The Flash Game Aesthetic

I've been playing a lot of Infini:

It's neat! I've really been drawn recently to games that do One Thing Really Well rather than Lots of Cool Things. Something about these kinds of games is suiting my quarantine/lockdown mental state, keeping my brain uncluttered and focused. Infini does it's specific style of puzzle really really well, and in spite of the simplicity apparent in the trailer, the way it rolls out mechanics and puzzle styles is very fluid and challenging in the same way that The Witness was. I'm a few hours in, maybe halfway through the levels I can see. The music is also really really cool, very beautiful.

However the thing I'm most occupied by is the really ugly, gross (compelling??) art style which, to me, is really reminiscent of early online hand-drawn Flash animation and games, and it got me thinking about what level of the nostalgia cycle we're on.

It seems that (if it's not already happening) we will eventually see a tonne of smaller games coming out that are deliberately and intentionally reminiscent of that wave, in the same way we got waves of 16-bit games, and then jaggedly polygonal games, as the nostalgia for those things met the overlap of people of an age to be creating new works.


So, is this a thing already and I'm missing it? Are there any other interesting games out there that are dedicated to this "look"? I suppose also, probably, there have ALWAYS been things that look like this, but it occurs to me that it might not have been as purposeful as Infini seems.

[“The "Flash Game" Aesthetic”,“The Flash Game Aesthetic”]

It's not </s>~quite~ the same thing, but Nepenthe has quite literally hand drawn graphics that have a lot of resemblance to the flash game aesthetic


It's been sitting in my steam library for quite a while but I've never played more than a few minutes. Maybe I'll get around to it now.

these two remind me of And Yet It Moves, which is a pretty good physics platformer about rotating the screen:

Getting Over It With Bennet Foddy would is the most recent thing i've played which is clearly inspired by flash games.

i find the rough-ness of flash game aesthetics very appealing, but just like with vaporwave there's a segment of it that's an obsession with memes and loud bad jokes which is not that great.

I could never get behind the flash aesthetic, but I do still appreciate the ms paint aesthetic. So games like this:

and cave rescue, and four winds fantasy

somehow it gives me more of that flavor of artistry! but they are all by the same person, so...

@exodus#3271 absolutely, paint art is so appealing to me partly because I spent so much time doing it as a child.

Maybe something like Cinco Paus splits the difference between the two:


ah yeah, totally!! Wish dude wasn't against releasing things on android so I could play it.

@Syzygy#8546 Long Live Flash:

Bringing this thread back from the brink. has a great tool where you can run Flash swf files in browser, even after the whole Flash shutdown thing.

  • 1. Create and account
  • 2. Upload the .swf
  • 3. add the following to the item's metadata:
    -"emulator" set to "ruffle-swf"
    -"emulator_ext" set to "swf"
  • I've uploaded a few today that I dug out of the wayback machine backups of

    Thanks for bumping, I needed to share this. When I think of old flash games dear to my heart, I think of this one I spent so many hours playing, and I still think is awesome. I love everything about it.

    Balloon Duel (Newgrounds, 2004)

    It‘s just a Balloon Fight clone, with more advanced features that were really exciting to me at the time. Full character customization, cute early 2000’s style anime graphics drawn in flash, bitmap photographs of vague southeast Asian scenery, interchangeable weapons, in-game currency…

    [upl-image-preview url=//]

    Since it‘s not one I revisit often, the nostalgia still hits. The deep blue gradient on the balloons, the characters, it’s all so beautiful to me, haha. Made by some UCLA student from Orange County in 2004.

    (Oh dang, exodus is posting bank bank games, why am I so surprised?) :j

    i've got nothing to add, but infini looks awesome!

    @“Syzygy”#p33914 Yeah! The Flashpoint project is incredible! A few of those games I added to the archive are on there already.

    My ‘funny’ Flashpoint story is that I thought I still had all of the code for my Flash games work I did years ago on a spare hard drive. I approached the folks at Flashpoint to pass the code and the games on to them, and everyone was super excited (me included). It turns out though that I did in fact have the hard drive, but it won‘t mount, so I couldn’t retrieve the files (and then I moved, so I haven't had a chance to see if I can tease the drive into mounting correctly since then). Ah well.

    I definitely have a love/hate with the Flash aesthetic though! As a platform, it had all of the shitty constraints of mobile development! I was making most advergames (and a smaller number of in-house games for the company I worked for's website-- which I just discovered is still up and running... but with zero content because even the landing page was made with Flash), and the aesthetic for those was significantly different from indie Flash games. It was a real weird time for me, because the folks I worked with were not people who played games at all in their free time (and when they did it was stuff like Civilization and other PC-based simulation games) and I was constantly pushing them to expand into more adventurous genres and games. I even tried to push them to start developing for smartphones, which were pretty new at the time, and the owner literally told me he didn't see a future in iPhone games, haha.

    Anyway, I occasionally miss developing for Flash, I think mostly because I was so used to it!

    Oh, my other Flash story is that years later, I started working with an artist who used Flash to make the art for a few games we worked on! It was not fun at all though because he was clueless about exporting stuff from Flash and as a result he hadn't prepared any of the assets correctly, so I had to dig out my ancient copy and spend hours and hours going through his work and exporting it all so it. In the end the whole thing was kind of a disaster, but I still think that our last game we made together is kind an honorary Flash game (even though it was for mobile).