Growing old on Newgrounds: The hopes and quandaries of Flash game preservation

Keywords: digital heritage, digital preservation, videogames, digital games, digital creativity, netnography, digital ethnography, Flash

Abstract

After December 2020, Adobe Flash, a technology that was once the standard for rich and interactive Web content, will no longer be supported in browsers. This means users will not be able to access the thousands of diverse creations powered by Flash, from animations to digital games. This is particularly problematic for games, which cannot be easily converted into a more modern format. The threat of losing the legacy of Flash has provoked both reflection and action by online communities dedicated to animation and browser-based games, none more so than Newgrounds, the Web portal credited with popularizing Flash games at the turn of the century. As a result, groups of enthusiasts have been able to make significant progress in preserving Flash games. Still, they continue to face numerous challenges, from rigid copyright laws to a relative lack of recognition of the importance of preserving Flash games as such. Consolidating their efforts by joining forces with other like-minded groups may be the key not only to saving digital heritage created with Flash, but also to the longer-term survival of these creator communities themselves.

Author Biography

Mikhail Fiadotau, Tallinn University
Lecturer in the School of Digital Technologies
Published
2020-07-22
How to Cite
Fiadotau, M. (2020). Growing old on Newgrounds: The hopes and quandaries of Flash game preservation. First Monday, 25(8). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i8.10306