2011 in review: the year's best Flash sites

In 2011 Flash fought back with a vengeance and produced some jaw dropping, slightly freaky, creatively brilliant and downright fantastically odd websites. Paul Wyatt rounds up this year's very best Flash sites

Pity Flash. Kicked, bruised and Flash bashed at every conceivable opportunity, this hardy program fought back in 2011 with some phenomenal creative websites. In this list we’re showcasing the very best from 2011 which go to prove that in the right hands Flash can still deliver the goods when it comes to entertaining an online audience.

1. Threaded

Be warned. Do not visit this website with a hangover as it will budge open a door of perception into your mind. Created by New Zealand agency Resn, its soundscapes and mid 90s rave style animations will leave you delightfully disturbed as you journey through a mind bending path to learn more about artificial intelligence. Or something like that.

2. Die Hipster

From London to New York via Paris and LA (now there’s a route) comes news of “hipster zombies” roaming the streets. Obsessed with micro trends, narcissistic and egomaniacal these individuals are the ultimate in faux cool chic. Wefail have created a website which lets you take control of a hipster and do your level best to kill him. Much quicker than the route we’d suggest of sitting down with your hipsterati friend and explaining why speaking to you while texting their mates is just … rude.

3. Comedy Blaps

Comedy Blaps is a Channel 4 produced website for new comedy. After a call for scripts and material was issued in early 2011 this was distilled into four mini-series; The Rubberbandits, Business Mouse, Cop Out and Evil Kweevil. The channel encourages people to watch then, embed them, tweet and Facebook them.

4. Trip your face

Debaucherous goings on are the order of the day on this B-Reel produced website for Hotels.com. It’s an oft used trick but one we can’t get enough off as you can upload your mug shot onto the site and take part in the heated shenanigans in hotels from Europe to the US. Much more fun than munching on a Toblerone from the mini bar.

5. Being Henry

After killing hipsters you’ll no doubt want to play god? Yes? Good so Less Rain’s Range Rover Evoque website “Being Henry” is just for you. Henry is quite frankly is a bit of a drip in that very American leading man in a sitcom type way but that’s part of the fun. You can quite literally drag him into situations where he squirms wonderfully in this beautifully shot online film. The choices you make are then rather clumsily post rationalised into the type of customisation you could have made to a Range Rover Evoque but it doesn’t distract too much from the fun.

6. O’Neill Illusion

Freaky but nice hypnotic illusions abound on this website for the O’Neill Women’s collection of clothes created by thispagecannotbefound.com. Watch the dots for 10 seconds and all manner of distortions and hypnotic effects can be seen around the site. Its novel, quirky and what it has to do with selling clothes I’ll never know. Although curiously I now have a compulsion to order snow pants and a cute little skirt. In blue.

7. Kijjaa! game

In a saturated market you need to stand out. Games maker Kijjaa have produced a Flash game which can be controlled using an iPhone or iPod touch. The app is downloaded from the app store and synced with an on screen code. A s a controller the iPhone is pretty nifty and the game itself is good chewing gum for the brain.

8. Chinese Soul

Motion Draw have put together this promotional site for the Jazz CD “Chinese Soul” using Flash, hand drawn style illustrations and a visualiser. Jazz is a curious musical form which appeals more so as you become older and life spirals off into lots of different threads. This site represents that beautifully.

9. Twit TV

This is genius and one of those seemingly simple ideas you wish you’d thought off. A Flash TV channel, Twit TV (created by Raphael Franzini), whose content is determined by trending topics on Twitter. Relevant trending topic videos from YouTube are then pulled in as content. The locality of the trending topics can also be changed.

10. Doodleizer

Doodles reveal a lot of what’s secretly going on in our brains. So take a giant step inside your mind with this doodle visualiser created by Andrew Kostuik and Kyle Haapala. Add images and audio files to your doodle masterpiece and then play the whole thing as a visualiser. It’s pretty simple to use and has a clear interface with a myriad of options for helping you do daft doodling better.

12. Wonder Wall

There’s a fine line between gimmicky and cool and fortunately interior design firm Wonder Wall have managed to keep their Flash folio site firmly on the side of the latter. This is a very organic twisty, bendy and playful site to navigate. Nicely designed and chock full of great content.

12. Moodstream

Getty Images have produced Moodstream, a terrific Flash brainstorming tool which with the pull of a few sliders sifts through Getty’s enormous collection of stills and video. Moodstream has an analogue feel with sliders determining mood, humour, period and tone which take you into inspiring and unexpected directions.

13. Ecomobility

An idealised vision of the future is what creative agency Bos have given us with their Ecomobility website. It’s a world where cars live in harmony with the environment and aren’t the streets gliding gas guzzlers we have today. The site is chockfull of useful advice which can help improve the world by reducing fuel consumption and C02 emissions.

14. LEGO - Builders of Infinity

Builders of Inifity is a simple, leave your brain at the door and enjoy it Flash LEGO game. German creatives Ghost 23 have produced a thoroughly enjoyable game play mechanic and one which is quite addictive. I can’t say it’s as good fun as a bucket of real LEGO but – quite frankly – what is?

15. Dean West

Flash image wall interfaces are nothing new. So why has this site by Jam3 for award winning photographer Dean West made it onto this list? Well, simply because the user interface is ridiculously intuitive to navigate and it’s been produced with dollops of brio and style. The photography is stunning and the presentation (and even the sound effects) creates the perfect setting for this stunning material to be exhibited in.

16. Wall of Fame

Eddings produce a range of marker pens which make that nice squeaky “I’m being as creative as Tony Hart” drawing sound. This interactive drawing wall produced by Demodern digital design studio gives you eight Eddings marker pens to play with as you make your mark in real time. You can not only draw but share your work and comment on others.

17. MUTEK play

Created as part of the promotional activity for the Canadian MUTEK 2011 Electronic music festival this site lets you play at electro composer by creating audio visual compositions based around the styles of the participating performers at the festival.

18. Notruf Deutschland

Three teenage girls are video chatting about their idol on Notruf Deutschland. It’s typical besotted girl Bieberesque chaatter – “He’s so cool”, “He’s so hot” – then turning a little bit sinister when one of the girls reveals that she has “him here” In her room. It then turns out that courtesy of Facebook you are the subject of their adoration. Seriously sinister stuff ensues.

19. LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

Created by RED Interactive agency this shoot ‘em up style browser Flash game features the Star Wars universe in LEGO form. Battling through all six Star Wars films the game is highly addictive and doesn’t require a first class degree in Star Wars lore in order to enjoy it.

20. Barcode

The National film board of Canada and broadcaster Arte have pooled resources to produce this innovative interactive documentary which triggers stories by use of barcodes. Use your webcam (or enter the barcode manually) to scan the code which then trigger stories.

What were your favourite Flash sites of 2011? Did you see any cool sites that couldn't have worked based on web standards? Or did you yourself work on some fantastic Flash projects? Let us know in the comments!