Flash games may be the epitome of wasting time, but there’s no denying their appeal when you have five minutes to spare and a thirst for something more than a cursory glance at Twitter or Facebook. (And is it really a waste of time if you’re having fun?) They’ve come a long way from their humble, vector-based beginnings, finding a home on websites like Newgrounds, Kongregate, and Addicting Games, among other popular sites, while becoming increasingly more complex and fully featured.
However, in 2020, support for Adobe Flash ended, taking all of the best (and worst) games with it. Thankfully, you can still play the most popular Flash games thanks to certain flash emulators or other methods. Sadly, some Flash games are permanently gone forever now that flash support has ended. A handful of Flash games have stood the test of time but are now available as apps or even fully-fledged games, distancing themselves from their humble beginnings.
Flash games were interesting because they were often solely gameplay-focused and immediately got you into the action. Whereas many early Flash games were browser-based recreations of classic titles like Pac-ManandFrogger, the market reached new heights with the introduction of the high-speed internet and hit titles like Bowman, The Impossible Quiz, andMax Dirt Bike. They don’t offer the in-depth storylines, cutting-edge graphics, or sheer scope of today’s blockbuster console titles, but there’s no reason browser-based alternatives can’t hold you over between meetings or during those drab hours of the day.
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PlatformsPlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance
DeveloperTuna Technologies, The Behemoth
PublisherO3 Entertainment, Zoo Digital
ReleaseMay 21, 2004
Starting things off is one of the quintessential flash games, Alien Hominid. This run and gun shooter originally came to Newgrounds in 2002 and exploded in popularity shortly thereafter. Its developer, The Behemoth, went on to create the beloved Castle Crashers, which garnered great success as well, but Alien Hominid is how the studio got its start. As for the game itself, it’s got a super-stylized art style, with thick outlines and huge, flat colors. It plays a lot like Metal Slug, wherein you must run left to right while taking out enemies with your blaster. You play as one of the little yellow aliens (shown above) in either single-player or cooperative multiplayer modes. Whichever mode you pick, there are a lot of secret agents to defeat, along with a slew of power-ups to collect. You’ve probably at least seen or heard of this game before — and for good reason. It’s one of the most popular flash games of all time.
PlatformsAndroid, iOS, Web browser
DeveloperEmergent Studios, Boštjan Čadež
PublisherEmergent Studios, Boštjan Čadež
ReleaseSeptember 23, 2006
Ah, good old Line Rider. Does anyone else have memories of booting this up at school in the computer lab? It’s a classic, for sure, but what makes it so special? Well, the main thing is that it’s so simple, and it leans into something that will probably always be funny: Slapstick comedy. Creating a huge, complicated track that sends your character flopping across it is still funny, and the tools used to create such tracks are easy and intuitive to use. Line Rider came to browsers in 2006 and became a meme (before memes were even popularized), thanks to the wacky creations people would share around the internet. There were creation games that were far more complex than this at the time, but Line Rider garnered success due to its simplicity, which has stood the test of time, even 14 years later.
ReleaseSeptember 27, 2012
First impressions can be deceiving andJacksmith is a prime example. The game’s initial premise seems fairly simple, requiring players to take on the role of a small-town blacksmith hellbent on arming his band of pig warriors with the finest weapons ever assembled. Once the weapons are crafted using a process of click-reliant minigames such as pouring bronze, hammering edges, and constructing hilts, players can then oversee several combatants in the field as they collect blueprints, gems, and other resources enemies drop to build more refined weapons. Although battles automatically play out, weapon duration and battle success depend on how well you perform in minigames. This becomes increasingly hard as you receive larger weapon orders and less time. Jacksmith does become rather repetitive at times, but you’ll begin to find a certain satisfaction in constructing well-built instruments of war, mowing down legions of bats, slugs, and otherworldly miscreants on your path to defeating the diabolical, Great Wizard Dudley.
