The internet happened a long time ago. I think Al Gore invented it in the 80s. Or maybe it was some military or academic types in the 60s who created the prototype of what we know and use today. Either way, it was being used in some form or another long before I had cognizance.
Shut up and maybe you’ll find out. I’m leading in to my history on the internet.
I said shut up. Anyway, in the 90s some time, the internet became widely usable, via dial up modems and service providers, like AOL or Juno. You got to listen to some horrible electronic whirrings and growlings for like five minutes, as your modem connected you to the infiniteness known as the World Wide Web. There, you could search for… uh… web pages, and… read forums, or whatever.
Well, around the year 2000, you may have noticed these little cartoons called “flash animations” popping up on certain websites. The first that I recall of these animations was the video “All Your Base Are Belong To Us.” It was a remix of some music and dialogue taken from the game “Zero Wing,” one of the first home console games with voice acting. CATS, the villain of the game, spoke the stupid engrish line that the animation gets its name from. One of the first sites to collect animations such as these was “Newgrounds.com,” and another-the one I usually visited-was called “AlbinoBlackSheep.com,” created by a flash animator of the same name. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Brothers Chaps and Homestar Runner; they were huge for about ten years, there. Then they went on to do tv shows and such, it was sad. Recently, they’ve been making new cartoons, though!
So yeah, along with sites like Newgrounds and Albino Black Sheep, there were comedic sites, where the internet established much of its brand of humor. Sites like “Something Awful,” “The Best Page in the Universe,” and others like it-also “Cracked,” maybe-probably owe much to journalist Seanbaby (I think he worked for EGM?) Seanbaby had a very sarcastic, eccentric style of writing, that often dipped far into a comedic approach known as “accentuating the negative,” wherein the writer only talks about the shitty aspects of his or her subject matter. While Seanbaby’s writing usually included actual jokes as he savagely ripped some shitty old video game a new one, a lot of later internet writers who copied his style… kinda forgot that part. So frequently, you had some popular internet personality who just ranted and raved about something that he or she apparently hated, and I guess it was supposed to be funny. A lot of internet people apparently thought so, anyway. I think internet people just like to hate things. This form of comedy seems to have died down in recent years, but then again, maybe I’m not looking under the right rocks.
Anyway, around the same time as all this, web comics also started cropping up. A particularly influential web comic that used sprites from the classic NES title, “Final Fantasy,” was 8-Bit Theater. While frequently featuring sharp, witty humor, I would characterize this title as being heavily influenced by internet cynicism; generally, all the evil characters were smart, and all the good characters were stupid. The story starts with the relatively intelligent (and very evil) Black Mage, and his incredibly idiotic (and good) companion, Fighter. The two quickly meet up with (highly intelligent… and evil) Thief and the (semi-intelligent, semi-incompetent, sometimes good, sometimes evil) Red Mage, and the four blunder their way into becoming the presumed “Warriors of Light…” accidentally stealing the gig from the four who truly deserved this title. There’s a princess they rescue who is highly competent… and evil. Her father is incredibly stupid (invoking George W Bush on at least one occasion), and so on. The only intelligent, non-evil character is White Mage, and she is not completely innocent of being a bitch from time to time.
You can also observe the “evil = smart, good = stupid” phenomenon at work in Rooster Teeth’s “Red vs Blue” (which isn’t a web comic; it’s a series of web… videos? Also, it’s more of a “dumbass to asshole” spectrum in that one) and… countless other web comics, I’m sure (I just can’t think of any).
In recent years, one might notice a decline in the more cynical, sarcastic tone of webcomics, however, giving rise to such cute, positive titles as “Stupid Fox,” “Ichabod the Optimistic Corgi,” and “Gamer Cat” (I mean, I dunno if they’re as popular as the two aforementioned web titles, but they should be).
Later on, Youtube happened, although before it, there were sites like Ebaum’s World and Stupid videos, which hosted (and stole, in the case of Ebaum’s World) video content from around the interwebs (Ebaum’s World was also accused of stealing content from sites like Something Awful, Albino Blacksheep, and Newgrounds). But yeah, YouTube.
Most people know YouTube; it’s where a lot of online personalities got their start. From the Angry Video Game Nerd to the Nostalgia Critic, from from Egoraptor to Jontron-
-shut up-YouTube has been the place where internet celebs gained their stardom. In particular, folks like AVGN and NC pioneered the… internet video review…? I don’t even know what they’re called. They post videos wherein they use humor and skits to review something (a game for AVGN, a movie or TV Show for NC). Generally falling back on the internet’s love of Accentuating the Negative, the two only occasionally give praise to that which they critique. Generally, they seek out the worst examples of their chosen medium that they can find, and then highlight all the crappiest stuff that they can find. Unfortunately for NC, it seems he’s run out of suitable material from 80s and 90s, and has recently taken to reviewing more modern examples in media. You’ll also hear him frequently accused of trashing a movie or tv show that “wasn’t that bad…” thus pissing a lot of the movie/tv show’s fanbase. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon with internet reviewers. There were also those who accused him of ripping off AVGN’s style, and also the whole thing where he tried to “pick a fight” with AVGN (mostly for publicity). It worked, evidently.
Fuck off with that. Anyway, there was also a video service called “Blip.tv” that NC and his “Channel Awesome” brethren hosted their videos on, because YouTube kept taking their stuff down due to copyright strikes. Blip.tv has since become not a thing, or something. I dunno. They stopped using it, anyway. Now they’re back on YouTube and getting their stuff taken down again.
In the past few years, another kind of internet celebrity has arisen; the Let’s Player. There was something about how this stuff started with Something Awful Goons-I can’t really be arsed to look up who it was, for sure-the practice of recording yourself playing a video game and talking over it became super popular. My favorite guys who do this are the Game Grumps. Egoraptor was a guy who used to do flash animations on Newgrounds. Now all he does is play video games all day with his friends: Rubberninja, another flash animator; Danny Sexbang lead singer for NSP; Ninja Brian, keyboardist for NSP; and Barry, the editor. Also, his wife Mortimer, a YouTube personality… I think she does make up tutorials? Ego gets mad when her name isn’t included amongst the Grumps, in any case. So Ego and Danny are the two main Grumps, but before Danny, Ego’s original cohost was Jontron, an internet video critic. In general, these Grump personalities are very silly and laid back in comparison to a lot of the internet personalities I mentioned before them. They don’t take themselves seriously really at all, and frequently thank their fans profusely (especially Danny). When my fiance broke up with me and I was still stuck in the Air Force for forever, away from all of my people, I watched the Grumps a lot, and it reminded me of hanging out with my friends (for serious; these are very similar senses of humor). So yeah; as Danny Sexbang might say, “I love them. So very damned much.”
Whatever, dude. I’m tired of drawing you now. Anyway, yeah; those are the important people and entertainment sites you can find on the internet, according to me. I’m not really an authority, so yeah. That’s all. “Blog” or whatever, finished.
…Oh! I forgot to mention TV Tropes. TV Tropes are fun.