UPDATE: January 14th 2021
We've started rolling out new versions of the games sites featuring our new graphical design today. You will notice improvements over the coming days as each site gets its makeover. Our test site for the new look and feel over the past couple of weeks has been Frogger, and that is now live. We are working on Mahjong today and think our Mahjong players will be happy with the improvements. We hope so! There are a couple of teething issues such as the new full screen button at the top right of Mahjong not quite working fully. These will be addressed in time. The old full screen button still works nicely. Thank you for your patience as we roll out these major changes, and don't hesitate to contact us if you discover any issues. We'd also welcome any comments on if it is now working better for you. Thanks!
UPDATE: January 8th 2021
We are about half-way through converting our game sites to no longer use Flash. See below for more details on why this is happening. Only one site will not make the cut at this time - Mario. We'll leave this site up and running indefinitely, for those who are still able to use Flash, until we're able to convert it.
In the process of doing our conversions we are taking the opportunity to do a long overdue refresh of the look and feel of the sites. The sites will have a much 'cleaner' look, all games will have a convenient full screen button, which will also hide the ads, and many of the games will work on tablets and a few on mobile phones for the very first time. We're really excited about this, and you can get a sneak peak with our new look Pacman. Our new look Pong is also worth checking out.
Full deails on our progress and which sites have been converted already are listed at the bottom.
Flash is coming to an end. What are we doing about it?
As you may know, Adobe, the makers of Flash, have said they will no longer allow Flash to be used after Dec 31st 2020. Almost all of our games were originally made in Flash.
This page details the steps we are taking (or have taken) to fix this.
If you want to skip the history part (even though it's really quite interesting) scroll down...
History of Flash / How we got here
Like millions of websites, and particularly many games websites, our games were originally built in Flash. Flash was by far the best technology for making web games for well over a decade, and a few smart people might argue it still is.
Flash is (was) extremely efficient - very small file sizes, it works (or worked) consistently and reliably across many different devices and operating systems - if you had Flash installed 'it just worked'. It was terrifically easy to publish to a website - just a single file, and for a long time was ubiquitous - everything had Flash installed.
It's use of vector graphics meant that a Flash game could scale to any resolution, and even any aspect ratio. The hoops that developers have to jump through now to make their games work on different devices are frankly a nightmare.
The beginning of the end for Flash was an argument between Steve Jobs and Adobe. This led to Steve Jobs deciding never to support Flash on the iPhone and iPad. This was the beginning of the end for Flash.
Why is Flash ending?
After the spat with Apple, Flash quickly became a millstone for Adobe. It was no longer making them money (they used to sell Flash Development tools, but with no iPhone/iPad support, developers didn't want to develop for it any more), and the constant updates to patch security holes and provide support was costing Adobe money.
In 2017 they decided to pull the plug completely, giving everyone 3 years notice of its demise.
How is Flash coming to an end?
Unfortunately for all of us, Adobe got together with all the major browser manufacturers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera and Safari) to agree that come the end of 2020, Flash would be disabled in these browsers simultaneously - on Jan 1st 2021.
The way they are doing this is comprehensive and hard to work around.
Browsers are actively disabling the Flash plugin through a 'time kill switch' on Jan 1st 2021. In addition, the Flash plugin from Adobe (version 32 on) will also deactivate itself through a time kill switch just a few days later - on Jan 12th 2021.
As a 3rd factor, new Operating System versions from Microsoft and Apple are removing the API's that Flash relies upon within the operating system. In fact the latest version of Mac OS (Big Sur) no longer supports Flash, and Windows will disable the equivalent API's via Windows updates in Summer 2021.
This three-pronged attack makes it very difficult to keep Flash working in your browser, even for an expert. You might think you could simply avoid updating your browser, but Chrome for example auto-updates without your knowledge, and OS updates will kill off compatibility as well. Adobe has removed all of the older versions of Flash from its website that do not have the 'kill switch'.
Adobe has been flippantly advising publishers like us for the past 3 years that they should migrate their games and web applications to newer technologies like HTML 5. The reality is that HTML 5 is not a panacea, and does not work consistently across different operating systems and browsers like Flash did. Support for audio is atrocious and inconsistent, and most games have to be rebuilt from scratch.
For many very old games and websites the developer behind it has long since moved on, or it's not economical to do the work.
What is going to happen after January 1st 2021?
Millions of older websites and many hundreds of thousands of Flash games will stop working on or shortly after Jan 1st 2021. That's it. No more. For some people who've never upgraded their computers, Flash games may continue to work after this. Some publishers and projects like ours are working to convert games to newer technologies.
What are we doing about it?
At the start of 2019 we began a two year project to convert or replace the majority of our games with HTML 5 versions. The first game to get this treatment was Mahjong, which we completed in May 2019.
The good news is that almost all of our games will get similar replacements in early January, although unfortunately it is looking like we will not be able to convert Mario at this time.
Which games will (or will not) work after January 2021?
Mahjong - Already converted Empire - Already converted Big Farm - Already converted Flappy Bird - Already converted Minesweeper - Already converted (Note: Requires a mouse) Galaga - Already converted (Requires keyboard) Solitaire - Already converted (Now working on iPhones and iPads in iOS14!) Pong - Already converted (much improved from prior version, plays nicely on iPad) Frogger - Already converted (Requires keyboard)
Mario - Will not be converted at this time, but we expect to do so at some point
N.B. We plan to launch a couple of new games - likely Chess and Sudoku, in February
Note that conversion to HTML 5 will mean that some (not all) of our games will now work on iPhone and iPad. Please expect some glitches and growing pains as we roll this out. Some games may play slightly different, or be a slightly different version of the game. If you have any issues, please let us know. We will update this list daily over the coming days. You can contact us at hello (at) freevideogamesonline (dot) org.
Last Updated: January 14th 2021