The Wild, Wild Web – A Retrospective

A long time ago, when I was just some kid stumbling around the (comparatively) early days of the internet, there was this…website.

It was, essentially, a sort of erotically-charged choose-your-own-adventure, where clicking on pictures of doors or stairs or hallways would take you to different parts of the “mansion” where you found little flash-fiction and (more) erotically charged, over-the-top digital art (think busty women bursting out of blood-red nightgowns).

Being just some teenager, I’m fairly sure I was not there to “read the articles” as it were. But looking back on it, what I miss isn’t the fiction (which wasn’t very memorable) or the art (which was actively kind of bad). It was…the weirdness.

Before advertisers and marketers all sat down to decide what made a Good Website, before we determined the optimal times to tweet, and before there were thousands of books written about How to Blog or How to Tumbl and so on and so forth, the internet was this bizarre frontier where you could stake out a claim / Geocities page and just…do your thing. It wasn’t very efficient, and from a design perspective most of it was kind of a travesty, but by god it was AUTHENTIC. It was weird and unique and personal, and now that all websites have been optimized and sanitized and homogenized, you just don’t get stuff like that any more.

A part of me misses this.

There is something honest in doing something not very well. There is something brave about carefully curating a collection of Steely Dan midi files, or gifs of unicorns, or unmemorable erotic flash fiction. And while it’s pretty clear there’s no going back to those days, I ask you: take a moment to remember a weird, bizarre website you used to freqeunt. Think well of it. Because chances are, the creator is still out there somewhere, and while they’ve moved on to bigger and hopefully better things, I’m sure they’d be happy to know you remember them.

I know I do.

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