Flash games were once regarded as the scourge of the internet – entertaining only to twelve year olds who enjoyed repetitive gameplay and terrible graphics, but over the past few years the status of flash games has changed and they are swiftly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Many new developers choose to first invest in flash, publishing their games on online sites like Newgrounds, and in the process producing gorgeous, and innovative, games. Many games could be considered art in their own right, with emotive plotlines, simplistic controls, and an open-ended ambiguity like no other.
So why the changing status of flash? Could it be the relative ease of use, universal appeal, or versatility of the programme? Or the higher status in which many flash games are held; several have, in recent years, been adapted into full console games, such as Alien Hominid and Fancy Pants Man. Many people now give flash the respect it deserves, and within reason, flash is producing some utterly gorgeous games. Many flash programmers have instant access to platforms with which to promote their work, and many flash programmers, whilst maybe not professional programmers, show innovative promise in their games.
Here I will showcase several highlights, and personal favourites, that everyone should play. There will be separate games for a 5-minute break, a longer play, and games that may require days to finish. All are played in-browser, with no need for downloads, and are of course free so are suitable for the oldest computer, or the budget gamer.
5 Minute Break Games
These are games you can finish in 5 minutes, be it at a spare moment, or during a coffee break. Although, some are puzzles which may take you slightly longer.
The Majesty of Colours
In this game, you play as a monster, and the story unfolds with delightful simplicity. There are multiple endings depending upon your actions, and the game itself well warrants several playthroughs just for the experience.
In this game, you again, play as a monster – this time an Alien. You watch it grow up, protecting a family from the horrific war going on around them, through to a heart-breaking finale. The music and simple plot are gorgeous.
I Wish I Were the Moon
Another game with multiple endings, here you play as a boy with a camera. You can only take one shot in order to capture the “essence” of the plot, and each shot yields a different ending, and a different story.
Colour My […]
In this series you play as a man getting back to his love, through a monochrome world which you can bring to life with strategically-placed clicks upon certain spots. Scored with a beautiful piano track, these simple games have a powerful message.
Alice is Dead
Note: The content of these games is NSFW and may be disturbing to some. In this game you play as the White Rabbit, and swiftly uncover a plot against your life. A delightful point-and-click spin on the traditional Wonderland lore, with many twists and engaging puzzles.
Games that can be finished within 40 minutes.
In this game you solve puzzles in order to navigate a strange landscape. Abstract graphics, interesting gameplay and an intriguing conclusion only add to the ambiguity of this title.
Apples in a Tree
In this game you walk through the levels, in order to collect apples. Gorgeous graphics and atmosphere contribute to the eerie gothic atmosphere.
In Company of Myself
Playing as a Hermit reminiscing upon his life, past mistakes, and love, this puzzle-platformer introduces an interesting dynamic in the “double” hermit dynamic. A emotive game with a plot that unfolds beautifully.
Take A Walk
A rhythm game in which a daydreamer’s dreams are manipulated through music, featuring gorgeous graphics, music, and simple controls.
This game poses the question of love, and how far one would go to attain it. The player is abused throughout, but all is not as it seems.
Note: This game is NSFW and may contain content disturbing to some.
More an interactive novel than flash game, this story poses the question of interactivity and unfolds through a tragic plot.
A game about long distance relationships.
A delightful, artistic puzzle game in which you play as Anita, on her quest to retrieve her toy rabbit. Filled with delightful creatures and simple puzzles.
Games that may take a couple of hours to complete.
You play as an alien ship in a strange land, traversing the landscape to look for an alternate fuel source.
The Infinite Ocean
A game that poses the question of artificial intelligence and self-awareness, featuring a HAL-esque computer system.
The Illusionist’s Dream
An illusionist dreams of his past life, transforming into several animals along the way to complete puzzles.
William and Sly
You play as a fox, exploring a landscape in order to solve the mystery of the teleport stones. A gorgeous atmosphere, graphics, and soundtrack contribute to this calming experience.
William and Sly 2
The sequel to William and Sly, this game deepens the experience of the first.
If you play these, let me know what you think. If you have any suggestions, ditto! I may include several more similar lists as the time goes on.