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What are Flash® Games?

Carmelo Spatazza
Carmelo Spatazza

Flash® games are interactive media created for online and mobile applications using the Adobe-owned, Macromedia-developed Flash® software. Originally developed as an animation program, programmers and artists began using Flash® to create interactive games using its proprietary ActionScript® code.

Flash® games range from action/adventure, role-playing, simulations, 2D side-scrollers, and puzzle games, to 3D first-person shooters and massive multiplayer (MMOs). There are tens of thousands of games available across the web, and the applications are boundless for developers. With free online Flash® games and even online casino gaming, players are able to enjoy a plethora of unique titles, many with professional production values; solid graphics and sound, engaging storylines and gameplay, simple interfaces, and high replay value. Many of the Flash® games are based on popular existing titles as well, and are as addictive as their console, arcade, and PC counterparts.

Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

Flash® game developers have also enjoyed critical acclaim and for some, their creations have opened doors of opportunity into the realm of professional game development. Many next-generation developers now utilize Flash® components to design user interfaces, as the ActionScript® performs well and keeps file sizes to a minimum. This is especially useful when developing a content-heavy game with highly-detailed, fully-rendered 3D objects. It is also compatible with many of the other scripting languages.

These days, as more consumers are spending more time online and on their mobile peripherals, Flash® games are easily accessible, addictive, and cheap--usually free. With many of the games being available for free downloads and/or instant play, how do many of these developers make any money from their product to cover their development? Ad revenues make up a majority of a game's or Flash® game's site's income. Who ever said video games rot your brain?

New media calls for new marketing tactics, many of which have employed the creation of Flash® games to produce effective viral campaigns for products and services from around the globe. Some companies even utilize quirky Flash® games to promote their brand on the web or through mobile ads, and this is only the beginning of such content creation and implementation. As new media developers and the technology progress, Flash® games will only become accessible. From the casual to the hardcore gamer, developers will continue to utilize this powerful gaming tool to create more expansive and integral forms of cross-platform entertainment. The possibilities are boundless depending on the teams behind these games.

Discussion Comments


What is the difference between Flash and Shockwave? I don't remember Flash being as popular until several years ago. I used to remember a lot more of the videos and games online being based around Shockwave.

Are they competing media programs, or do they both serve different purposes? What are some of the major differences between the two programs? At least to me, it seems like Flash may be more popular for small games. Most of the Shockwave games I see are larger and more well developed. Would I be right about this?


I remember when Flash first became popular. A lot of the movies and games that were made were very primitive. It's interesting to look back and see the progress game designers have made, especially for multiplayer games. I image these are more difficult to program than normal games since you have to account for several players.

If you wanted to start making Flash games, what is a good place to start? It sounds like some high schools now have classes, but are there any good books that give an introduction? What program exactly do you need to start making Flash media, and how do you get it?


@Emilski - I agree. I have a friend from high school who also started by taking a class where he was able to learn the basics of Flash. He went on to study computer science in college. After learning some more skills, he got very good at making Flash games and made quite a few that were put on some of the more popular free gaming sites.

He finally got contacted by a game development company to work for them. Now he makes a living doing something that he loves to do and is very good at. Like you said, it is very good that there are outlets available for beginning game designers to make fun games and put them online, even if they aren't getting paid at first.


I took a class in high school where we learned how to make simple Flash movies. The coding language, like a lot of others, is fairly easy to learn the basics, but can get extremely complicated depending on what you need to do.

I think it is great that there are programs like Flash available to people so that they can utilize their creative skills by way of making games. Along with that, though, comes a lot of not so great Flash games that are poorly made.

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