If you’ve used any program that uses graphics or sound in the last 25 years, then you’ve definitely used Flash, even without knowing you’re using it.
Flash is a computer software created in 1995 by Macromedia that focuses on providing computers the capability to run multimedia content and works across various platforms. It was later acquired by Adobe, which is why most people might know it as Adobe Flash.
Its popularity stems from its many positive features; these include a friendly user interface, cross compatibility across various platforms, and ease of creating content.
However, Flash also suffers from some drawbacks, such as being susceptible to malware packages. Its security risk cannot be ignored, with many exploit kits using Flash as one of their vectors in recent years.
And despite 20 years of development, it still somehow also has bugs. But that doesn’t take away its royalty status in the tech world, especially for in-browser games!
Stay with us as we discuss the importance of Flash in Google Chrome games and how you can run them:
Table of Contents
- Enabling Flash in Google Chrome
- Why Can’t I Play Flash Content In Google Chrome?
- Avoid Using Flash If You Can
- How To Enable Flash On Google Chrome
- Check Your Flash Version In Chrome
- Install Flash On Chrome
- Verify Your Chrome Browser Version
- Enabling Flash On Individual Websites
Enabling Flash in Google Chrome
Due to security issues, some platforms do not support Flash. Even though it used to boast a considerable user base, this base seems to be shrinking in recent years due to some tough competition from other tools.
In light of that, Adobe announced that it would pull support for Flash from 2020, and the platform has since discontinued its services.
Most major platforms followed suit and officially stopped running Flash; they have also started to block Flash content. The other options that companies are gravitating towards include:
However, Flash came to be ubiquitous with multimedia content, and suddenly saying goodbye to it cannot be an option for users who are heavily integrated with the platform.
And you might still need to access content that runs on Flash. Thankfully, there are several ways users can continue to access Flash content.
The first hurdle you will face is that you might not be able to use Flash on Google Chrome anymore, as Chrome now recommends HTML5 for multimedia content.
Moreover, the vast majority of browsers like Edge, Firefox, and Opera automatically disable Flash and work around HTML5. Internet Explorer is the only browser that still features Flash as the default, which is also dead
Keep in mind that Flash is quite resource-heavy and features many bugs, requiring frequent security patches and bug fixes to avoid crashing.
But If you still want to persist with using Flash on Google Chrome, make sure that you’ve taken steps to optimize your experience since running Flash tends to slow down your computer and crash your browser.
Why Can’t I Play Flash Content In Google Chrome?
Ever since Steve Jobs announced that Apple’s iOS devices would not support Flash, the clock has been ticking for the renowned platform.
HTML quickly filled that niche, offering better security, and soon most websites started switching to it in place of Flash.
Although Google continued with Flash, it had to catch up with competitors, especially when Adobe itself announced that it would stop Flash’s support.
It had since discontinued Flash from Chrome in 2020. After this deadline, users have had to use Flash players to load and use Flash games.
Avoid Using Flash If You Can
If you can avoid using Flash, we recommend you to do so and familiarize yourself with newer, better software since Flash isn’t coming back and will go obsolete in a few years.
However, if there are programs that require you to use Flash and you absolutely cannot do without them, there are a few options for you.
You will see a notification telling you “Adobe Flash Player is blocked” on Google Chrome, and you can’t even download the final version from the official website.
Additionally, the recent Flash version 188.8.131.527 and onwards even include a kill switch with a notification saying “Adobe Flash Player is blocked.”
Flash versions of 32.0.0371 do not include this kill switch and can run Flash content using an outdated version of the plugin. However, we would recommend against it as there are many security risks involved.
Moreover, Flash used the .SWF extension for any content exported and meant to be embedded in a web page. This extension allowed files to be opened on the desktop with Flash player, but this is no longer possible.
If you have an old .SWF that you need to open, you can use the outdated Flash version plugin method we mentioned by importing your .SWF files.
You can also use the open-source Flash player emulator known as Ruffle, which is free and compatible with Windows and Mac. Do so by following these steps:
- Install Ruffle
- Double click on an .SWF file
- Open in Ruffle, and play your Flash multimedia to your heart’s content
An alternative emulator you can use is Lightspark, which is also open-source and compatible with Windows. It saw its last update around mid-2020 and is still relevant.
However, it supports only about 76% of Flash APIs, so some of your Flash content might not work. We would recommend Ruffle over Lightspark because of its broader range of use.
You’d be surprised to know that even streaming websites like Youtube relied on video players that used Flash in their early days. The video format in which these players played video was called the Flash Video (FLV) format, now retired in place of MP4.
However, Flash Video support is still common, without necessarily requiring a Flash player or emulator. You can even use media players like VLC and MPV to access FLV files like regular video files if you wish.
