Imagine a frog bursting into flames

I am officially on Christmas vacation for the year, or as much as the EIC of a fairly largish website is ever allowed to be on vacation (which is to say, I’m still on the hook for a hefty amount of work every day, but I get to do it from someone else’s home). This means that today, or a day very close to today, is the 15th anniversary of this website.

That makes me feel pretty old!

There are a fair few of you who have been with this site for more than a decade and for some inexplicable reason continue reading it every day; some of you even send money every month to help offset the cost of the server and forums. You’re good people. But none of you have been with the site from the beginning, because in the beginning this site was terrible and unknown and I would be happy when it was seen by anyone else. I would occasionally check my site stats (occasionally being… daily?) and when it reflected a page view that wasn’t my own, I felt triumphant. Of course, in 1996, one page view represented a significant chunk of the Internet’s traffic.

I vaguely wish to repost some of the content from the original version of the site, but it’s mercifully been lost to the ages. Not even the WayBack Machine has bothered to archive the first few years of GeoCities’ CollegePark Quad page 4831. Pity. It would make for an excellent museum piece for how not to create a website in 1996 (this information could be relevant again if one of COPA’s progeny passes and knocks the Internet back to its equivalent of the bronze age).

Back when 56K dial-up was a luxury and GeoCities’ servers buckled under the strain of tens of thousands of people clamoring to make use of its luxurious 2 megabytes of free Internet hosting, I opened my page with a self-created animated GIF of a frog bursting into flames (much to its surprise), which then dissolved to say, “Welcome to ToastyFrog.” It was a 100K graphic file. That may not seem like much now, but at the time it took a full minute to load… on a good day.

Not that it wasn’t worth the wait! It was a pretty rad GIF, if I do say so myself. I wish I still had it around just to see if I could download it in less than a second now.

There wasn’t much to speak of behind the fiery frog firewall, mind you. I posted a fairly vapid intro page link to half-written articles about my current obsessions at the time: Ranma 1/2, Star Wars, and (gasp) no video games at all. Not that I wasn’t playing video games! Much of what I used the Internet for was to keep up with game news at handy sites like (later IGN64, later just IGN); it just never occurred to me that I would have something to write about games, much less that anyone would want to read what I had to say about them.

I kept plugging away at the site and eventually decided to go for broke and make something real of it, but that was many years later. Well, a little more than two years. That seemed like a long time back then; not like now, when I can feel time pouring away in a torrent to be replaced by mortality. Ah, to be young and have time enough to create 100K GIFs of combusting frogs.

Well, anyway, thanks to everyone who has read some form of this site over the past decade and a half. My new job has taken a measurable toll on the time I have available to produce content here and it’s unavoidably in something of a decline, but I fully expect some iteration of this site to be up and running and eating my free time in another 15 years. Thanks in advance to the few of you who intend to stick around that long.

31 thoughts on “Imagine a frog bursting into flames

  1. I’m fairly recent to the blog, but I enjoying checking back once every few weeks to look at updates. Congratulations on fifteen years. Thats a teenager in internet years! The true goodness is now about to come. When it hits 16, 18 and 21, stuff is going to turn crazy!

  2. A-yup, that’s a long time. And I’ve certainly read a good majority of it… though man, now you’ve got me wondering if I ever came across any of your Ranma 1/2 stuff, seeing as that’s about half of what *I* was putting on the internet back in 1996 too.

  3. I’ve been reading this site since it entreated you to bust out out of an HTML frame. The Simplenet days. It was a simpler time back then, when men were men, dames were dames, and milk cost a nickel.

    This was one of the first, if not *the* first website on the internet to suggest that games could be written about with intelligence. It still has some of the most intelligent writing you’ll find. I owe you one, Parish. You’ve made my life better.

      • Probably when it burst into flames and then dissolved.

        I don’t remember precisely when I became a regular reader. All I know is that I came for the Thumbnail Theatre, stayed for the awesome Xenogears diatribe, and was perennially baffled by all the Lucky Dan reverence.

        And splash pages! Maybe you should make a commemorative splash page of Toasty and Rorita dressed as your favorite videogame characters!

  4. And thanks to you for providing a home to one of the best communities i’ve ever been part of. Here’s to 15 more!

  5. You’re the only games journalist (is that an oxymoron?) that I bother reading regularly, so it says something. Here’s hoping to some more quality games coverage and hopefully some attention to classic SEGA games.

  6. I found your site, and Sharkey’s at about the same time. It couldn’t have been much later than 1997. I arrived via a project to make an RPG engine (I don’t remember the name now). One, or the both of you, were involved and your sites were cross-linked with each other. There were also some other people’s pages, but none of them were saying much of interest to me.

  7. I wonder how many of us long term readers cut our toastyteeth via the RPGamer boards. I certainly did, and I still hang around there, too, old school format and all.

  8. I can’t remember when exactly I started reading this site, though I am certain it was no later than 1999 and possibly earlier. Pretty sure I found you via Sharkey as well, since you and he and Thor had some kind of triforce of linking going on.

  9. I’ve…..I’ve been visiting this site for 13-14 years?! What have I been doing with my life and where did it go?!

    I’ll blame the GIA for starting me down this path. Nevertheless, thanks for the years of Rorita, poking fun at Xenogears and Evangelion, praising the Chrono-verse, and toasting frogs. What could be a better legacy!

  10. I first was aware of Parish via the GIA, specifically his piece praising Lucky Dan. Was instantly a fan of his perspective, and received the first related bit of spite when the English version of Chrono Cross got the character’s name all wrong.

    I didn’t start visiting Toasty Frog daily until about the time that Fei’s head was in a bag, or when Toasty Ripped My Flesh, I forget what came first. I don’t think a single day has gone by since that I haven’t visited since.

    And the day that Parish announced that he made a forum, and that it was probably a terrible idea but let’s see where it takes us… well that was just about the best day ever.

    Thanks for 15 years of first-rate intermanship, Jeremy. Whether Gamespite lasts another fifteen years or fifty, I’ll be here.

  11. I actually started following this site about 10 years ago (I think – I know I was already reading when you posted your Animation in 2001 piece), after reading through your Chrono Cross FAQ.

    Thanks for 15 years of gradually better writing and nice drawings!

  12. I do remember your site from at least a few years ago, both the game coverage and the Thumbnail Theatre (and progressive rock stuff), and liking it a whole bunch. I think it was around when you had the IRC ticker from #finalfight, and I was young and annoying and went in and became hated quickly.
    Anyways I’ve always considered you basically the best game journalist/writer around, keep doing what you do!

  13. Thanks for writing such wonderful articles filled with a refreshing perspective that almost always mean that, on the rare chance I do disagree with your opinion, I can always respect it.

    Merry christmas and all the best for the New Year :)

  14. I’ve been checking this site every couple days for probably 10 years (from back when you were on simplenet), so you must be doing something wrong.

    Whatever it is, keep it up!

  15. Thanks for everything you do, and for proving with your work that this medium that has meant so much to me is worthy of critical examination!

  16. I’ve only been reading for a year or two, but I’ve loved it and hope to keep reading into the foreseeable future.

  17. Jeremy, thanks for creating and maintaining my favorite forum on the internet. Keep up the good work!

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