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  1. #1
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    Old internet

    I was having a discussion with a close friend of mine about the joys of old internet and I thought I'd ask for some insights or memories, here are my thoughts.

    I've started using the internet around 2005 or so and looking back I'm surprised how different it was compared to today. For a start there was a real disconnect from the internet as you would have to get on a computer with internet access to use it, you couldn't just whip out your phone and go on any website you wanted (WAP was incredibly slow and expensive and hardly any website was optimized for a mobile phone of that era). The internet was a lot more decentralized and small communities, forums and IRC chatrooms were everywhere. A lack of social media (at least where I grew up no one heard of myspace) meant that more people had some pretty basic webpages. Fan sites were also pretty common, overall the online world was radically different, at least in my recollection. I remember a friend showing me youtube in around 2006 or so, the videos took forever to load.

    That's not to say that the internet these days is bad, it's just so much different. Instead of fan-sites you get fanpages on social media networks which makes them much more uniform but makes me yearn for the same individuality the internet had "back in my day". The majority of net traffic (around 55%) comes from mobile devices, google also ranks websites with better mobile performance better in their search results, meaning the the web is designed to be mobile-first which in turn makes developing a bit trickier.

    Excuse the wall of text.

    tl;dr Dammit I'm an old man and the internet was different back in my day grr what do you guys think? Also, rip flash player

  2. #2
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    I started using the internet in the '90s. While I didn't use it much, I still remember it being very mellow and rational. At least what people commonly watched, read, and generally browsed. I started using the internet more around 2002 I think and this was when I was using AIM and later started a MySpace page. I also loved making my own sites on those free hosting platforms. I remember forums being the main area where people would get together and talk about stuff. I preferred it that way simply because people were separated. I think when you bring too many people together who hold different beliefs, lifestyles, and cultures, you just end up with a mess. Twitter is a prime example of this.

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    Gotta agree with Korin on this one. I first used the internet to play a game called Dragon Court and participate in its chat room circa 1998. Although the people in this chat room were likely all 55 year old men, they were pretty nice and I went on with my day. Good first experience. I recall a lot of opinions being less spicy at the thime, there was a far deeper disconnect between one's online persona and IRL self. People went online to learn and have a good time, not so much as an extension of their real social life. You couldn't really cancel XxXSephirothXxX93. People didn't often co-ordinate hate mobs around their personal politics. There have always been weirdos and edgelords online but I feel like that is the norm now rather than the exception.
    JRPG Enthusiast | OSN Crew Member | Don't ask me about movies

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    Gotta agree with Korin on this one. I first used the internet to play a game called Dragon Court and participate in its chat room circa 1998. Although the people in this chat room were likely all 55 year old men, they were pretty nice and I went on with my day. Good first experience. I recall a lot of opinions being less spicy at the thime, there was a far deeper disconnect between one's online persona and IRL self. People went online to learn and have a good time, not so much as an extension of their real social life. You couldn't really cancel XxXSephirothXxX93. People didn't often co-ordinate hate mobs around their personal politics. There have always been weirdos and edgelords online but I feel like that is the norm now rather than the exception.
    It almost seems like all the strange people from those times back then who wouldn't normally be on the internet got together and decided to be together on the internet and form some kind of cliche mobs that's prime focus is to be the worst people imaginable. I mean I really get the sense that a good 70% of people who socialize online today don't even know how to properly socialize online and that is one of the big issues. We grew up with it, people these days are just flung into the mess of it all.

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    I have similar memories to yours and yeah, I sure miss the old internet. I can vaguely remember what was probably the first time I ever used the internet. At a guess it was probably in 2000, soon before I finished at primary school. They got a bunch of computers and there was a teacher showing us how to use the world wide web. A friend was showing me how to go to Nintendo.com. I tried looking at the archives but it seems the ones made in 2000 weren't created properly. This is how it looked in 2001, though. It is also very possible that I visited a website before that day in school. In early 2000 (I think) my dad got a Dreamcast which I used a lot, especially for Sonic Adventure.

