximum compatibility, but the developers have not done anything to ensure the game runs properly.

You can find SWF files all over the internet, but we recommend you look first in the Internet Archive’s Flash Game Library.

More Than Flash Games

Although the FGA is mainly about preserving and letting us play flash games, there’s also a collection of Flash animations. These might be interactive, but they aren’t games. Still, they have the same overall historical value as Flash games, and much of internet culture history is locked up in these animations. If you want to see the FGA collection of Animations, scroll right on the home screen to reveal them.

Adult Content on FGA

If you haven’t noticed, FGA has many adult Flash games and animation. You mustn’t let underage or sensitive users access FGA. While these categories are password-protected, looking up the default password or how to change it is easy. It’s as simple as opening the Password text file in the FGA folder and editing the contents with Notepad.

There is no version of the FGA we could find that does not include this explicit content, so a responsible adult should always supervise it.

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