icon Author: SlipSlot
Opium Pulses Arcade 4.0 Release!

Since the discontinuation of Flash Player by Adobe in December 2020, the days of Flash-based browser games are beginning to feel like a distant memory. As reported by us in October 2019, referring to the then-upcoming deadline as the Death of Browser Games, we spoke about what this meant for the decades of creative media and interactive games built for mass consumption and even how it would have a huge impact on the Opium Pulses Arcade, which had since amassed nearly 300 Flash games since its introduction in 2013.

As we always had a feeling the future of Flash titles were numbered, we started adding Java Applets and Unity Web Player games in 2015 and HTML5 games in 2016 but none of these solutions had decades of creative minds pumping out content like Flash did, making it hard to fill a void without picking sub-par games, resulting in us adding Flash titles even well into 2019.

Since then HTML5 has come an incredibly long way and not only are creators making much more impressive HTML5 games, they are also porting classic PC, DOS, and even Flash games to the new technology. This means we're finally able to start transitioning the Opium Pulses Arcade from a dated Flash portal, into a future-proof gaming HUB with a solid lineup of fun, quality, and quite simply impressive games that we never could have achieved in the Flash era.

As you may have seen in the title images, we've managed to pull together a list of around 50 classic MS-DOS and PC games built using the advances of Javascript and HTML5 technology. While performance varies between titles, many are as fun to play in your browser today as they were on your 14" CRT back in 1993! We're incredibly proud of the inclusion of these titles and will continue to broaden the collection as the Arcade grows.

Now, let's discuss new HTML5 games...

A few weeks ago we announced a further 30 HTML5 games making their way to the Arcade, including a few ports of our older Flash games. We enjoyed this expansion and decided we could do better, so immediately got back to work and pulled together another 100 or so titles to bring the total count of HTML5 games to over 180 titles, including the Flash conversions and DOS/PC games mentioned above.

This time we sourced from over 8 different distributors (including Ubisoft), meaning the majority of the games in our Arcade are now officially published by us, and not simply direct hosts. Each game was personally play-tested to make sure they met our standards and brought their own flavour of fun and enjoyment to the table. Even though there's a lot of love from both us and the community for Flash games and the nostalgia they bring us, we think the HTML5 offering is leagues beyond the fundamental gaming experiences Flash titles could bring us, especially in the 3D and online multiplayer aspects.

What's great about HTML5 is that is practically every major browser supports it natively, even legacy browsers like Internet Explorer - no plugins or browser extensions required. Not only this but it's also fully supported by mobile devices, if touch controls are considered when the game is built then you'll be able to play our HTML5 games on almost any device and using any browser. Flash couldn't come close to making this claim even at its absolute peak of popularity.

One rising trend we've noticed in recent browser gaming is the conversion and porting of Flash games to the HTML5 environment, meaning we've been able to bring around 70 Flash games back from the dead with full browser support and device functionality, we'll continue to bring back fan favourites if and when the work is done to resurrect them. Exciting times!

Now, a minute silence for those lost in battle...

Let's just rip the bandaid off (Plaster if you're from our neck of the woods), we begrudgingly decided the Arcade was better off without hundreds of Flash games that the vast majority of our player base simply could not play and so it would be better to just purge them entirely. In total, we lost over 230 games to this decision, but we think it was for the best - both for our players and for the future and longevity of the Opium Pulses Arcade going forward. Clicking numerous games only to find practically none of them work is just not an enjoyable experience and that goes against what the Arcade exists to achieve.

As mentioned above, we were able to save around 70 titles by sourcing HTML5 ports that exist out there, and we'll continue to bring back others over time that are afforded the same treatment by the unsung coding wizard heroes out there. But one choice we did make, at least for now, is to keep 35 Flash games in the Arcade, with warnings below each to explain the situation. Flash emulating plugins are on the rise and some third-party browsers do already support Flash to varying degrees, so we decided to keep a handful of cherry-picked titles for those who still wish to access them. It also serves as a good target of games we wish to someday port to HTML5 (one has already been ported since the writing of this article began - welcome aboard Candy Crush!).

Java Applet and Unity Web Player have also seen a comparable loss of support over the last few years, so we have more than halved our offering in this area too. Our total games list has dropped by around 100 titles, which isn't bad since we lost more than 250 games in total, basically overnight! But we think over the coming year we can get back to our record number with the welcome growth of HTML5 adoption and be much better off for it!

To summarise the changes:

  • 250 purged games across Flash and Unity Web Player titles.
  • 70 Flash games saved with HTML5 conversions.
  • 35 Flash games kept for now pending emulation advances.
  • 180 HTML5 games now featured in the OP Arcade.
  • 50 of which are classic MS-DOS and PC games.
  • v4.0 of Opium Pulses Arcade is here to kick ass!

Did we make the right decision? Do you prefer the Flash or HTML5 era of browser-based gaming? Should we give up entirely?
Let us know your harsh truths in the comments below!
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