Top 10 Flash Games

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Adobe's Flash software has been used to make countless internet content over the years.

As of Dec. 31, 2020, Adobe will officially be ending all support for its Flash web player. This means that all websites, videos, and games that were made with, and run on Flash, will no longer be usable after this year. 

Adobe’s Vice President Govind Balakrishnan spoke on the matter. 

“During the 20 plus years [Flash] has been around, it has played a key role in advancing interactivity and creative content on the web,” Balakrishnan said. “Few technologies have had such a profound and positive impact in the Internet era. But Adobe has always been about reinvention and creativity, and we’re excited to help lead the next era of digital content creation.”

While this doesn’t necessarily mean all Flash-created content will be gone forever, it does mean that any content not converted into a new software like HTML5 won’t be around after 2020 is over. While not nearly as many websites or videos are still created with Flash, it’s a big part of Internet history that won’t be here for much longer.

“Even though there isn’t much need for it anymore, Flash is incredibly nostalgic,” said Neel Donthamsetti, junior. “It’ll be sad to see some of my favorite Flash games go away.”

In order to commemorate all of the amazing content this platform has given us, I’ve decided to compile a list of the best web browser games created in Flash. These games can be played on websites such as addictinggames.com, coolmathgames.com, and newgrounds.com

“Cool Math carried me through the tough times in elementary school as a small child,” said Brady Pollard, freshman. “It was a fantastic website.” 

For the sake of keeping things simple, I’ve decided to only include free single-player games that aren’t ROM hacks or based on pre-existing properties, so MMOs like “Club Penguin” won’t be on here, nor will classics like “Super Smash Flash 2” or “Super Mario 63”. Without further adieu, here’s the list.

10. “Age of War” (series)

Courtesy of kongregate.com
“Age of War” is a game where you send out cavemen to fight against other cavemen.

Created by Max Games Studios, “Age of War” is a game that combines numerous styles into one. Fundamentally, it’s a tower-defense game where you manage your resources and send out troops to defend your base. What makes it stand out, however, is its streamlined game design that forces you to act more quickly than carefully. 

This gives the game the intensity of a tower defense, and the satisfaction of a clicker game before that genre was even popular. The cartoonish art style and choppy animations also give it a sense of charm and humor that only a web browser game made in Flash could quite pull off. 

9. “Run” (series)

Courtesy of coolmathgames.com
“Run 2” is an on-rails 3D platformer that requires the player to think quickly.

Very few Flash games offer the quick and addictive game-play that “Run” has to offer. It is an on-rails 3D platformer that forces the player to be strategic, while also thinking on their feet. Its accessible nature has allowed it to be one of the most popular Flash games on the internet that can be enjoyed both in small bursts and for hours on end. 

Every version of the game offers a similar experience but switches up the level design to keep things fresh every time. It’s hard not to get sucked into once you start playing, and has well earned its status as an internet staple. 

8. “Meat Boy

Courtesy of jayisgames.com
“Meat Boy” is a platformer where you play as a cube of meat.

Perhaps the most recognizable franchise from one of Newgrounds’ biggest creators, Edmund McMillen’s “Meat Boy” is a defining moment for not only flash games but 2D platformers of the modern era. While it pales in comparison to the more popular and greatly expanded sequel “Super Meat Boy”, which costs about $15 and is available on most major platforms, the original is still a fun time to be had. 

McMillen’s juxtaposition of endearing characters and a morbid sense of humor that makes his games immediately identifiable is better represented here than anywhere else. You control a square of meat who leaves a red trail everywhere he goes, conquering levels that get more and more challenging as the game goes on. The smooth controls, short levels, and infinite amount of lives keep the game from getting frustrating, yet still offers a good challenge. This is especially true in “Super Meat Boy”, which is widely regarded as one of the most difficult games ever made.

7. “Duck Life” (series)

Courtesy of coolmathgames.com
A screenshot from “Duck Life 2”, a game where you train and race a duck.

The Duck Life series sees the player training a duck in four different events (running, flying, climbing, and swimming) to compete in races and become the fastest duck in the world. You train your duck by playing different minigames to increase each of their respective stats and then watch them compete against computer-generated ducks. 

While one could argue that the game is monotonous, as it forces you to play the same minigames over and over again, there’s something so gratifying about seeing the weak and helpless little creature that you first adopted turn into such a strong character. This is especially true in “Duck Life 3: Evolution”, in which your duck evolves into a bigger being. 

