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Yahoo Games Shutting Down in May, Ending a Major Piece of Game History

Born in 1998, Yahoo Games gave many of us our first taste of online web-based gaming.

News by Nadia Oxford, .

Yahoo, the company that was once synonymous with internet searches (though nobody ever used "Yahoo" as a verb, unlike "Google"), is going through tough financial times. As a consequence, we've seen a lot of headlines about Yahoo performing cutbacks and otherwise slimming down.

A particularly iconic service will be tied down to the chopping block on May 13, which is when the Yahoo Games site and its companion publishing channel are scheduled to be snuffed out for good.

The news about Yahoo Games' impending death was made public via the company's Q1 Progress Report. Other services are being offed as well, including Yahoo Livetext (a silent video chat app), and Yahoo Build your Own Search Service (BOSS).

You can still visit the Yahoo Games site, but you can no longer make in-app purchases through any of the games therein. Players with questions about any in-app purchases they've already made are encouraged to talk to the games' publishers in the Yahoo Games end-of-life FAQ. Though Yahoo developed some of titles internally, the vast majority of Yahoo Games' content comes from third parties.

Fare thee well, chess over a 56k connection.

Initially launched in 1998, the end of Yahoo Games is also the end of a hefty chunk of what remains of Web 1.0. All the match-three games that dominate mobile today, all the Scrabble imitators, all the endless variations of Solitaire -- many of us played them for the very first time on Yahoo Games. In fact, for some, Yahoo Games ushered in our first experience with online gaming. Sure, rounding up your buddies on IRC or ICQ for a game of digital checkers or Monopoly sounds hilariously archaic in today's constantly-connected world, but at the turn of the millennium, playing Scrabble (or "Scrabble") with faraway friends was a big deal.

At the same time, the death of Yahoo Games is hardly surprising. Not just because of Yahoo's problems, either. Web-based gaming, which was an extremely hot trend when the Aughts ticked over into the '10s, is rapidly dying. All those match-three games, clicker games, and Solitaire imitators are now on the App Store and Google Play. In fact, Zynga's hesitance to embrace casual gamers' migration from web-based / Facebook game platforms to mobile is one of the main reasons for the social game giant's decline.

That's not to say web-based gaming is doomed to be stamped out entirely. All of us have at least one relative who clings to their favorite Flash-powered distraction. And specialized archives like Kongregate and Newgrounds still get plenty of visitors. But internet content in general is becoming much more specialized towards mobile devices. If Yahoo must shed bits of itself to survive, Yahoo Games seems like an obvious cast-off.

It's still very sad to see Yahoo Games set adrift, though. Farewell, noble library of casual fare. I'll never forget fooling Scrabble's dictionary with the nonsense term "FOKPOOT."

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  • Avatar for Kadrom #1 Kadrom 2 years ago
    I was a Microsoft Gaming Zone guy myself. That along with Diablo and CompuServe's version of Habitat called WorldsAway were my earliest online gaming interactions.
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  • Avatar for mobichan #2 mobichan 2 years ago
    Wow. I didn't even know this existed. Guess I suck at "gaming history" and its "major pieces." :P

    But seriously, is it not amazing this still existed considering how Facebook essentially monopolized online gaming for a big chunk of the aughts? I am still one of the lowly mouth-breathers that uses Yahoo mail primarily, but I don't touch a single other arm of the Yahoo brand. Sometimes I forget it even does anything other than mail.
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #3 WiIIyTheAntelope 2 years ago
    I completely forgot this was a thing. I just hope Yahoo Answers never shuts down. It's the best place on the internet for unintentional hilarity, and unlike the rest of the internet, has only gotten better since every parent in the world decided all 11 year olds really need a smartphone with which to spread their nuggets of wisdom.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #4 SatelliteOfLove 2 years ago
    "Initially launched in 1998, the end of Yahoo Games is also the end of a hefty chunk of what remains of Web 1.0."

    We're as deep in this as the deaths of classic rockers right now.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #5 riderkicker 2 years ago
    What a bummer. I played alot of chess and go on my Yahoo account back in high school.Edited March 2016 by riderkicker
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  • Avatar for pozirk #6 pozirk 2 years ago
    Most played Yahoo Solitaire game can be played at developer's website:
    All-in-One Solitaire

    There is also very good version of Mahjong available: All-in-One Mahjong.

    And here is another one: Sudoku.Edited May 2016 by pozirk
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  • Avatar for Armstrongsmith #7 Armstrongsmith 2 years ago
    You can still visit the Yahoo Games site, but you can no longer make in-app purchases through any of the games therein. Players with questions about any in-app purchases they've already made are encouraged to talk to the games' publishers in the Yahoo Games end-of-life FAQ. Though Yahoo developed some of titles internally, the vast majority of Yahoo Games' content comes from third parties. Force of will card game
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  • Avatar for kumarsanjay68 #9 kumarsanjay68 5 months ago
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