Chromebooks are becoming more and more capable every day. With the addition of Android and Linux apps and streaming platforms like Stadia, they’re also turning into pretty decent gaming rigs as well. More power and legitimate GPUs may someday mean the advent of real-deal AAA+ games on Chrome OS but us “old folks” occasionally like to get nostalgic and play some good old fashioned low tech titles and Adobe Flash is at the heart of many of those very games.
As you’re probably aware, Flash will soon be removed entirely from the Chrome ecosystem and when it goes, playing Flash or .swf(Shockwave Flash) games will be a thing of the past unless you have some form of Shockwave player on your device. While that’s a fairly simple task on Windows or MacOS, it requires a little tinkering on a Chromebook but in just a few minutes, you can have a standalone Flash player installed that will not only play Flash animations but also allow you to play .swf games like the dandy you see in the image below.
There are a variety of players that will do the trick if you’re sitting on some .swf files you want to access but since Adobe is at the heart of the format, we’re going to use Crostini to install the Linux version of the standalone Shockwave Flash Player from Adobe. First, you will need to make sure your Chromebook is up-to-date and that you have installed and updated the Linux container on your Chromebook. You can learn all about that in the Command Line article here. Next, we will download the Flash Player from Adobe’s website. You can find that file here under the Linux options. You will want the one titled “Flash Player Projector.” Once you have that, move the tar.gz file to the Linux folder in your Files app.
Now we turn to the Terminal. You can find the Linux terminal app in your app launcher. Open that up and we are going to unpack the Flash Player tarball. (A tarball is simply a compressed package of files) To unpack the file, run the following command in the terminal and make sure that the filename matches exactly to the file that you downloaded. Tip: Once you type the command to unpack and the first two or three letters of the filename, you can hit the Tab key and it should auto-populate the filename.
tar -xvf flash_player_sa_linux.x86_64.tar.gz
Now you have unpacked the archive and the Flash Player can be executed from the terminal. You can verify that the files were unpacked by executing the
ls command in the terminal. You should see
flashplayer listed among the files. Before we run the Flash Player, there are some dependencies that need to be installed before the player will run properly. To add these, run the following command and you’ll be ready to launch the Flash Player.
sudo apt-get install libnss3-dev
Now you’re ready to launch your Flash Player but first, you’ll need to find some games. You can find downloadable .swf games on archive sites across the web but make sure you’re grabbing them from a site you trust. Once you have your flash videos and games, move them to the Linux folder so you can access them with the player. (You can download the Armor Games .swf in the image above here.) To launch the Flash Player, execute the following command in the terminal.
You’re all set. You should be able to open and enjoy all of your favorite flash games thanks to Linux on Chrome OS. This probably won’t be your go-to gaming rig but it’s a fun and simple way to enjoy a variety of free games whenever you want.