Hardly anything on the web uses Adobe Flash anymore, which is why Adobe plans to kill off Flash after 2020. For the most part, this won’t be a huge loss. But there’s one type of content that many people will miss: Flash games.
Flash games were once wildly popular, as they let budding developers share their creations with others. Unfortunately, once Flash is no longer supported, these games will disappear from the internet.
If you have any favorite Flash games you still enjoy playing, you should download them now so you can continue to play them offline.
First, Enable Flash in Chrome
We’ll demonstrate how to download Flash games using Google Chrome. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to enable click-to-run for Flash because by default, Chrome blocks sites from running Flash.
To do this, click the three-dot Menu button in the top-right of Chrome and choose Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and click Advanced to show more options. Under the Privacy and security section, click the Site Settings entry.
This will open a list of Chrome’s website permissions that let you change what websites can do with your browser. Select Flash and make sure the slider at the top enabled and shows Ask first.
How to Download Flash Games
For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll download a Flash game called New Super Mario 63. Unfortunately, you’ll need to repeat these steps for each game you want to download. It doesn’t take too long, so you should have a little collection built up before long.
Step 1: Load the Game in Chrome
Navigate to the page containing the Flash game you want to download. Where the game should be, you’ll see a puzzle piece and Click to enable Adobe Flash Player message.
Select this and hit Allow in the top-left corner of your browser to let that site use Flash. Allow the game to fully load before moving onto the next step.
Step 2: View the Page Source
Next, you’ll need to open the source code for the page hosting the game. Right-click anywhere on the page (aside from the game) and hit View page source. The keyboard shortcut for this is Ctrl + U on Windows and Cmd + Option + U on macOS.
You’ll see a new page with the HTML source code of the page. Here, press Ctrl + F (Cmd + F on a Mac) to open the search box, and enter “.swf” to search for Flash files.
This should find at least one result, though it may have up more depending on the page. The file you’re looking for typically has the name of the game, so you can ignore installer files like expressInstall.swf. In our example, the full link was the following:
If you can’t find a Flash game file on the site, you’ll have to track it down first.
If You Can’t Find the Right Link
Some Flash games aren’t actually hosted on the website where you play them. If that’s the case, you won’t find the right file in the source code and will need to look elsewhere.
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to do this. On the game startup screen or main menu, you’ll often see an “Originally hosted on” message along with the source page for the game. You can also try right-clicking on the game; many developers place a link to their website in that menu.
If there’s nothing there, a quick Google search for the game should bring up additional pages that host it. Take a look at those and you should eventually find one that has the actual Flash file.
In case all else fails, you can try File2HD, which lists all the files on a site and allows you to download them. Enter the game page’s URL, agree to the terms, and hit Get Files. Here you can search for the SWF file using the Ctrl + F menu again.
Step 3: Download the SWF File
Now you can download the SWF file that contains the game. Simply right-click the blue link ending in “.swf” that you found earlier and choose Save link as to download it to your computer.
Make sure that the Save as type shows as Shockwave Flash Object or something similar. This confirms that the file is actually a Flash document. If it shows as an HTML page or something else, you either right-clicked in the wrong place or the URL doesn’t go to a Flash object.
If you plan to download several games, we recommend creating a new folder on your computer to keep them all together. You should consider backing up this directory so you don’t lose the games if something ever happens.
Step 4: Play Your Flash Games Locally
At this point, you might be wondering how you’ll actually play the Flash games when they’re not in a browser. As it turns out, many media player apps can handle SWF files (which are Flash objects). This lets you play them offline without worrying about the security of enabling Flash in your browser.
On Windows, for instance, Windows Media Player will open SWF files. However, in our testing, it had issues detecting keyboard inputs. Thus if you plan to play Flash games offline, we recommend downloading Adobe’s local version of Flash Player. This is a tool intended for developers to open Flash files without a browser, but it works for personal use, too.
Visit Adobe’s Debug Downloads page and click the Download the Flash Player projector content debugger text under Windows, Macintosh, or Linux depending on what platform you use. On Windows, you don’t even have to install it—just launch the downloaded file and you’ll have a Flash Player window.
Go to File > Open or drag and drop your downloaded SWF file onto the app to play it. From there, you’ll have an experience just like playing in the browser.
Handily, you can resize the window to change the size of the game. Right-click or use the toolbar buttons to change the zoom level or game quality. If you have any issues, check out our tips to improve the performance of Flash games.
You Can Now Play Your Favorite Flash Games Forever
That’s it. Now you know how to download Flash games from the internet and play them offline. Flash games are an important part of the history of gaming. And now, in just a few minutes, you can preserve some of that history and keep your favorite games around long past 2020.
If revisiting these games makes you feel nostalgic, check out other free browser games you can play to kill time.