A specific era of the world wide web will come to an end next month when Adobe officially discontinues its Shockwave multimedia platform. You might want to get in a final round in your favorite browser-based game—but, more than anything, you should use this moment to delete Shockwave from your computer once and for all.
Adobe began notifying enterprise customers about the impending demise of Shockwave by email last month and it has posted a notice on its website that the platform for interactive interfaces and games will be discontinued on April 9, 2019. The company said that the rise of technologies like HTML5 Canvas and WebGL was the reason for its decision to end support for Shockwave and the shut down has been in the works for years.
In its mid-aughts heyday, Shockwave was used by designers to create fancy splash pages for websites, interactive CD-ROMs, and web games. Like its sister software Flash, it was developed by Macromedia before that company was acquired by Adobe in 2005. Both applications came to define an era of over-complicated animated interfaces and simple time-wasting video games. In recent years, the once-ubiquitous programs have become a security liability as updates have been deprioritized. The Shockwave player for macOS was already discontinued in 2017 and it will no longer be available for Windows next month.
Shockwave was more like a TurboGrafx-16 than a Super Nintendo, and most of the content that was made for the platform will likely fall into obscurity. Sites that specialize in free-to-play web games have migrated to newer technologies and its increasingly rare to even find a CD-ROM on newer PCs. Organizations like the Internet Archive will surely step up their efforts to preserve what they can from the Shockwave-era, but that special period when every button had an animated rollover and three distinct sounds for mouse interaction will be widely forgotten by the new generation.
Adobe says it will continue Shockwave support for enterprise customers who have contracts until 2022. Anyone else might want to go ahead and just remove the application from their computer. In January, security researchers at Avast found that Shockwave was the most commonly out-of-date program that it observed on users’ machines. Software that isn’t consistently updated poses a much greater risk of containing security flaws that can be taken advantage of by bad actors.