6. “Kingdom Rush” (series)

A screenshot from “Kingdom Rush Frontiers”, the second game in the “Kingdom Rush” series.

While the tower defense genre has a lot of slapdash entries that follow a similar formula, “Kingdom Rush” has always been a cut above the competition. The game is much more detailed graphically than most Flash games you will ever come across and offers an equally riveting and fast-paced experience amidst the cleaner presentation. 

It takes on a more linear approach than most games of its kind, with each location being a new level to continue in the story. It’s easy to see “Kingdom Rush” as one of the most meticulously assembled games available for free on the internet. 

5. “N

Courtesy of softonic.com
A screenshot from “N”, a game where you solve single-screen levels.

Despite being a free game made in Flash, “N”’s simplistic color pallet and art style makes it look as good as a full-priced indie game. It’s a 2D platformer that’s based around single-screen levels and puzzle-solving. Rather than being arcade-like and playing endlessly for a high score, “N” sees the player conquering 30 different levels in any order they desire. 

The game combines simplistic level design with complex methods of completing them, forcing the player to strategically plan their routes. The game awards different methods of conquering levels via collectibles found in each stage, which makes it much more replayable than most other platformers on the web. 

 

 

4. “Flight

Courtesy of armorgames.com
“Flight” is a game where you throw a paper airplane and see how far it can go.

“Flight” is a charming game where you deliver a letter to Santa Claus by continuously throwing it in the form of a paper airplane and seeing how far it will go. After gaining some distance, you are able to upgrade your plane to fly for longer and get the ability to steer and control the plane at your own will. 

The game’s cute story is an excellent motive to keep playing, and the addictive nature of seeing how far you can get your plane to fly and what upgrades you can get next gives it a careful balance of being both arcade-like and linear.

3. “Fancy Pants Adventure” (series)

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“Fancy Pants” is an iconic mascot in the world of Flash games.

One of the most recognizable mascots in Flash games is a faceless stick figure with spiky hair and orange pants, most commonly known as “Fancy Pants”. With the series’s first entry being released in 2006, it has developed a reputation as one of the most ambitious undertakings in web browser gaming. Each game offers you a set of vast levels to explore, combining the momentum-based gameplay of the “Sonic the Hedgehog” series, and the floaty platforming of the “Rayman” games. 

On top of this is a very self-aware sense of humor that likes to poke fun at video game cliches, and an overall tongue in cheek attitude. The series has actually gone on to have a paid adaptation in the form of “Super Fancy Pants”, which sees the already excellent game-play updated in a big way. 

2. “Cat Ninja

Courtesy of jayisgames.com
“Cat Ninja” is a 2D platformer where you play as a pixelated cat.

One of the most fluid and addictive platformers online, “Cat Ninja” is a fast-paced and satisfying experience that, despite its difficulty, is some of the most fun you will ever have in your web browser. The pixelated graphics that call back to the 16-bit era make it fall in line more with a modern indie game than a Flash game, but that doesn’t take away from its charm. In fact, it helps make the game stand out more amongst its contemporaries. 

The smooth controls, bursts of challenge, and forgiving re-spawns warrant comparisons to “Meat Boy”, but the game’s interconnected level design and use of situational items make it stand completely on its own.

1. “Bloons Tower Defense” (series)

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Gameplay from “Bloons Tower Defense 3”.

There are no other Flash games that match the iconic and legendary status of NinjaKiwi’s “Bloons Tower Defense” series. It’s a spin-off of the also beloved “Bloons” games in which you take control of a monkey and throw darts to try and pop every balloon on screen. “Bloons Tower Defense” takes on the same idea, only instead of taking control over the dart thrower, you place down different monkeys and machines to defend against onslaughts of balloons. It’s strategic, satisfying, and difficult to put down.

The game is much more accessible than most of its genre, as the pacing of the game’s difficulty is inviting for new players, but still becomes challenging enough for veterans. The cartoonish nature of the game also makes it feel like a timestamp of the creativity that Flash had to offer.

“[‘Bloons Tower Defense’] kept me alive in math class all the way up to senior year,” said Tom Borys, senior. 

All of these Flash games will likely be salvaged after Flash goes away, as they each have a big enough fanbase for somebody to take the time to convert the code into HTML5. Unfortunately, however, not every game will be that fortunate and some will inevitably be gone forever. Because of this, I encourage you to find and play as many Flash games as possible before they go away after the year is over.