How to play Flash content in your browser in 2021

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 17, 2020
Updated • Sep 9, 2021
Internet
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Adobe Flash will no longer be supported in 2021; Adobe released the final Flash update in December 2020 and announced that it will disable Flash functionality in 2021. Major browsers such as Chrome, Edge or Firefox won't support Flash either anymore, and these decisions lead to a question that none of the decision makers have provided an answer for: what if a user needs to access Flash content after 2020, and what happens to Flash content that is still available on the Internet as it won't just vanish when the technology is disabled?

One option comes in the form of preservation projects. Examples are the Flash Games Preservation Project that preserves hundreds of Gigabytes worth of Flash content, specifically games, and the Internet Archive, which makes Flash content playable in an emulator on the archive's website.

The Internet Archive uses an emulator that is called Ruffle; the emulator is written in Rust and it supports all modern operating systems and modern we browsers that support WebAssembly. What is interesting about Ruffle is that its developers have created browser extensions for Firefox, Chromium-based browsers such as Chrome, Edge, Brave, Opera, or Vivaldi, and for Safari.

Installation of Ruffle in the browser of choice adds Flash emulation to the browser. The browser detects Flash content automatically and you can play it then as if Flash would still be installed.

Installation of ruffle

The extension is not hosted on the Chrome Web Store or the Mozilla Add-ons Store at the time of writing. It is considered in development and should be run on development machines or test systems only for the time being.

Firefox

ruffle flash emulation browser

Firefox users need to do the following to install the ruffle extension in the browser:

  1. Download the latest version of ruffle for Firefox from the official download site.
  2. Load about:debugging in the browser's address bar.
  3. Select "This Firefox" (or This Nightly) in the sidebar.
  4. Activate the "Load Temporary Add-on button".
  5. Select the downloaded XPI file to load it as a temporary extension in Firefox.

The extension is loaded temporarily only; it will be removed when you restart the browser.

Google Chrome (works in other Chromium-based browsers as well)

google chrome flash content

  1. Download the latest version of ruffle for Chromium-based browsers from the official download site.
  2. Unpack the archive once it is downloaded.
  3. Load chrome://extensions/ in the address bar.
  4. Enable Developer Mode on the page that opens.
  5. Select Load unpacked and pick the folder you unpacked the extension to.

How effective is ruffle at emulating Flash content in browsers?

The current version of ruffle does not emulate 100% of Flash and that means that you will run into Flash content that you cannot play using current versions of the emulator. Ruffle will tell you that but there is nothing you can do about it but wait for the developers to improve the emulator further.

Still, quite a bit of Flash content plays already using ruffle.

Closing Words

Ruffle is a handy extension as it re-introduces Flash support in web browsers. While emulation is not perfect, there are lots of Flash apps and games that play fine in ruffle already.

Now You: Do you still need to access Flash content?

Summary
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2.5 based on 140 votes
Software Name
Ruffle
Operating System
Windows, Linux, Mac
Software Category
Internet
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Comments

  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm
    Reply

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm
      Reply

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am
      Reply

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.
      http://www.google.com/saved

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm
    Reply

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm
    Reply

    @Martin

    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:
    https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/15/netflix-is-testing-game-streaming-on-tvs-and-computers/

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am
    Reply

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm
    Reply

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am
      Reply

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm
    Reply

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am
    Reply

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm
    Reply

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm
    Reply

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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