Ancient Video Game Homepages

Jake Spencer
16 April 2012

Rarely does a retail video game hit the market without its own Web page. These pages typically compile a few screenshots and a bit of descriptive text to provide basic information to potential customers. A few weeks after a game's release, sales steeply drop, and there's little reason for the marketers to continue pouring resources into the site. Pages like this strike quickly and fade faster.

Except sometimes they don't. Sometimes video game homepages linger in some forgotten corner of the Internet for over a decade. Here is an collection of video game homepages with no common theme beyond their continued existence.

Shantae

Awwwwwww! This is so sweet!



This strikes the right balance between the bland simplicity of yesterday's Web, and the glittery over-saturation that made so many MySpace and GeoCities sites unbearable. The yellow font on a red background on a purple background on a white background surrounded by frames is so turn of the millennium. Oof, and I can't even stand how charming that "visitors" counter is.

Shantae was a bit outside the mainstream video game scene even in its time, but this site gives the impression of a simpler, gentler era. Click on the "Gallery" tab, and you'll not only find an animated .gif comic by Shantae-creator Matt Bozon, but the winner and runners-up in a Shantae limerick contest.

It's a lovely time capsule, even if you have no interest in Shantae, but fans will excited to find a decent-sized collection of screens from the unreleased Game Boy Advance sequel.

Gosh! I'm so glad this site has survived.

Colony Wars

I don't know a thing about Colony Wars and I'm not interested enough to read the walls of text found throughout this page.

The eerie CG people on the opening screen of this site provide the easiest laughs, but what I like best is the background in the site, proper. If you move your mouse to certain spots, sometimes a space ship will slowly fly across the screen. Mouse over it, and it explodes.

This is a clever idea, or it would be if the slow ships didn't mosey along the exact same path every time. One appears, it hits your mouse, it explodes, and then the next repeats this process. Would it have been too much trouble to randomly change the starting point or the angle? Probably not, but then it wouldn't have been so funny.

Crash Bash

Remember low-quality .wav files? Have you ever heard the Crash Bandicoot theme music and thought to yourself, "This is pretty good, but I bet it would sound better if someone would put this on an endless loop and compress it until it sounds like it's being played over a weak international phone connection." Bad news - it doesn't.


The site is dull, the link to download the Crash Bash screensaver is broken, and I don't want to  spend any more time listening to this .wav, so here's a quick story - I own the soundtrack to one of the Crash Bandicoot games. I don't know which, but whatever; they use that same obnoxiously bouncy theme in every one of them, anyway. The music is terrible, all the games are terrible, and not only did I buy the soundtrack; I convinced my little sister to buy a copy of her own because the CD only cost one cent at Best Buy. It took us mere minutes to find enough change on the ground to buy the soundtracks and still make a profit.

We went home and stuck one of the discs in our family's five-disc CD changer, and were surprised, in a good way, by what we heard. We got through the disc, and the changer switched to the next CD, which was some obnoxious bouncy garbage.

It turns out our older sister had left the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack in the CD player, and we'd accidentally been listening to the wrong disc. As a result, I'm convinced that not only would this music make the Crash Bandicoot series more tolerable, but that there is enormous potential for a dramatic game that explores the dark side of Crash's obvious smack habit.


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