This is a series of personal blogs written by Dreadknux during the formative years of The Sonic Stadium. It chronicles significant events in the website’s early life.
15th June 2000: Pre-Launch Prelude: I have always been a fan of Sonic. Always. Ever since the very first Sega home console, the Master System, which I bought instead of a Mega Drive. As the PlayStation started to take over, ‘Sonic mania’ died down. I got a Sega Saturn and N64, and enjoyed them both, but the love for Sonic slowly started to dwindle as I grew up. As an early teenager, Sonic’s image started to became too… childish.
Then a while ago, I discovered what would soon be the inspiration of what you see before you today: The Moogle Cavern. I’m not sure how I first came across this site – I think I just stumbled across it one day – but I was drawn to it because of its focus on Sonic, Mario, Final Fantasy and a couple of other key popular franchises. I had been visiting the Moogle Cavern on a regular basis, largely due to its massive catalogue of Sonic hoaxes.
With each return visit, the old Sonic fanaticism started to grow again and nostalgia soon took hold. One day, I decided that I could make a website specifically for all the online Sonic fans out there. So, with the arrival of my mum’s new PC earlier this year, I learned simple HTML and got to work on my Sonic site.
I needed a name. ‘The Sonic Stadium’ sounded catchy, and was the former name of Sonic Crackers (Time-Travel Edit: I wasn’t actually aware of this fact until a couple of months after the site launched, making for a nice surprise). So, ‘The Sonic Stadium’ it was then. Wonder if I can trademark it or something? 😉
24th October 2000
The turning point of Sonic fan sites…
The hunt began for a decent URL. I couldn’t be bothered (or afford) to pay for one, but I did discover a website called SonicRoms.org, which owned a domain name using a NameZero account. NameZero offered free URLs and you didn’t have to wait six weeks to get approved, so I made friends with SonicRoms.org’s webmaster ElectroSonic Dan and got myself a ‘sonic-stadium.com’ address. Apparently, someone already had ‘sonicstadium.com’ (then decided they didn’t want it and left it free after I reserved my ‘-‘ address). Bah!
I released my website on 24th October 2000, with the help of Angelfire and an FTP program. Unfortunately, most of the old pages have been removed, but I did manage to restore some of the content (which you can see on TSS right here). Regarding the snapshot of the original homepage above, I had to totally re-create it from memory, as I accidentally deleted it. But, the announcement text is the original! As time went on, I started to add some stuff to my site, including some of the sections you see in the Stadium today, and other not-so-innovative things, but hell I did try. ^_^
1st November 2000
Polls, Online Shops and NewsDesks…
Ah yes, the fabled Online Shop. I do remember it well. Although after three months and no purchases there was really no point in keeping it, and I had to regularly update it with new releases, so in the end I just got rid of it. Pretty soon I started to add the Downloads page and more, and I launched the Sonic Stadium Message Board, which has been desolate since day one. ^_^ Also opened a Guestbook, along with a new Radio Station called ‘Sonic Groove Choons FM’. I know, it was a crap name.
18th November 2000
Sonic X-Treme Leaks and Communism… er, Communising!
Yeah, that ‘new info on a past game’ I mentioned in the update was actually referring to an event in the Moogle Cavern Message Board. A member found the e-mail address to someone at Sega who was involved with Sonic X-Treme for the Saturn, an unreleased title for the platform. The Sega employee replied to several questions and he also promised to provide new information on the cancelled game… but that never happened in the end, so it was not to be. I ended up getting you all excited for nothing. Sorry about that. ^_^ Still, it’s good to be in a happy mood eh?
The beginning of Dread’s innovative ideas!
Strangely (?) enough, seeings as my site started off OK for a website that had just launched, things started to go downhill. Even though I tried to update as much as I could, I wasn’t capturing people’s attention or imagination. Thanks in part to its pants name, Sonic Groove Choons FM had absolutely no listeners, and I couldn’t understand why people weren’t posting on my Message Board.
I decided in December, that it was time for a change of layout. So, I informed the visitors that I would not be updating for a while, and I started looking for a decent template. Lesson 1: Never build your site from a template. Whereas you can build your own layout and edit it yourself, it’s hard to break down someone else’s code from a template – and for a guy like me trying to edit it, I only got confused as I tried to figure out which section of HTML worked where.
This ‘new’ look ran right into the new year and through Christmas (which I ended up missing, so TSS never celebrated its first festive holiday).