If you happen to have a website that uses Flash animation, records it as a video, and then uploads it. The easiest and most foolproof way to do this would be to download Ruffle, launch the .SWF file, and then record it using screen recording software.
If the video happens to be in the .FLV format, convert it into another form and then upload it as .MP4.
But if your website is completely designed using Flash, it would just be better for you to consider making a new website.
How To Enable Flash On Google Chrome
To enable Flash on Google Chrome, you can follow these steps:
- Open Chrome
- Click on the three dots on the top right corner
- Select Settings from the dropdown menu
- Select Advanced on the bottom left-hand menu
- Select Privacy and Security -> Site Settings
- Select Flash
- Toggle ‘Allow sites to run Flash’ to on
- Toggle ‘Ask first’ to on
This should turn on Flash on your browser, but to test it out, you can go to a website that features Flash content to see if it works. It should work if the version of Flash is updated.
So that brings us to the next question; how do you check your Flash version on Chrome?
Check Your Flash Version In Chrome
If you still have Adobe Flash installed on your Chrome browser, you can play Flash content, but you will need to allow it to run whenever you load a Flash page.
And if you don’t have it but wish to use it, you must use the latest, up-to-date version. Newer versions will include patches for any software vulnerabilities that might be present in the previous versions, making your PC susceptible to malware.
Remember that Flash used to be regularly updated, and you must use the updated version to avoid any risks to your system. To check your Flash version, follow these steps:
- Type ‘chrome://components’ into the URL section
- Scroll down to find Flash in the list
- Click Check for Updates. If it says ‘component not updated,’ that means that the latest version of Flash is installed on your browser
Install Flash On Chrome
If you don’t have Flash installed on your computer, you can install it directly from Adobe. There are numerous free versions of Flash available on the internet from third-party sources, which are most certainly vectors for malware, so make sure you install Flash only from Adobe. To do this:
- Go to the Flash Adobe page
- Choose your operating system and Flash version from the left
- Click Download now from the right
- Untick any options for additional installation of other programs
The download process will start. After the installation, you might need to restart your Chrome browser for the changes to come into effect.
As we mentioned, Flash features a lot of bugs, forcing it to crash regularly. The good thing is it’s easy to restart Chrome if that happens.
When you see an error in your Flash player, refresh the window by pressing Ctrl + F5 if you’re using Windows and Cmd + Shift + R on Mac. Even though iOS devices don’t allow Flash, you can run Flash on your Mac.
If refreshing doesn’t do the job, follow these steps:
- Click the three-dot icon in the top right corner
- Select More Tools
- Select Task Manager
- Select the Flash plugin from the popup box. If you can’t find the process label, find the Adobe icon and confirm it’s Flash
- Select End process
- Reload the web page after closing the Task Manager
Tip: If Flash crashes only on a specific page, move onto another page. If it crashes for every page, uninstall and then reinstall Flash.
Some typical issues you might run into when downloading a flash game include:
- Blank windows when starting a Flash game
- Error prompts
- Automatic downloads of the game onto your computer
These glitches are usually Chrome browser set-up issues and not caused directly by the game or the website. You can fix these with a bit of troubleshooting.
To fix a blank window whenever you load a game:
- Type chrome://settings/content/flash in your browser address bar, which will open the Flash settings
- Set the “Allow sites to run Flash” slider to On
- Set the “Ask First” slider to Off
Verify Your Chrome Browser Version
Firstly, you need to make sure that you’re not using an old version of Chrome. Although the modern version of Chrome auto-updates, it’s still a good idea to verify.
Older versions are more susceptible to security lapses, and you will miss out on updates and new features. To check which version of Chrome you have installed, follow these steps:
- Click the three dots in the upper right corner
- In the dropdown menu, choose Help and
- Next, select About Google Chrome
- If your version is updated, you will get a message displaying, “Google Chrome is up to date
- If your Chrome browser isn’t updated, download and install the latest version
Even if this seems trivial, don’t skip this step. It only takes a few minutes and is a quick way to update your Chrome version.
Enabling Flash On Individual Websites
Even if you have Updated Flash settings, your Chrome browser settings may block Flash player from all websites, rendering it impossible for you to play any multimedia content that requires Flash. To fix this, follow these steps:
- Click the three dots button in the upper right corner
- In the dropdown menu, click on Settings
- Scroll down and click on the “Show Advanced Settings”
- Click on Privacy -> Content settings
- In this window, scroll down to the Flash section
- Select “Ask first before allowing sites to run Flash” and right-click on the game, and choose “Run Adobe Flash”
- Select “Block sites from running Flash”
- Click the Manage Exceptions button
- Enter the website URL you want to run Flash games
- Click Allow on the button to the right of the URL and click on Done
If you happen to use Flash files in Incognito mode instead of using them on regular Chrome, they might not open.
