This is the first in a series of features that looks back on the history of The Sonic Stadium. You can find out more about how this website changed the Sonic community, what it looked like back in the day, and even special images and update notes from the archive.
I’ve always been a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, ever since I saw the Mega Drive game that my friend owned (which resulted in me accidently getting a Master System in my childhood ways). Every bit of my pocket money would go on the games, and any other merchandise I could fit in too. As time went on though, the Sony PlayStation became more popular and that (along with adolescence) made my interest in Sega and Sonic wane throughout the late 1990s.
My interest was to be reignited during my last year of school. Sometime in 1999, we had a new computer centre built, which brought Internet to the masses of kids attending there. Soon enough, every kid had a floppy disk with Genecyst and a Sonic 2 ROM that they would play during lunch break whenever the admins weren’t looking. Seeing the game being enjoyed again (and playing it a heavy amount myself) kick-started my love for the games all over again.
I eventually came across a website called The Moogle Cavern (now dead). It appeared during a random Yahoo search for ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, not expecting to find as many fan sites as I did. In its prime, the ‘MC’ was known for its mish-mash of Mario, Sonic, Squaresoft and other assorted franchise information. I quickly joined the forums and became a solid part of their community.
After discovering a book in my school library about creating simple websites in HTML, I decided that I could also create a Sonic website. I felt I knew a lot about the games, after all, and I wanted to share what knowledge I had on the series on the Internet. Good job this book wasn’t so big, and was written in almost Fisher-Price style humongous letters.
Sonic Website Assemble!
As luck would have it, my mum would get a PC in March 2000, and after my fiddling with basic HTML code at school I decided that I’d have to tax that computer pretty heavily if I was going to be serious about creating my new website. Obviously as parents do, restrictions on the computer meant I wasn’t allowed on it all the time (which is just as well, it probably would have broken my brain anyway) but I slogged away, making separate pages for a splash page, home page and various game pages.
Thinking of a name turned into the classic game of alliteration and semantics to see what word sounded good with the name ‘Sonic’. Oddly enough, ‘Sonic Stadium’ came to me rather quickly, and I wasn’t aware at the time of how close it was to a working title of canned 32X title Sonic Crackers (the working title was ‘Sonic Studium’).
Of course, every website needed a domain name – and not every starting website can afford such a privilege. Especially in 1999; the dot com boom meant that, particularly for a schoolkid, domain names were prohibitively expensive. I turned to a free service called NameZero – a website that gave you a domain name for a year in return for a banner or two. Registering www.sonic-stadium.com, I found a good free website hosting service in Angelfire and uploaded all my files via an FTP program. On the 24th October 2000, The Sonic Stadium was born.
Other Notable Developments
- The Sonic Stadium was launched on the 24th October, 2000. It was hosted on an Angelfire account using limited HTML. The first ever update announcement can be found in the screengrab of the homepage, above. That screengrab is actually a very close recreation of the page you would have seen in October 2000. You can read The Sonic Stadium’s first ever updates via our Archives section.
- An ‘online store’ was added in November, and was scrapped a few months after. It listed various Dreamcast products that visitors could click through to Amazon.co.uk and purchase. Of course, given the lack of online shopping (and TSS visitors) at the time, it proved to be of little use.
- A Downloads section was later added, and a ‘Sonic Stadium Message Board’ forum was created. It would take almost a year and several revivals for the forum to finally gain members.
- The genesis of SEGASonic Radio was born in late 2000, but it was a simple Shoutcast playing music on random occasions. The station was really shamely named ‘Sonic Groove Choons FM’. Urgh.
- On 18th November, a member of the Moogle Cavern forums found the email address of someone who worked for SEGA on ‘Sonic X-Treme’, the legendary canned game for the Saturn. This led to a few questions being answered and the promise of new information, the latter of which took several years to actually happen.
Old Template Images
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