The Internet Archive – the non-profit digital library known as Wayback Machine – has announced that it will now retain Flash animations and games before Adobe’s planned demise for non-existent web software in late 2020. The archive will emulate content so it plays both before, preserving the critical elements of early Internet culture for browsers that can no longer launch them.
The online archive says you can now browse more than 1,000 games and animations that have been preserved, including classics such as “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” and “Your Entire Base Belongs to Us.”
Flash is crucial for creativity on the early web, turning thin pages of text and images into absolute nightmares of movement, but as The Internet Archive notes, Flash is really important because it’s relatively easy to use:
The software allows a beginner or beginner to make surprisingly complex and flexible graphics and audio broadcasts that run beautifully in web browsers without requiring in-depth knowledge of individual operating systems and programming languages.
Flash expired in 2017, when Adobe announced that it was discontinuing support, but it was written on the wall even longer, starting with Apple’s announcement that it would not allow Flash on iOS in 2010. In the following years, Adobe decided to discontinue support for Flash for mobile devices. It wasn’t long before Chrome, Edge, and Safari chose HTML5 by default when possible, leaving the old standby mode to rot.
With this new emulation tool in its belt, the Internet archive must be equipped to serve as a coffin for many endangered Flash creations. And not only that: game publisher Kongregate also plans to continue hosting Flash games on its website for the foreseeable future.