The top 20 Flash sites of 2011... so far!

Flash is alive and well as Paul Wyatt shows in this selection of 20 amazing Flash sites

The reports of Flash’s death are greatly exaggerated and for some of the best interactive experiences on the web, here’s the best place to start. If you want to wow a client, impress a boss or just show off to your mates, Flash is still the best way to start when making interactive content.

From music visualisations to interactive islands via starring in a pop video and a very trippy way to experience tea, we’ve got some shimmering examples of Flash work which have been produced this year. In no particular order:

1. The Desperados Experience

Produced for Desperados beer by Media Monks, the Desperados Experience invites you to use the YouTube player controls to enjoy a full-on party experience, taking you from the kitchen to a rave whilst smashing up the YouTube interface and a few walls along the way. Not quite sure how this ties in with the “Drink responsibly” tag but hey, it’s brilliant fun.

2. Gas Jeans

Gas Jeans have teamed up with Italian creative agency ThinkingAbout to create a website for their Denim Spring/Summer 2011 Collection that lets you take a completely 360-degree view of any outfit in their range and offers zoomed in views of the materials used. The real fun, though, is making the annoyingly handsome male model spin round repeatedly at high speed.

3. What movie should I watch tonight?

It’s nice when a website comes along that stops us from having to use our brains. With so much choice available when it comes to renting a movie, “What movie should I watch tonight” dumbs the available choices down by putting movies into categories such as “explosions”, “dramatic” and “hilarity”. It offers trailers and quirky but spartan movie reviews offering opinion on plot, acting and even film duration that at times is measured by bum weariness. Produced by Kevin Yaun, this site is a nice example of useful and intuitive Flash.

4. Uniqulo Lab Heattech

Heattech clothing absorbs body moisture and then uses this to generate heat. How it does this probably only the boffins at Uniqulo know. Uniqulo Lab Heattech by Japanese agency mount is great if you’ve ever hankered after being a VJ, as you can manipulate the site images and even do some DJ-style scratching with the audio by dragging your mouse around. Groovy.

5. Deaf Preachers - I Wanna Scream

Directed by David Depres and Pauline Schleimer and produced by Upian this interactive music video for Deaf Preachers' song I Wanna Scream is quite possibly the best example of this type of web “experiment” due to its design, mayhem and overall feeling of too cool for school wonderfulness. Intriguing and a good track as well.

6. Legion of Oakley

Created by Shane Mielke, Legion of Oakley is a must-see for any sporting and comics fan. Oakley team rider athletes are transformed into comic book heroes in this sporting comic book mashup. Fantastically drawn and animated, it’s a refreshing take on a product selling site.

7. Doodleizer

Doodles reveal a lot of what’s secretly going on in our brains. So take a giant step inside your mind with Doodleizer, a doodle visualiser created by OTA interactive. 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.

8. Gap 1969 Stream

Here’s an infinite wall of Gap. No, it’s not wall-to-wall Khaki Chinos but the Gap 1969 Stream is “the ultimate destination for denim fans”, created in partnership with AKQA. It’s a novel take on the Flash infinite wall idea with a seemingly endless stream of looks, videos and inspiration from fashionistas, bloggers and denim fans. Good for ideas of how to work with stacks of content on a website.

9. Twitarium

Flash really lends itself to being hooked up to feeds of data and then displaying these in an interesting and emotive way. Twitarium, by DENGAK5 and Wonderful, is an example of this. It takes Twitter tweets from around the globe in real time and then shows that information on screen in one of four different styles. Inspirational and rather cool.

10. Sony Panoramic Story

Two photographers set out on a panoramic challenge around Europe. The Sony Panoramic Story, produced by RAPP in France, shows those images and uses a simple but effective navigation element to journey across Europe. The music is painfully twee but there’s a lot to enjoy and admire here.

11. MTVNHD Experience The Music

Before the internet arrived, most of us lived out our pop star fantasies by strutting out stuff in front of the bathroom mirror or by singing into a hairbrush. The world turned and now courtesy of K2 Internet and MTV, we have MTVNHD Experience The Music, a site that will quite literally see you surrounded by pop world glitterati as you add your face to one of five different genres of music video.

12. Wall of Fame

Eddings produce a range of marker pens that make that nice squeaky “I’m being as creative as Tony Hart” drawing sound. Wall of Fame, an 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.

13. Gilson Schachnik music

Most men hate jazz until the age of 35, after which a peculiar syndrome affects them where it begins to make sense. This of course could be complete nonsense but you can test out the theory by visiting Gilson Music, jazz musician Gilson Schachnik’s album visualisation website produced by Grafikonstruct. The site's classic typography and Miles Davis album cover-styled animated graphics make it a visual and audio treat.

14. Diesel Island

Fed up with society’s rules, its wars, pollution and corruption, Diesel and creative agency Stink Digital have created their own virtual country. Diesel Island has a detailed history, Facebook connectivity, rules of the land and most fun of all, its very own Google-styled Streetview area. Monikered Land of the stupid, home of the brave”, this is an excellent piece of interactive content.

15. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

Created by RED Interactive agency, Lego Star Wars III, a 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.

16. Lipton Exclusive Collection

Seemingly bonkers, this trippy campaign site for Premium Lipton teas, a team effort of advertising agency DDB Paris and B-Reel, is an infinite trip through six worlds. The strap line used for the the Lipton Exclusive Collection is “Discover how far tea can take you” and in this case it’s a very, very long way. Rather absorbing, it will take you a good while to break free of its delightful grasp.

17. The Ministry of Detourism

Produced by Vendor and B-Reel, the Ministry of Detourism touts itself as “the World’s most customizable commercial ever!” letting you add your face and holiday home into the commercial. Most of us are more likely to have faces rather than holiday homes but 50% of the enjoyment is well worth the recommendation for this clever site.

18. Pebbles Play

Roll back to the Stone age courtesy of Digitas and the Flintstones by visiting the virtual town of Bedrock created to promote Pebbles cereal. The more you play the more Pebbles Points you earn, which brings Bedrock to life. Pebbles Play has a quarry load of games and activities to keep little (and big!) kids happy.

19. Official Thor Movie website

Most of us would love to be big, strong, handsome and capable of wielding a mighty hammer. This official site for Marvel’s “Thor”, by Austin's film buffs Project C, gives us our chance. What’s really fun here are the mini Flash games such as “Hammer of the Gods”. This game lets you log your high scores on Facebook and then challenge your mates. It’s a 'leave your brain at the door' bash 'em up style game that is silly and great fun - rather like the film.

20. Even Angels Will Fall

Heaven must be missing an Angel or two (or actually four) in this fun campaign site for Even Angels Will Fall, the recent tongue-in-cheek Lynx deodorant commercial - or Axe as it’s known outside of the UK and a few other territories. These fallen Angels are after a date and it could be with you. Well, no, it probably won’t be. But there’s some nice examples of Flash video interactivity here from German agency LA RED to console yourself with.

For more on Flash check out Hoss Gifford's feature on the top 10 inspiring uses of Flash in issue 215 of .net magazine.