#FF6666, ten years later

So it’s been about a decade since the first Star Wars prequel arrived and promptly failed to live up to that amazing teaser trailer we all watched a few dozen times in anticipation of the movie, but something even more important happened ten years ago today: this site launched. Well, technically, I started the site sometime in 1996, but it was a pitiful little thing on GeoCities that I could barely even update sometimes thanks to GeoCities’ terrible servers. After a couple years of that, I decided that maybe I enjoyed this webmastering thing enough to pay a little money to put the site on a more reliable server.

It was money, server space, and time enthusiastically wasted.

We’ve managed to wrangle it into something interesting over the years — right about the time I started pretending that toastyfrog.com doesn’t work — but at the start it was pretty dang worthless. It was loaded with dumb game reviews intended to annoy fans, a Lunar “strategy guide” which was mostly a lot of stupid jokes, and assorted media coverage. Worse, for some reason I decided the site’s visuals should be a riff on Japanese comic magazines like Shounen Jump, which I can only assume I thought was a good idea because frogs… jump. Yeah, I dunno. Anyway, I wanted the site to have the same hyperactive design as the magazines it was named for, but since the web didn’t easily let people plaster their sites with all kinds of dense, glaring Japanese text, I settled for using eye-searing colors and random (sloppy) bits of katakana instead, hoping it would all sort of average out. In retrospect, it was a colossal failure, because it was a clumsy attempt at a visual joke that no one else knew I was trying to make. And thus the tone of the site was irrevocably set!

On the plus side, I’m still pretty happy with the obligatory link banners. Remember banners? I kinda miss ’em, truth be told.

And just think, if anyone else had bothered writing about the Chrono Cross demo when it arrived in Japan, this site would have eventually died in obscurity because the GIA wouldn’t have bothered linking to it. Man, no wonder people hate that game.

Anyway, thanks for continuing to subject yourselves to this prattle. The millions of unique daily visits this site has received in that ten years — currently about 3,000 per day on average — continues to surprise me. I gotta say, though, if I’m still doing this in ten years I’m going to be a little worried about myself.

55 thoughts on “#FF6666, ten years later

  1. Man, I actually *remember* those blender banners. My brain devotes storage space to some very strange things.

  2. I still remember discovering your site for the first time back in ’99 and reading that review of Lunar you made where you talked about how the advertisements gave a lot of attention to Zenobia’s anime model when her sprite looked like “a fetus in an evening gown.”

    And of course the Xenogears review. Who could possibly forget that one?

  3. Ah, the good old days. My old computer went into the attic with a Toasty Ripped My Flesh! wallpaper. It’s kinda hard to believe I’ve been been visiting this site for almost 10 years.

  4. Ah, yes. I think I first discovered Toastyfrog by linking from Sharkey’s site when it was still on verge.com. Wow, that’s been a while.
    I especially remember laughing at the King Vitamin feature and the Eva thumbnail theater. I also remember being weirded out by the April Fool’s day that Parish splattered his face all over the page and updated every 15 minutes or so.
    Doing something else in 10 years? Come on, man, you’ve found your niche. You do a thing that you enjoy (I guess?) that other people enjoy as well. Few are that lucky.

  5. Have I really been visiting this site for around 10 years? I remember reading all that Chrono Cross stuff (including the “article” which showed Lucky Dan throughout history), the Lunar review, and the Xenogears one. You should put all of that stuff back up as an Easter egg for all us old timers to reminisce about the not-as-good-as-it-is-now old days.

  6. I remember reading that Lucky Dan page and all that other old stuff back in college. 10 years! Was it really that long ago? Yes it was. I feel old!

    Have a happy birthday anyway, webpage!

  7. I too remember the wonder that was Lucky Dan! 10 years! Gah!

    I second the vote for putting up some of those old reviews! Let us live through nostalgia!

  8. 10 years!? Has it really been that long?

    Just kidding; I haven’t been reading GS/TF anywhere near that long. Congratulations all the same!

  9. I’ve also been reading since way back, early on. (I forget how I found it… it may have been via Sharkey or GIA.)

    I’m all too familiar with the enthusiastic waste of time and money aspect of the web. (Many, many projects in the past.) I need to push myself to redesign my website. I’ve been putting it off for years, and I may as well do something with that nearly $100/year I pay for it.

    I miss banners, too…

  10. Happy tenth anniversary, dear site! Here’s to ten more years of game journalism goodness!

  11. I want a Retronauts episode about this. C’mon, the higher ups will LOVE it.

  12. Cheers, Parish. And many thanks for your website, because it helped launch me into this career. I owe a large chunk of my lifepath to that moment that my friend forwarded me the evangelion thumbnail theatre, and realising that the dude who made it had a whole damned website full of interesting things to read.

  13. Man, Shivam, I don’t need that kind of pressure.

    It’s surprising how many names around here I recognize from Ye Olden Dayes. And even more surprising that I still see a few from before even that.

  14. I was a big time late comer to the site but I’ve really enjoyed the site ever since found out about it (somewhere around 3 years ago.)

    Keep it up and I look forward to the print version as well. :)

  15. Congrats on ten years, Parish! As someone who’s been reading your site for about seven years I would like to say thanks for all the great work you’ve done.

