Shine on, Geocities. Shine on… Forever

Yesterday, October 26, 2009, was the day Geocities died.

Now some might call the Geocities we saw hobbling about with an IV attached to its arm not the “true” Geocities. It had, after all, been acquired by Yahoo back around 2000, and gradually lost a lot of what made Geocities so appealing in the mid to late 90s amidst both infrastructure modifications and the evolution of online trends. However, I think that deep within that mass of tubes and cybernetic implants there beat the heart of that noble site which once told anime fans that the best place to put a website was in a Pagoda in Tokyo. And even if that weren’t the case, we still have some evidence (thanks to archive.org) that it existed, and that it gave you 20mb of free space. Do you know big that is? It”s like four to six mp3s!

I’d previously talked about Geocities and how despite never having a Geocities site myself, it was an important part of my youth and my fandom. So many people I met online had Geocities sites, or Fortune City, or Angelfire. Memories of my favorite vido game, NiGHTS into dreams, are tied inexorably to my time on these sites. More broadly though, it represented that era when kids of all ages realized that yes, they could have their own website. On the internet. For free. Gradually, that thrill turned to finding out that yes, even you could implement a scrolling marquee and javascript pop-ups. The most important thing though was that it was yours.

I know some people are ashamed of their old Geocities sites, and I think that’s kind of silly. Sure, the sites might not live up to our current understanding of accessible web design, but they’re so representative of their era that to be relieved that they’re gone is to be relieved that a piece of history has been erased, both greater and personal. After all, that was who you were back in 1997, and you should be proud of that.

Saying Farewell to the 90s

You may be looking at the title of this post, and figuring that I’m somehow a decade or so off. Perhaps you assume I’ve hit my head and am living a part of my youth vicariously once more. But no, what I’m referring to is the spiritual death of the 90s, particularly when it comes to nerdish entertainment.

You have the End of Geocities approaching.

Central Park Media, one of the most significant anime companies of the 90s, while already in its death throes for years now, is now truly finished, its properties scattered to the winds of which one is named ADV.

And now there is talk of 3DRealms, creators of the Duke Nukem series, shutting down with perennial vaporware Duke Nukem Forever potentially gone for good. In other words, forever. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Ha.

Oh, and this doesn’t really count but baggy pants have had a continuous decline for a while now too.

And yes, a lot of Central Park Media’s properties were from the 80s, and Duke Nukem is a throwback to the 80s too, but they’re also very much symbols of the 90s and a time when games and anime targeted a very different audience than it does today, when Final Fantasy VII was only just beginning to attract a large audience of girls to video games and by extension them Japanese cartoons.

Oh yeah, and Mortal Kombat’s kind of in trouble too what with Midway trying to sell the property.

And sure there are 90s properties still alive, like Street Fighter 2, but SF2 always felt more timeless to me, with its wacky stereotypes and solid gameplay and the fact that it says Zangief is from the USSR.

Wait a second-

Recent times and movies and remakes have shown this point to be much more of an 80s revival than anything else, so it’s possibly that 10 years from now we’ll be seeing the nostalgic return to the good ol’ 1990s when cartoons were good and video games knew how to be fun.*

*Like every other decade which features both

Adieu, Geocities

It’s the end of an era as Yahoo! has decided to completely shut down Geocities, the free site-hosting service that  was one of the go-to places during the late 90s if you didn’t know a whole lot about html or web design but really, really wanted a website. I never used it myself, being an Angelfire user, but so many of my friends both online and in real life utilized Geocities that it’s tied to my youth and my time as a fan of anime and video games.

Geocities is very significant to a number of fandoms out there, and it’s particularly a big deal when it comes to anime. It’s not because any incredible resources existed on Geocities sites (though some may have, I just can’t be bothered to check), but the sheer amount of anime sites that were on Geocities over the years. Don’t believe me? Go to the Anime Web Turnpike right now and look through the sites and see how many are Geocities pages.

Geocities has sort of become obsolete at this point, as those who want free pages can go to Myspace or Livejournal (or WordPress!) and do whatever they will with their space, while those who want their own web space can obtain it easily as getting web space and your own domain name is significantly easier now than it was 10 years ago all while being less expensive. Still, I feel we should pay our respects to Geocities, with its initial ridiculous URLs and its pop-up ads and remember how much it has done for anime fandom and online communities in general.