That’s right! On this very day, at the turn of the new millennium, The Sonic Stadium formally opened its virtual doors to the world. It was a very different world back then – people used Yahoo to search for things online instead of Google, Napster was the fresh new way to download music (not altogether legally), the hottest ‘meme’ was the Hampster Dance and the Sonic online community was just getting started.
The Sonic Stadium was also a very different beast, too. Launching on a free Angelfire.com web hosting service (fitting on just a 20MB account!), a 15-year-old Dreadknux (that’s me) coded around 20-30 pages using HTML learned from a school library book. All those graphics were my handiwork too, using Macromedia Fireworks – could you tell?
Over the years, as the site grew (both in terms of content and contributors), our appearance and approach to covering Sonic has changed several times too. Some things never change though – ever since October 24, 2000 we have been dedicated to sharing exciting news and information on the world’s most famous hedgehog.
To celebrate, we restored a couple of old Site Legacy pages. The first is a simple archive of all of the website trophies The Sonic Stadium has been awarded over the years – for maximum Internet points! It’s been about ten years since anyone bothered with website awards now, so the last we received was around 2007, but we’ll more than happily update it in future if anyone’s kind enough to throw us some form of community award-based love. We’re old gits, now. We like looking at shiny things from the past.
We also relaunched the Old Layouts Archive, so you can once again take a look at what this website used to look like. We’ve restored all of the old screengrabs from 2001-2004, and updated it to include all of the past designs from 2006 to present day. We’ve also tidied it up a bit, hiding some design revisions in links and bunching some layouts together to keep the timeline neat. There’s room for further updates to this page too, if we decide to include some alternative designs and other things from the TSS Vault…
Take a small trip down memory lane with us by checking out the above pages, and just for kicks we have pulled together a shortlist of some of our favourite TSS stories and features from the first year of our existence.
A Completely Arbitrary ‘favourites’ list from 2001 – Yay!
Take a look at this eyesore from 2001, most likely created to help generate some buzz for Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 on the Dreamcast. Its gimmick was being able to tell the ‘Internet Time’, using a new method of time called ‘beats’. It was weird. Click through to see the watch in full, plus the promotional material that came with it.
June 2001: Sonic Team Reveals Sonic Store in Japan
I loved this story at the time, because finally there was a way I could buy more cool Sonic merch. Unfortunately, as a teenager at the time, heading to Japan was a bit out of my reach. I finally managed to go for the first time in 2005, and went looking for the Sonic Store, but it had long since closed… I like looking back at this sometimes to see the stuff I could have bought.
It’s nice to look at Christian Whitehead’s amazing Sonic 1/2/CD remakes on iOS and SEGA Hardlight’s Sonic Forces: Speed Battle and think that this is where life started for Sonic and mobile devices. But no. The very first Sonic mobile phone game hit DoCoMo handsets in Japan in 2001, and you can see exactly what it looked like by clicking through. It’s a bit… yeah.
Back in the day, E3 didn’t take place in June but rather in May. And in 2001, Sonic Adventure 2 was all the rage, being SEGA’s mascot’s swansong on the recently-announced-to-be-killed-off Dreamcast. So the company went big on the promotion, including putting up an absolutely massive Shadow poster across the entire LA Convention Centre.
February 2001: TSS Preview: Sonic Adventure 2 (Demo Version)
This was the first time we covered a game ahead of its release on this site, and boy were we so excited! I mean, sure, we got access to the game because we bought Phantasy Star Online and managed to play (to death) the Sonic Adventure 2 demo disc included with it, but we just had to get our feelings out there. We like reading back through it sometimes as it shows us how far we’ve come as a site, but also because we were younger back then and everything seemed super amazing and cool.
Sonic Adventure 2 is still a great game. Don’t @ me.
So, what are some of your favourite memories of The Sonic Stadium? Feel free to share yours in the comments box below, we’d love to see your stories. Happy 18th Birthday to The Sonic Stadium!