You can switch to the regular Chrome, but if still, you want to access Flash files through Incognito mode, follow these steps:
- Type “chrome://flags” in the Incognito address bar, which will open Chrome’s Experimental Settings page
- Here press CTRL+F, or scroll down to find Flash and the Prefer HTML option in the settings names
- Change the Prefer HTML setting from default to disabled, and click on the Relaunch Now option to save your changes.
Once you’ve done this, your Incognito mode should play Flash games and multimedia content, provided the other Flash settings are set up correctly.
Test whether the method worked by opening a couple of your Flash games. If they still aren’t running, close the browser and reboot your system.
Flash games have interactive features and reasonable loading speeds on most Internet connections. They can work on both desktops and smaller devices, making their range of applications extensive.
However, the biggest drawback to it is the relatively low-security features and the frequent bugs and crashes.
With that, Chrome developers have started to restrict Flash games on Chrome browsers, keeping in line with the general sentiment of weeding out Flash after Adobe announced it would be phasing it out completely. It’s also a plus point in the fact that your computer will be less vulnerable to security lapses.
But if you’re used to playing Flash games and can’t do without them, you’re eventually going to lose access to all of them. If you update your Chrome browser, you might suddenly find your favorite Flash games not working anymore. In this case, it’s not the game’s fault but the browser’s.
The good news is that usually, you can get the games running again on Chrome by playing with a few settings, using the checklist above.
In most cases, a little tweaking can help you bypass significant compatibility issues with Flash. If you follow these troubleshooting steps we described, you can access your Flash files, but it will require patience.
The discontinuation of Flash is a new step for the internet. Therefore, it’s the end of an era and a disappointment for Flash games and multimedia enthusiasts.
If nothing else works, we have two third-party programs that can help you work around this block and experience some of the wonders of Flash multimedia like the old times.
Flashpoint by BlueMaxima is widely known as a game preservation project meant to preserve gaming experiences for the future, supporting outdated technologies which are no longer supported by newer devices.
Naturally, it also caters to Flash games and has preserved over 70,000 games and 8,000 animations since its launch.
It smartly combines open source software and support for a wide range of technologies, including the latest technologies.
So, in essence, users get the best of both worlds, playing Flash games on the Flashpoint platform without any of the problems that come with outdated Flash technology.
Although not every single Flash game is available here, it still offers the most comprehensive list possible, and you’re likely to find every popular Flash game on this platform.
It is designed to work with Windows and Linux, and the fact that it doesn’t work on other operating systems, like Mac, can be a discouraging factor for many people. However, it still functions very well on Chrome.
It is also designed to work past the 2021 deadline for Flash set by Adobe. For queries, you can access their Discord server and get Help.
Lastly, if you wish to download something, you have two options. The first option is most suitable for Chromebooks. All you need to do is head to the download page, select Flashpoint Infinity 9.0, a web-powered version of the software with negligible download requirements that allows you to play downloaded games offline.
The second option lets you download every game offline, but it requires a heavy storage capacity of 500 MB.
Ruffle is an emulator developed by Rust that offers browser support through WebAssembly. It can automatically detect and translate Flash content into a form that understandable for the emulator.
It is similar to Flashpoint because it allows users to save Flash content even if the technology has gone obsolete.
The emulator can even pair with Flash content that is still in use or for older Flash files on your device or outdated websites that still use Flash technology.
For Ruffle users, there are two options. The first one is a browser extension for Chrome to extract and enable with the Chrome Developer mode. This option updates itself automatically and is good if you want to use Flash while navigating the internet.
The second option can be used offline without needing a browser, and it is ideal if you have Flash files in your device storage that you wish to access rather than visit websites.
Furthermore, Ruffle even allows you to access the updated version for this second option which you can download and implement.
This service can also be implemented on self-hosted websites to get around issues with Flash without needing to tweak and revamp the whole site.
Ruffle is open-source and in the early development stage, so don’t be surprised if you find the experience a little turbulent.
And for queries, you can always join the community Discord and ask questions if you have any difficulties.
Can You Play Flash On Google Chrome?
Google does not allow Chrome to play Flash multimedia automatically for quite some time. Chrome was able to play Flash content until the year 2020, after which the built-in Flash player was shelved.
Is It Safe To Use Flash On Google Chrome?
Although you can no longer use Flash on Chrome, it is still relatively safe to use it. The Flash plugin has been rendered inactive, and the Chrome 88 update to Chromium will also remove Flash capability.
Where Do I Find Adobe Flash Player In Google Chrome?
Head on to a website that requires Adobe Flash to run on your Chrome browser. You will be prompted to activate Flash, providing you a link to the Adobe Flash player website.