Well, what was left of my post-Ukrainian childhood, anyway…
Does anyone else remember those website competitions, where you had groups of sites joining teams (usually fantasy-themed) and compete amongst themselves to get the most votes, and then the finalists of those teams would go up against finalists of the other teams until there was one winner left and they got an animated GIF award to put on their page?
I do! When I made my first website I used to enter these things and put Vote buttons on my sites. My first ever website was called “Neoexplorium”. It was built on Expages.com (but you had to be really careful not to accidentally type in “expage.com” because that was a porn site) and had lots of funky music and colorful backgrounds. It won one of those dodgy Web Award things and I was so happy! I never was sure what those things were trying to do, as the awards website wasn’t selling anything but it obviously didn’t have very high standards. I wish I could remember what year this was.
The other contestants' websites usually consisted of one long page with lots of gifs, poems, virtual pet codes that you could put on your site, etc. And guestbooks - always guestbooks. Always. Your website was not a website without a guestbook. And of course every website had an “Awards” page, to show people how awesome it was.
I remember in one of the contests the teams were called “Wolves”, “Dragons”, “Fairies”, and some other creatures. The wolf team contestants had a leaderboard and for each round they “grew” into different stages. In the first round you were a “pup” and you progressed from there until you became “Alpha” and then you went up against the other teams' winners. It was basically a popularity contest that I never won :( I went up to “Beta” once I think…
Role playing games
At one point I started making my own RPG. I was planning on making a magical wizarding school game and I even invented all of the magical items (and drew them), backstory, rules, etc. I started making it and all, but never ended up finishing.
There was also a website that let you create your own role playing games more easily…it basically consisted of creating a forum on a subdirectory of this website. I joined a Lion King game where I was one of Zira’s pack. There was another girl playing Kiara, who was in love with Kovu and wanted to join our pack of outsiders. I gave her a hard time, thinking she would betray us to Simba. She tried to prove herself by hunting down an antelope on Simba’s land and dragging it to us. I told her the only way she could prove herself would be by killing her father.
Wolf RPGs were also very popular back then. I never actually joined one, but read through them sometimes. Some of them had really explicit “mating” forums! This was back in the days when I thought that adults could read your mind so when I stumbled across something “inappropriate” I’d close my eyes and think about something else >.>
Then there was Furcadia (which is still popular, by the way). It’s a graphical MUD where you could create your own worlds and plug them into the main worlds. They had their own coding language called DragonSpeak, which I learned at some point. It was used to create your own worlds. I remember making an almost fully automated theme park. There were lots of RP worlds here, anything you could possibly imagine. From more Lion King worlds (you could replace player sprites with whatever you want in your own worlds) to an entire section for 18+ worlds.
F2P MMORPGs and getting married in one
I loved trying new free to play MMOs (this is how I stumbled across Furcadia). I’d download anything and everything I stumbled across. It took ages, but I must’ve tried them all - from MapleStory to Planescape to other games whose names I can’t even remember.
I remember one where I had just joined and my character was just a newbie, but I somehow ended up talking to this guy who was uber L33t in one of the city areas. He ended up introducing me to his uber L33t friends and then asking me to fake-marry him (literally - the game had a marriage feature). I still remember us being in a dungeon or cave where they had to keep me from getting killed because their characters were all awesome and mine was still crap and then this dude’s friend made some awkward excuse to leave the dungeon and the other dude got down on one knee with the kneeling animation and gave me some sort of a jewellery or flower item through the trade GUI. I couldn’t really say no, so I said yes and next thing you know we’re in the marriage world thing with all his uber L33t friends congratulating us.
It got a bit awkward after that. Not only did I not know how to talk to this dude because I was pretty socially awkward, but he kept giving me awesome items and I felt like a gold digger, so eventually I just said “eh..hm..I’m going to go hunt harpies here in this really n00b area.” And then we kind of never spoke again.