Back in 2008, anyone with a decent computer and web browser could access hundreds of games instantly. The accessibility of Flash as a programming platform revolutionized the internet, and with communities like Newgrounds and Kongregate, it was easy for developers to upload games that millions of people could quickly load up and play.
But now that Flash is supported on fewer devices, many games of the past run the risk of being lost in the wake of changing technology. If these games aren’t adapted for modern devices, it won’t be long until they become completely unplayable.
When I reminisce about the long-gone era of Flash games, I always think fondly of the game (I Fell In Love With) The Majesty of Colors. It launched around the time when many developers were still experimenting with what was possible with Flash. Some developers were cutting their teeth with basic run-and-gun action games, while others were exploring how the medium could create new types of interactive fiction. I always gravitated to the latter type because, at the time, more experimental and artistic games were still new and fascinating to me.
The Majesty of Colors was one of the first ambitious Flash games that I remember checking out, and it’s stuck with me throughout the years. You begin each playthrough by awakening in the dark and taking on the role of an H.P. Lovecraft-inspired behemoth, who lives under the waves. You notice some balloons in the sky, which seem alien to the creature you’re playing as. Taking control of one of its limbs, you click balloons to bring them closer to your eyes. Suddenly, the drab, monochromatic look of the game washes away, and it explodes with color. Various humans then appear; how you interact with them — either kindly or maliciously — determines which ending you get. Each interaction plays out as a vignette, and their outcomes each feel important and carry a lot of weight.
When I played this game a decade ago, I was moved by how thoughtful it was, despite the short runtime. The game’s five different endings didn’t blow me away, but The Majesty of Colors does a great job of packing in a lot of story despite using such a small amount of variables.
So I was delighted to discover that The Majesty of Colors just received a modern remaster that was rebuilt from the ground up to run on current-generation devices. Instead of relying on a Flash-based website to keep the game online, or the original creator hosting a mirror on their own site, I now have a copy of it to keep forever.
As the sun sets on older technologies, games tied to antiquated platforms will eventually be lost to the passage of time. Luckily, console games can still be played on their original hardware, but even then, those that rely on online services still suffer. Preserving a Flash game can be a time-consuming process, even for a small one like The Majesty of Colors, which was remastered by only two people.
But for Melissa and Gregory Avery-Weir, the duo behind the game, preserving Majesty for future audiences was important: not only for the sake of keeping their game playable on updated hardware, but to also to use the benefits of modern technology to polish it up, maintaining its appeal and relevance for both older fans and new ones.
After beating the remastered game for the first time, you unlock a lengthy Notes section, where the developers detail the process of remastering the game. A major component of the project was to preserve the look and feel while making it live up to modern standards. More legible text and updated controls for touch devices allow The Majesty of Colors to be more accessible than it could ever be in its Flash version.
The early-aughts ubiquity of Flash was great: All sorts of developers tried out new ideas and got them up in front of millions of people in no time. Since the way we discover games has changed radically in the last decade — thanks to places like Steam, Reddit and Polygon — it becomes less likely that new players will discover the gems of the past. For The Majesty of Colors, that will no longer be the case.
You can grab the remastered version of The Majesty of Colors on PC, Mac, iOS and Android.