ItsGeekToMe.co

The official home of It's Geek to Me on the web!

Issue #713: March 21-27, 2021

Like this content? Share it with your friends!

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Q: One of my favorite online games – and a major time-waster – is the webpage “Cat Bowling” which has been a Halloween-themed game for years (http://www.catbowling.net/). Sadly, since Adobe Flash is now dead and buried, I don’t seem to be able to play the game anymore. Do I have any work-arounds or other options to resume playing the game? Thanks.

 – Ed R.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: You may be unaware, Ed, but since the screenshot you sent me was captured, the following message has been added to the front page of the Cat Bowling website:

“Cat Bowlers,

Our little game has had a great run but the technologys that
it is built upon has reached its own end. Adobe is no longer
supporting Flash.

Thank you for your time and enthusiasm over the years.

We'll leave the page here for those die-hards who find a way
to make Flash work on their computer.

- The Cat Bowling Team”

So, the very authors of your beloved game have admitted defeat in the face of advancing technology.  If I was anyone but me, I’d suggest you just give up and go find yourself a new favorite time-waster.  Lucky for you I’m not someone else – I’m Northwest Florida’s Uber-Geek, and of course, I have ways for you to continue to enjoy Cat Bowling. 

I need to cover one thing first.  There is a good reason why Flash was retired, and that’s because it posed a great deal of risk to any PC that’s running it.  Yes, I said “risk” and I meant “risk”.  Genuine, actual, no fooling around, “Are you really sure you want to do that?” risk.  That’s because Adobe Flash was actually designed to allow outside code to be run on your computer, and some of the things it could do could easily be exploited to harm your system or steal data.  Having Flash on your computer is like having a big neon sign saying “Attention Hackers!  There’s an unsecure PC over here!”  I talked a little about how it can be exploited late last year (Geek Note: I.G.T.M. #699, Dec 13, 2020) so I won’t spend too much time covering that here, especially since it’s not the risk that’s at issue.  Suffice it to say that Adobe is no longer supporting Flash, and expects people to have moved on to other products to fill its shoes.

Despite all that, it is still possible to load older versions of Flash and even Flash knock-offs from 3rd-party vendors to run some Flash-based content.  However, in an effort to protect end-users, Adobe and major browser vendors are actually taking proactive steps to prevent Flash content from running.  So, even if you do find a way around the current limitations, the chances are that eventually whatever patch you come up with will stop working too.

So, what to do?  Let me introduce you to BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint, which you can find online at TinyURL.com/IGTM-0713.  They call it a “webgame preservation project” and its mission is to “attempt to outrun the disappearance of content prior to the death of Flash.”  I must say, they’ve done a remarkable job.  As of this writing, they have over 70,000 playable titles on file.  I checked, and yes, your beloved Cat Bowling is in there.  They have overcome the inherent dangers of Flash, and its non-availability by creating what they call a “portable environment” inside of which everything runs, and which prohibits the Flash content from accessing the “real” Internet.  It also self-contains everything, so that any changes made by the game player software are removed when you’re done playing.

The cost for all this?  Free, free, free. In fact, they actively discourage people trying to donate, saying “Out of respect for the developers whose works can be found in Flashpoint, we do not accept monetary donations of any kind. Period.”  In a world where more and more free content is going pay-for-play, being supported by ad-walls, or simply disappearing altogether, BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint is a shining example of the way things used to be. 

Total Views: 246 ,


Leave a Reply

Follow Us

FacebooktwitterrssFacebooktwitterrss
June 2021
S M T W T F S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Search the site

Archives