PlatformsLinux, PC (Microsoft Windows), Xbox 360, PC DOS, Mac, Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Game Boy Advance, Sega 32X, Sega Saturn, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Super Famicom, Atari Jaguar, Nintendo Switch
PublisherActivision, GT Interactive, Soft Bank, Art Data Interactive, Bashou House, Williams Entertainment, Ocean Software, Imagineer, Atari, id Software, Sega, Bethesda Softworks
ReleaseDecember 10, 1993
The most well-known game on this list, 1993’s Doom is a seminal game in the first-person shooter genre. Developed by id Software and initially shipped via mail order and the early days of shareware, you play as Doomguy, an unnamed space marine that fights his way through nine levels filled with monsters and demons. Today, Doom may not look so hot, but it’s an interesting game to revisit due to its enormous impact on the industry. It’s also still quite fun, a testament to how well-made it was in 1993. You can find Doom on many different sites on the web, but our favorite method is through Playclassic.games.
ReleaseDecember 31, 2004
Avoiding chemistry homework and playing MotherLoad into the wee hours of the night was basically a rite of passage if you grew up in the early 2000s. It’s reminiscent of old-school classics like Dig Dug and Boulder Dash, pitting players in a quest for a fabled, precious bounty of rare ore buried deep in the dark recesses under the surface of Mars. Players control a robotic mining pod, tunneling their way through the earth using the down, left, and right arrow keys, and flying upward to refuel their machine at the nearest depot. You can use in-game resources to purchase additional pod upgrades, such as an expanded fuel tank and a more advanced drill, while bonus items like the plastic explosives and Quantum Teleporter present welcome gameplay mechanics designed to interrupt what would be the stagnant humdrum of merely moving around the screen. It certainly won’t be the most inventive or prettiest title to grace your monitor, but it’s a Flash classic, and the unbridled sense of pleasure you’ll receive upon finding mineable gold is well worth the hours of gameplay.
Super Mario 63
ReleaseApril 10, 2009
WithSuper Mario 63, a fan-made platformer in the Super Mario vein, players pummel their way through the reimagined, 2D world ofSuper Mario 64. The level variation is outstanding, encapsulating everything from high peaks to arid deserts. Players can sprint, triple jump, and ground pound their way to reclaim the fabled Shine Sprites and rescue the iconic Princess Peach. The controls are basic, using the stereotypical arrow keys and the Z, X, and C buttons, but they can prove difficult when using extra peripherals such as the flying cap. Other memorable elements from past Mario titles also trickle in, most notably the water jet pack from Super Mario Sunshine and various baddies, rendering the game more than a simple side-scrolling port. It features all the qualities of a standout Mario title, sans the console, and polished visuals.
Realm of the Mad God
PlatformsPC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Web browser
GenreRole-playing (RPG), Indie
DeveloperWild Shadow Studios
ReleaseJune 20, 2011
Realm of the Mad God is an online MMORPG that simultaneously tackles elements of a traditional shooter, pitting players from all walks of life against one another in a class-driven crusade against the minions of dark lord Oryx. The old-school map is expansive, overflowing with a swarm of dangerous enemies and diverse environments. Although the title fancies itself more of an open-world shooter than RPG, players can still level up and gather upgradeable loot that’s swappable at the local bazaar. They can also choose from one of 14 available classes (wizard, huntress, mystic, assassin, etc.). Its arcade-style controls and pure bullet hell can make the title chaotic at times, as does each server’s 85-player capacity. Yet it’s also deceptively rich considering the genre-bending elements and the title’s strong emphasis on a single life.
Super House of Dead Ninjas
PlatformsPC (Microsoft Windows)
PublisherAdult Swim Games
ReleaseFebruary 18, 2013
Adult Swim is undoubtedly at the forefront when it comes to risque and borderline-bizarre cable content. That’s not to say the network’sSuper House of Dead Ninjasis unorthodox, but it’s far more brutal than most of the recommendations on our list. It’s not so much about stealth and sneaking as it basic hack-and-slash gameplay, ushering players to frantically descend a randomized 350-level tower as the Crimson Ninja, clad in an arsenal of stereotypical ninja weaponry designed to obliterate the onslaught of enemies. You’re constantly at the mercy of two countdown timers, one signaling the appearance of the Grim Reaper and the other encapsulating your rage progress, as well the game’s staggered boss battles and the final showdown against the hellish demon housed in the tower’s basement. The action is blazing fast, the learning curb and game length fairly modest, yet the challenge and sheer amount of unlockable content belie all the game’s other memorable facets. The virtual scan lines and the fact no two towers are ever the same is only a bonus.
