It always blows my mind that the Google's often-overlooked Groups search engine includes usenet postings going back to 1981, a time that people typically think of as pre-Internet. There weren’t nearly as many people posting as there would be by the early-mid 90s, but it’s an amazing archive. Sometimes I use the date-specific features just to find out what the first post ever to mention something was. (For example, the first time someone used “WTF” online was May 18th 1985.)
This movies group is a pretty neat example. The newest messages are from 1986 and they as far back as late 1981. Basically, when a lot of my favorite movies were coming out.
It’s weirdly anachronistic-feeling to see the nerdiest of computer nerds posting, not all that differently from how we do now, but about movies from 30 years ago; people worrying about spoilers for Return of the Jedi; people in disbelief that a fifth Friday the 13th is coming out; lists of at-the-time-upcoming movies, some of which never got made, or had different titles at the time; and this:
I wish Lucas & Co. would get the thing going a little faster. I can’t really imagine waiting until 1997 to see all nine parts of the Star Wars series.
There’s also rec.arts.movies which spanned from 1988 to 2004. And many many various other newsgroups, a handful of which are somehow still active today. Just add “before:YYYY/MM/DD” to a search query!
Is there anything more tragically beautiful than huge, elaborate promotional websites for movies and video games published circa 1995-1999 that nobody remembers or cares about anymore, yet the sites themselves are inexplicably still online, unchanged in twenty years?
These recognitions were regarded as welcomed honors, visually stamped on the distinguished site with a graphical status icon that bestowed a mark of “quality.” Accumulate enough of these accolades and new awards.html pages would be erected to showcase the entire collection.
Yo check out what I got today! It’s a book from the early 90s that attempts to list every person online with their email address, in the manner of a phone book. This was to be the first in series, but they never released a “1995″ edition much less a later one. Not sure if the free update mailings ever happened either.
Take a close look at the listing pages - you’ll see that they listed people with obviously fake names like “Im Not Iron MAN” as if Man was the last name.