Decay, constant

I was digging through some files and stumbled across my archive of the splash pages that used to provide a point of entry to the website, back in the day when splash pages were common. In retrospect, they were a pretty stupid idea — access speeds were pokey enough eight or nine years ago, and to hide a site behind a graphical page that took a minute to download was downright asinine. But they’re a nice reminder of a more naive time on the Internet, when everyone was still developing a feel for how this “online” nonsense would work out.

My splash pages, on the other hand, are kind of depressing. I found a trove of 40. Four zero! Forty! A few of them are terrible, but for the most part they’re really good — funny, nerdy, well-drawn, very crisp-looking. I love the one above — it totally nails the linework, color and logo style of The Misadventures of Tron Bonne. And it had a reflection nearly a decade before Apple and Web 2.0 made it a cliché! Boo yeah. Stuff like this makes me wonder what’s happened to me. I used to be creative, hard-working, artistic; now, I’m… not. Did I say “kind of” depressing? Sorry, I meant “where did I put that razor blade?”

On the other hand, the former me still had his, uh, off moments:

Honestly, I don’t even know.

26 thoughts on “Decay, constant

  1. I remember your splash pages. I think I’ve got a couple of them still hanging out in my wallpaper folder. Ah, good times.

  2. Man, it’s been years since I saw the ol’ splash pages. Good times, indeed. Will you be putting them up in the comix archives, by any chance?

  3. “Stuff like this makes me wonder what’s happened to me. I used to be creative, hard-working, artistic; now, I’m… not.”

    Being that you’re one of the most analytical, creative, and thoughtful voices in lieu of “games journalism” these days, I’d say “Parish is Parish” to that.

    Postscript: Still miss your comics, though.

  4. I remember liking them quite well, then again, I was also enamored of anything free and even remotely funny on the internet at the time. I would be leery of my opinions on the subject.

    Wasn’t that particular image a reference to the Emilo Gonzalez scandal? And that’s really all I can offer to “help” on the “not even knowing”.

  5. These were the reason that I started reading Toastyfrog. Bryan Lee O’Malley linked the archive of them on his own archive of splash pages as an example of someone who was better at this than him. I’d been aware of it for somewhat longer, from Parish’s appearing as if summoned when someone mentioned the Thumbnail Theaters on some weeaboo message board I frequented back in the day. But when Mal linked it, it became something worth following in my view.

  6. Elián Gonzales, not Emilio. I actually know what it’s about, I just don’t know why I would create something like that.

    “Bryan Lee O’Malley linked the archive of them on his own archive of splash pages as an example of someone who was better at this than him.”

    Are you lying? I can’t decide if that’s awesome or even more depressing.

  7. Some days, I wish the old ToastyFrog stuff was still available to read online–maybe not the stuff that would jeopardize your current career (but that was some of the best stuff).

    Anyway, claiming street cred for reading this site back when it was on Simplenet YEAAAAAAAAAAAAH

  8. I loved the old splash pages. :D

    And hey, they’re splash pages, people could skip them if they wanted to. But they didn’t!

  9. To the query of ‘what happened to me?’: using Mr Parish as a case study I’ve determined that writing about video game as a full-time career is perhaps the most efficient way to destroy any enthusiasm a person might have for them. Thanks to his noble sacrifice this is a pitfall I’ll be able to avoid myself.

  10. Man, I loved your old splash pages. And the fact that you changed the page title every time.
    My current bookmark for this page reads “s e x y . t o a s t y f r o g” and I think the image was some kind of weird bunny thing? I don’t know. I do remember that this was one of (many) “comeback” pages and probably the third time I had to add the bookmark? I just left it there after that… god knows how many years ago.
    That alone should say your website is pretty good?

  11. Yes, the sexy.toastyfrog splash page has the frog in bunny ears and a purple one-piece, disturbing Rorita, who’s in a nurse outfit. Yes, it’s kind of disturbing that I could look that up.

    Some of my favorite splash pages were Battle Angel Rorita, the Kobun one, Serial Experiments Toastyfrog, and the minimalist Maison Ikkoku “piyo piyo” one.

  12. It’s very easy to lose the energy you put into a hobby when something similar becomes your bread and butter – suddenly you spend 40+ hours a week writing about games, so the thought of doing so in your free time becomes less appealing. I think you should go back to illustrating the headers for the GameSpite issue headers, it will force you to get back into drawing and maybe stimulate some creative juices. Lord knows I’m praying for the return of the soup hamsters…

  13. There’s a time and a place for splash pages. A splash page tells you everything you need to know about a site. Like when the main content of your site is so shameful that you hope that people would just see the splash page and move on. Or it can be a tool keep people coming back. It’s almost like a webcomic doesn’t have any pressure to update regularly. If only you kept that up, Toastyfrog:Splash would of evolved to Toastyfrog:Flash! Much like Now that I think about it, it’s useful as a warning that the main content of your site could be 5megs or more!

  14. I utterly despise web sites with a Flash interface. They are an abomination.
    The only splash page I sorta remember off the top of my head is Jeremy’s Discworld one.

    I’ve often thought that Jeremy is his own worst critic. In the last few years I’ve appended that to say “Jeremy is his own second-worst critic”. I would now say that the irrational fanboys are his worst critic (and he probably has a lot of company in that sense).

  15. Whatever the form, you really, really should make them available to view again.


  16. I remember I used to be in the habit of saving any sort of comic or other cool artwork that was posted on Toastyfrog because it would invariably be taken down when Mr. Parish decided it wasn’t good enough anymore.
    I think I’ve still got the pages of Toastyfrog ZX (the comic where Toastyfrog was holding onto a rock in a river – it was possibly named something besides “ZX”, I don’t remember) floating around somewhere.
    “Toastyfrog Classic” would be a great addition to the website; with things like these splash pages and maybe even descriptions of where those abandoned comics were going.

  17. I would love to see a t-shirt with that splash page image on the front.

    Also, I read the Golgo 13 articles you wrote a while back. I am itching to pour through your archive when I get the time.

  18. Aw, Shawn, you’re just taunting us by linking to an archive that doesn’t actually have any of the images on the pages.

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