Adobe Flash was good, actually

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Three things arrived at about the same time: Flash, usable broadband, and Silicon Valley VCs – and for a few years there, we had an explosion of creativity, paid for by naive investors who weren’t worried about things like “monetization” or “ROI”. Anyone with a creative idea and a good pitch would probably end up with an office full of Aeron chairs and a copy of Flash to start making games or wild animated shorts. And because it’s Flash, tons of that stuff is lost forever, or at least until someone finds an archive on an old hard drive. Remember Porkchops the Donkey? Hoopty-Goo’s Haikus? (they weren’t very good). It was an extraordinary time.

I can’t wait to check this book out, both for the sheer nostalgia and for the vanity of seeing if stuff I worked on is in a Taschen book.


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Ellen is friends with all kinds of web formats


I hope it doesn’t ask for RealPlayer again


Flash came along and did what Java was supposed to do — provide interactive animation on the web. But it had the advantages of an existing army of programmers and not sucking as badly. I can remember the Sun sales engineers talking up Java with the little mascot doing…something. And Java was considered so much The Future that Netscape changed it’s LiveScript language to JavaScript, though they had nothing in common.

Good -times- riddance to bad rubbish


I do remember a time when Flash, or rather, the things people were doing with Flash, seemed exciting. People could do so much more inside a swf – and do it as individuals – that it felt like a whole new creative landscape opening up.

But even back then, it was pretty clear there was nowhere for these exciting ideas to go outside of their little 400x300 swf hutches. There was never a prospect of Flash integrating with the rest of the software universe – that’s the whole reason it was accessible to start with. And even for purely self-contained works, like games and animation, it was never the most technically capable platform.

That is a fair point. It is very hard to create a jumping-on point for people to get into coding, and Flash did that. But, again, by creating this stunted mini-platform which was graspable only because you couldn’t do very much. There are still things like that around (e.g. PICO-8), but they don’t have much of a mainstream audience, and it’s a historical fluke that Flash did.


The worst thing about Flash was that it added a never-ending parade of security holes to browsers. Every time they’d fix a serious security bug, soon afterwards another serious one would crop up. And since quite a few people didn’t upgrade their Flash installs, the old bugs continued to do damage for a long time. These bugs were very commonly exploited by malware.


Flash became quite a dumpster fire, sure, but it was also one of the easiest ways to try out animation at the time.


Every piece of software, even open-source code, has the same problem, but most aren’t nearly as widely adopted. If you exploited Flash, you were exploiting nearly every computer, regardless of platform or browser. If Flash hadn’t become so ubiquitous, it wouldn’t have been targetted the way it was, and wouldn’t have gotten its “reputation”


I fixed that for ya!

The golden age of Flash was definitely before Adobe got involved.


For any wishing to find old content, some links:
(Note, site does have NSFW content, but this link is to the SFW games page, but be careful)
Edit: changed link slightly to one with more content

And the standalone flash exe.
Download it, then drag flash files onto it or use the ‘open with’ prompt in explorer to browse to this. does not involve internet browsers in any way so any security vulnerabilities are minimised.
(Link from here)


All I know is it gave us and the wonderful Strong Bad emails.

ETA and Zombocom but that now has a non flash site.


A few animated classics from back in the day, rescued by YouTube…

Miss Muffy & the Muff Mob
Radiskull and Devil Doll
Queer Duck
Mr. Wong


The sad thing about that is you lose the clickable easter eggs in the flash toons.


Good news Flash fans - about a month ago Xfinity started requiring Flash to use its streaming television interface. Comcast certainly never fails to astonish its customers.


Quite possibly the best Flash applications


They probably still are. Microsoft installs its own copy of Flash under the Windows directory, with no uninstall. Worse yet, third party software can still access it.

I guess it’s time to check to see if they put it back yet. eta: Nope, so far.


It was the best of times, it was the peanut butter jelliest of times…


Flash was “good” because it brought us Homestar Runner. Period. Period.

I’d love to catch up on some of the “newer” Homestar Runner videos, but god damn Youtube makes it impossible to browse videos unless you just want Russian race-war propaganda. Hell, it takes me ages some time to find my own goddamn videos.

At a restaurant for breakfast the other day, and I swear to god the deaf, dum-fuk blowhard geezer babbling two tables over actually said “Well, I saw on Youtube…” every third sentence.

Gotta admit, having to click every goddamn thing did get old after a while.