GenreShooter, Music, Simulator, Indie
ReleaseOctober 05, 2012
Jim Crawford’sFrog Fractionsstarts out easy enough with a frog, some fruit, and a slew of pop-up fractions. The game’s initial goal is to protect the swarms of butterflies, mosquitos, and other insects from devouring the fruit with your elastic tongue, but it quickly becomes something more momentous. Players find themselves purchasing a bevy of notable upgrades within minutes, such as a static tongue and more resilient fruit. But it’s the more advanced upgrades like the cybernetic brain, lock-on targeting, and Chinese dragon that make it more than some browser-based spoof on educational titles likeMath Blaster and Word Muncher. Eventually, you’ll be battling robotic squid in space, listening to a narrated history of boxing, running for president, and dabbling in bug pornography among other outlandish activities. Frog Fractions, though unlikely to boost your brain capacity andeven less likely to last more than an hour,remains wildly unpredictable — even if you expect the unexpected.
Age of War
GenreReal Time Strategy (RTS), Strategy
ReleaseDecember 31, 2009
Although Age of War begins in the age of cavemen and dinosaurs with an arsenal of clubs and comets on command, it soon segues into medieval times, the modern era, and eventually into a world characterized by flying tanks and automatic artillery guns. However, despite the cosmetic changes and slight gameplay tweaks accompanying each era, the game maintains its simplistic design. The primary goal of the game relies on the player’s ability to protect their own base, as well as destroy their opponents, allowing players to build a variety of melee and ranged troops in addition to an assortment of prehistoric and modern turrets. As expected, money and experience are gained through combat and the elimination of enemy forces, all of which automatically proceed once you select the appropriate units. The AI is highly adept, essentially upgrading and advancing at the same rate regardless of the chosen difficulty, but there’s no shame keeping things on the easy side until you perfect your strategy. Just don’t let time pass you by.
Kingdom Rush Frontiers
PlatformsPC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch
GenreReal Time Strategy (RTS), Strategy, Indie
DeveloperIronhide Game Studio
PublisherIronhide Game Studio
ReleaseJune 06, 2013
It would be a gross understatement to say the tower-defense field is anything but saturated, however,the originalKingdom Rush was one of the best. Like its tower-based brethren and predecessor, Kingdom Rush Frontiers requires players to build a multitude of fortified towers to fend off a never-ending barrage of maniacal dragons, man-eating plants, and demonic heathens hell-bent on ransacking your beloved kingdom. The newest incarnation of the title touts nearly 10 specialized tower upgrades and 18 tower abilities, not to mention a gang of new heroes and three difficulty modes, and even introduces an in-game encyclopedia detailing each the towers’ respective strengths and weaknesses.Kingdom Rush Frontiersexceeds Ironhide Games’ original title and then some, delivering challenging gameplay across jungles, deserts, and the underworld among other terrains.Plus, it looks pretty darn cute.
DeveloperCon Artist Games
ReleaseSeptember 19, 2008
It’s safe to say World War II and modern combat dominate the field when it comes to today’s war-time simulation games. However, Warfare 1917opts for an earlier date — 1917 to be precise — and focuses its two-part campaign on British and German hostilities during the trench-torn skirmishes of WWI. It’s a straightforward strategy game, boasting nearly 30,000 votes on Amorgames.com. It requires players to use infantry, armor, and fire support to gain a strategic foothold from which to overthrow the enemy. All the usual infantry you come to expect makes an appearance, such as rifleman and machine gunners, along with more expansive artillery, siege tanks, and various chemical weapons. The title becomes increasingly harder as players proceed, even with the added bonus abilities earned via the in-game experience points. It also features a custom battle mode if you’d rather outline the rules of engagement yourself.Warfare 1917‘s visuals may appear bleak and barren, but then again, so was the Great War.