    (Btw, did anyone else start coming to this site because of the music articles? ELP, King Crimson, Gentle Giant? I haven’t listened to that stuff in years! Maybe it’s time for a music retrospective?)

  16. Well, a new Ozric Tentacles album came out today, so maybe a retrospective is due?

  17. Man! Those early, starry-eyed entries remind me of how awesome and innocent the internet once was. Things sure have changed over the years, haven’t they? I wish I would have caught on a bit earlier, but I suppose all those AOL BBSes from my childhood were formative in their own *special* sort of way.

    Thanks for sticking around for 10+, JP. You’ve influenced a lot more people than you give yourself credit for. Keep on keepin’ on.

  18. I loved doing ToastyFrog 2D so, so much. But no one read it… it got maybe 1/4 the traffic of the regular site. Its spirit pretty much lives on in Retronauts, though.

  19. “Eye-searing”? Old ToastyFrog was beautiful. Pink and green 4 lyfe!

    Also, like Shivam, the direction of my life over the last nine years or so is owed in no small way to this site. Without it, I probably would have gone a very different way, or toiled futilely to go the same way, but lacking the inspiration and patronage of the Jeremiad.

  20. Viva toastyfrog. And via the rpgamer message boards, for that matter. Geez, mate, I need to go soak my teeth.

  21. Also crediting Parish as a life-changing catalyst, whether he wants to hear it or not (hint: he doesn’t).

  22. You get big life credit from me too, though in my case the pivotal moment was when you told us to make 1UP blogs back when that launched. I did so even though I thought I didn’t like blogging, and that particular decision ended up having a pretty significant impact on my life today. So, thanks! That itself was almost exactly five years ago, interestingly enough.

  23. Very late to the party, shame I didn’t know the site way back in 1999. I would have loved to have trolled you for that Xenogears review I keep hearing about.

    (Ah, the innocence of youth)

  24. The Xenogears review was a troll. I reviewed the game as if it were a 1-on-1 fighter (based on that brief but awful mech arena battle) just to see how many people I could annoy. You can’t troll a troll.

  25. While Parish gets no credit for the direction of my life, the website has provided plenty of amusement and things for me to read in the past ten years. I at least have the joy of being a member of the Lucky Dan Fan Club.

  26. Congrats, Parish. It really says something that you’re still at it 10 years later with such a devoted group of fans and some pretty amazing people contributing to GameSpite.

  27. Congrats! I’ve now been following your site longer than I’ve known most of my current friends. Let’s not speculate what that says about me.

  28. The image with this entry makes me really hope that the origins of toasyfrog have nothing to do with frogs turned into toast for personal amusement. I’ve heard frog is mighty tasty when prepared correctly, but I have a feeling toasted frog is not so tasty.

  29. 10 years of lurking later, I still visit this site daily. Wait. Dammit Parish, you made me feel old! Cheers anyhow. Hope to be doing this for another decade. /resumes lurking

  30. My first visit was a link from Blaster Master Underground one day in my computer science lab when I was stumped on my assignment. I loved that review about Jason’s fetal-sized head. When I saw what is probably still the only criticism of Battletoads I had to keep coming back.

  31. Yeah, the reviews (and numbers and headings) were about 60% ironic. For some reason I treated this whole site as a big lark for the first, I dunno, three or four years.

  32. I still remember those early days of half finished comics, prog reviews and the original toasty zines. Good times.

    Ten years, man. If only I had a sheet of tin or something to commemorate the occasion.

  33. *Insert EVA “Congratulations” video here*

    I found this place due to your Pokemon Diamond/Pearl cartoon, so I am a definite late-comer.

    You may mock them, but I think your drawings for the old site were quite charming.

  34. I found the site thanks to the Metroidvania articles. Long may you reign!

  35. Crikey, I can’t even remember how I found this site – that information is lost in the depths of time. Or somewhere in the dusty attic of my brain. Anyway.

    10 years, eh? Time does fly. Well, it’s been a fun ride so far and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it – and I look forward to another 10 years! (Right? Right!?)

  36. Parish, it would be super nice if posted the old splash page archive as a tribute to your fans. :)

  37. I’ve actually compiled a massive amount of old site content to publish in book format which I had originally intended to have ready to coincide with this anniversary, but ultimately I decided to put it aside in favor of something a bit less wanky (i.e. the magazine, Year One Vol. 2, etc.). It’ll happen eventually, though.

  38. I actually discovered this site years ago after a girlfriend broke up with me and I decided to confine myself to my room for a few weeks and work on music. (Not AS depressing as it sounds) I remember reading thumbnail theater, the xenogears review and a few other articles. I also remember checking back in on occasion and finding a completely different, somewhat confusing new layout and something about working on comics? Somehow, I ended up finding retronauts a few years later and after hearing Shane refer to Parish as “T-Frog”, I made the connection and rediscovered the site again.

    The 20 Most Embarrassing Game Companies Ever was one of my favorite articles here. Baby Jesus cried when I discovered it to be inaccessible now.

  39. Happy birthday to your site, which I *still* think of as Toastyfrog, even though I only visited once in a blue moon back in the day (along with the GIA).

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