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A prolific Flash developer is preserving one of his games with a Gameboy port

A pixelated tank bounces beneath three helicopters
(Image credit: Antony Lavelle)

Over the new year, Adobe finally hammered the last nail into Flash's coffin. But if you've got an old Gameboy kicking around, you might be able to carry around a tiny part of Flash history in your pocket.

With Flash Player's final update removing the software's ability to run Flash projects entirely, developer Anthony Lavelle suddenly found that his catalogue of over 70 webgames had largely become unplayable. That's a lotta games, too, with Lavelle's demo reel sure to evoke a few nostalgic sighs from folks around my age. 

I don't know a soul in my high school who didn't play Shift, that's for sure.

While many of these may find themselves playable through projects like Flashpoint and the Internet Archive's Flash library, Lavelle has taken preservation of a personal favourite into his own hands. Sort of.

IndestructoTank! is a brilliant wee game where you use falling bombs to launch an indestructible tank (get it?) into the sky to smash up helicopters. It's great stuff, and now it will live thanks to a Nintendo Gameboy port. It's looking a little chunkier and the palette isn't as vivid as the ol' browser game, but it plays just as well as I remember.

Plus, fair play to Lavelle, even the rattiest old handheld should run the game fine— even as Adobe Flash Player refuses to run its own proprietary software. You could certainly make the argument for it being a "more viable" development platform. Lavelle does.

If you've got an old handheld kicking about, the developer has provided the ROM and source code to get it playing on authentic hardware. For the rest of us, the game is playable as a free browser game over on Itch.io.

That's a welcome throwback to the Flash ecosystem of yore, at least. But as Lavelle laments in his ongoing Reddit AMA, there's little sign of anything new taking up the mantle when it comes to widely-accessible game development. 

"No platform exists today that equals flash for quick and silly development with an easy learning curve. You didn't have to be a programmer or an artist to get started. You could draw a stick man on screen and within 5 minutes have him running around. More importantly, if I had an idea in Flash, I could draw it and have it running in a file that I know the world could open in 5 minutes."

Natalie Clayton

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time—and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and having herself developed critically acclaimed small games like Can Androids Pray, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She's also played for a competitive Splatoon team, and unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.