Flash Game: The Macromedia Flash Revolution


Macromedia was a web development software and graphics company. It produced Flash and Dreamweaver, some of the most common programs used to create animated web pages, audio streaming and video players. The American company was acquired by Adobe Systems in 2005.

Back in 1980, Jonathan Gay used an Apple II old computer to create a drawing program for the high school science fair. He won the contest and caught the attentions of Charlie Jackson, a software developer that was planning to start a new company. He hired Jonathan to help him create programs for Macintosh. Gay continued to work at Silicon Beach until he finished college and developed numerous computer games and programs such as ‘Dark Castle’ and Intellidraw. In 1993 he decided to launch his own company, FutureWave Software and developed the unsuccessful SmartSketch.

Programmers realized by 1995 that SmartSketch could be re-branded as an animation tool so they renamed it FutureSplash Animator. This was the first version of Flash. Jonathan Gay tried to partner with Adobe and Fractal Designs, but they were not interested in the offer. In the summer of 1996, FutureSplash Animator made it to the market and was a success. Microsoft contacted the company only a few months later and Disney Online also used the program. Macromedia offered to purchase FutureSplash and Gay agreed. The program was renamed ‘Flash’ and Jonathan was hired as Vice President of the Technology department.

Macromedia revolutionized the concept of games and released eight Flash versions. It was mainly used for websites, but in 1956 the first flash game evolved, with a more interactive and animated feel. Action Script version 5 led to the development of simpler web-based games. Mario flash game and others like the Hedgehog were very popular among game lovers but also criticizes for being highly addictive.

The introduction of flash arcade software created a competitive environment for players with an urge to reach high scores. Flash had a few problems on machines with low performance that compromised the game. A new version was soon released, Flash MX with Action Script 2.0 that made a visible difference because of the enhanced features.

The program became well known by December 2005 Adobe Systems announced an agreement to purchase Macromedia for $3.4 bilion. They also acquired the company’s customer-care services, networks, operation and the Flash program they refused a decade earlier. A new Flash version was launched as part of Adobe Creative Suite called CS3.