By James "Spaff" Spafford
This article is about what the online monkey island scene was like when I first joined it, it's about 'Back then' , in the old days of Monkey Island's online presence. Back then, before domains were a feasable solution, when every MI site had a url the size of that place in Wales
(Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch) before 56k modems even existed, when Duke Nukem was still considered the ultimate online gaming expierience.
But it was an exciting time for MI fans and therefore their websites, it was 1997 I joined this scene, and later that year CMI would hit the shelves, something that no one thought would ever happen.
Back in these days every self respecting MI fan made a website, some were good, some were appauling, my first attempt makes me cry when i look at it, as im sure it will make you laugh! But some sites were universally considered to be the best. In this article i will look at some of those sites, some dead, some still around, and talk with their webmasters. But first of all here are some things that no respectable pirate wannabe webmaser would do without:
FanClubs, Awards, and Webrings.
The following images apear courtesy of their creators.
Although these seem to have died out now, around this time there was nothing better than joining all the MI clubs available to you, (see here) or even better starting one yourself. It was simple, all you did was think up a name, say the Lechuck's army of the dead, MI Pirate posse , or an equally relavant name. Then make a graphic for it and then write to loads of other mi webmasters telling them about your club in the hopethat they will join up. There were millions of these, and searchng around my hard drive i managed to find some of the more popuar ones which you can see scattered about.
The idea behind them was probably to drive traffic to your site, especiially if some of the more prominent sites were members - in which case you'd be very proud that they considered your site worthy.. Putting a badge of a club on your site was often also seen as something to be proud of, that you had been accepted into the clubs - of course this could just be me.
One of the late comers and a more revolutionary club is still around today, it has different webmasters but the idea behind it is still functioning. They succeeded where others failed, there were clubs like this about but none were as popular or worth joining as The Clan of the Three Headed Monkey. They offered more than just a badge and a news letter, an entire site with many resources dedicated to it's members. One of their greatest attractions was the "adopt a pet" feature, whereby you could choose from a number of LucasArts animals, nicely cut out to stick on your page, you gave it a name and it was entered into their database. As far as i know you can still do this today.
A variation on the Fan clubs were awards, these were pretty much identical, except web masters awarded sites which they felt deserved to be awarded. I couldnt find many old award logos, probably because I was rarely awarded anything!
So anyway I asked Skyfox (The Scummbar) and he gave me some of those on the left.. the rest.. i had to find myself! and belive me there are far too many to post on this page, I had to leave so many out !
I i had a great time looking at old sites. Murray's Undead Army was founded partly by Maximar (Adventure Gamer) and the monkeys Choice award was part of a site called Do The Monkey (more about that later) but the affengi one - i have no idea as to the origins!
Now for the final part of this section - Webrings. Webrings are pages that bind together other pages of a similar content. those sites then add a bit of code onto their page that has links to the next, previous ad random sites in the webring.
There were many Monkey Island webrings but the first, original and best was The Monkey Island Webring set up by Swordmaster. All The larger, prominent sites were a member of this.. all the sites you wished your site could be like !
However there was another MI webring of the same name. Other webring names consisted of The Murray Webring, The CMI Webring, Herman Toothrot's MI Webring add the Guybrush Guys Webring. We at mixnmojo are guilty of aving a webring - which we call The LucasArts webring its a bit dead, but we are looking into re-opening it!