    You were able to plug a modem into the Dreamcast to play the few online games. One such game was ChuChu Rocket!. A lot of people don't know this, but Sonic Adventure had some online functionality. Not only was there some DLC, but there was a website you could launch through Sonic Adventure that used the Dreamcast's Windows CE browser. This is a duplicate (same HTML) of that site in the original 640x480 Dreamcast resolution. It was really cool at the time. I didn't really know much about the internet at the time, of course. So I think at first my dad subscribed to an ISP for his Dreamcast. Then in 2001 came the first "family computer". Technically many years before we had a Windows 3.1 computer that was almost never used. Having a modern computer was pretty cool. Internet connection from Freeserve. The computer was manufactured by Tiny.



    It was kinda crappy and ran Windows Me. For the most part it did the job though. My experience with the internet took a weird turn quite early on though. It was right around the time my family got the computer that I started secondary school and a classmate showed me my first shock site. It was called Rotten. Specifically I was shown a photo of a guy in a car who'd blown his face and brains all over the dashboard with a sawn-off shotgun. It was gross at the time but it was that early exposure that got me quite desensitised to shock content quickly. Steak and Cheese as well as Ogrish had similar content. All sites are now dead, perhaps fortunately. So some of my first internet experiences were brutal gore and bizarre pornography. I was off to a great start, then.

    Many of the better memories I have are of forums. My first forum was probably Sonic Fan Games HQ. That and Mario Fan Game Galaxy were two places I frequented with a friend from school when we created fan games of both of those series. Afterwards I got into Halo: Combat Evolved and joined a forum called Halomods, eventually becoming a moderator there. (Now that I think about it, I was a terrible mod who didn't really do much at all.) I remember using KaZaA and later Limewire to download a lot of stuff. MSN Messenger, AOL Messenger and ICQ were popular instant messengers.

    Like many other people, Newgrounds was one of my favourite places to visit, usually daily. One of my favourite (and only) video sites was GameTrailers. It was what we had before YouTube. Despite its name you found more than just trailers on there. It was how I watched recordings of E3. If I recall correctly, GameTrailers was where I discovered Mega64 a long time ago. (Anyone else remember it?)



    There's a lot I could write about how the internet was nearly two decades ago but I think I'll leave it at that.

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    I forgot all about Limewire! lol

    I used to use that at my aunt's house to download music since they had better/faster internet than I did. I would spend 2 hours downloading an album whereas if I did this at my house, it would take like 5+ hours. Ah, the slow old days. Now, I can just go on YouTube and download an entire album in like 5 minutes. We have become spoiled.

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    Man, I remember old Tiny PCs, and Gateway ones too which have now come back from the dead as it happens.


    It's been said a million times about how the web used to be and how it was like the Wild West, with everything being decentralised like people have already said. I discussed this topic the other day with someone on Reddit, and how traditional larger organisations started to take a grip of the internet towards the end of the 2000s. Together with the growth of Big Tech, we now have a very centralised Internet which is nowhere near as fun as it used to be, even if looking at it through rose-tinted glasses. I don't think things will ever go back to how they were, sadly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRedComet View Post
    Man, I remember old Tiny PCs, and Gateway ones too which have now come back from the dead as it happens.


    It's been said a million times about how the web used to be and how it was like the Wild West, with everything being decentralised like people have already said. I discussed this topic the other day with someone on Reddit, and how traditional larger organisations started to take a grip of the internet towards the end of the 2000s. Together with the growth of Big Tech, we now have a very centralised Internet which is nowhere near as fun as it used to be, even if looking at it through rose-tinted glasses. I don't think things will ever go back to how they were, sadly.
    I don't actually remember Gateway to be honest.

    Yeah, you summed up the situation pretty well there. Things were better when we were left to our own devices. There are niche websites that kind of give you a taste of what the web was like way back when, but sadly they're few and far between. Since most people buy into a centralised web and few care about having almost full control and a personalised internet anymore, those niche sites tend to drop like flies because they're just not profitable.

    Pretty much the only modern site I use on a regular basis is YouTube. While it's lost most of its magic there are still plenty of people who express themselves independently on there, despite Google placing a lot of limitations. I use Discord a lot. I think it's a pretty good platform. It feels like a modern IRC in a way, but when it comes to being in a lasting community nothing beats good forums that are still managing to survive.

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