In many ways,Bubble Spinner 2is like a rotating, hexagonalBust-a-Movesans the iconic cute dinosaurs. With Bubble Spinner 2, players take control of simple pointer located at the top of the screen and launching a series of colored bubbles at a larger group of bubbles rotating in the center. Bubbles detach and clear when the launched bubble comes in contact with some that are already attached to one or more of the same color. This often starts a chain reaction, clearing all nearby bubbles and earning you points. The momentum of the bubble you shoot spins the center shape on impact, exposing more opportunities in the process. Bubbles will also inconveniently stack up on one another if you fail to hit the appropriate color. Winning depends on how quickly players can clear all bubbles, and alternatively, losing occurs when bubbles stack outside the middle of the screen.Bubble Spinner 2 can get repetitive, as can any puzzler,yet it’s deceptively strategic. Hint: use the walls to your advantage.
Boxhead 2Play Rooms
PlatformsPC (Microsoft Windows)
Like nearly any zombie title ever created, Boxhead 2Playis a game of kill or be killed. Clad in a boxy body akin to Minecraft, players traverse a sparse, obstacle-laden map as one of four characters (Bamboo, Bon, Bind, and Bert), and obtain an arsenal of upgradeable weaponry ranging from the commonplace pistol and grenade to the scattered shotgun and railgun. Whether you’re playing solo or local co-op with a friend, the goal of the game remains to fend off hordes of virus-stricken citizens as long as possible, all the while dodging the Devil’s fireballs and nearby exploding boxes. Backstory and physical appearance are the only things that set each controllable character apart from one another. Control movements using the standard arrow keys or the W, A, S, and D buttons, and shoot using the spacebar. Gamers will initially feel a false sense of invincibility as they start the gameplay out with scarce and successful bouts of killing off zombies, but they’ll soon get a rude awakening. Soon, they’re fighting off massive zombie attacks with no respite in sight. Thankfully, there’s always a head-to-head deathmatch if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Dolphin Olympics 2
ReleaseNovember 01, 2007
If you enjoyed playing the game Ecco the Dolphin on Sega Genesis, you’ll get a sense of nostalgia and excitement when you try Dolphin Olympics 2. Though there is no direct connection between the two, Dolphin Olympics 2 is a Flash title similarly rooted in mammal acrobatics. The object of this game is to make the most impressive acrobatic jumps as the dolphin during each emergence out of the water within a two-minute time frame. In this game, players take on a dolphin’s role where they have two minutes to pop out of the water and perform trick combinations that earn points. Acrobatics isn’t the only action you can perform to gain points, as you can also accrue extra points by assembling crowds of fellow underwater wildlife. You can also increase your speed by jumping through the various magic rings floating in the air and beneath the water’s surface. The jumping controls are straightforward enough, but entering and exiting the water gracefully is a bit of a challenge that relies heavily on angles, speed, and trick performance. It’s all about stringing together successful combos and aerial maneuvers, and if you do it just right, you just might find a place among the stars (both figuratively and literally).
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Do Flash games still work 2021? ›
Adobe officially killed Flash player on December 31, 2020. All major browsers too removed Flash support either at the same time or in early 2021. With Flash support ending, other websites that offer Flash-based content like games and animations have no choice but to remove them too.Can you play Flash games in 2022? ›
Play Flash anytime, even in 2022 and beyond, using an emulator. Want to fix "Adobe Flash Player is no longer supported" and "This plugin is not supported" error messages? This extension will remove those messages and allow you to play Flash in any website with a single click. It's easy to use: Click once and that's it!What browser can you play Flash games after 2020? ›
Together, The Internet Archive and Ruffle allow you to play Flash games without flash just as you used to do, even after December, 2020. The system works in all browsers that support Webassembly and does not require you to have Adobe Flash Player installed.