Sunday, March 8, 2015

Old Websites and the Internet Archive

I know, I know, you were expecting NumberMaze today. Don't worry, it's coming, but first I wanted to talk about old websites.

There's this organization called the Internet Archive. You may have heard of them recently for adding a bunch of old MS-DOS games and arcade games that you can play in your browser. However, before they were known for that, they made this thing called the Wayback Machine. This allows you to browse old websites as they looked back in the day.

Now, even though the thing has been around for years, it's still far from complete. There are a bunch of obscure websites that are either not archived at all, or not archived completely. This is what I wanted to talk about today.

I'll start off by talking about websites for old video games, specifically Nintendo games (so no pictures for them, sorry). The first one I'm gonna mention is the site for Wario Land 4. Visiting the site starts you off with a loading screen that's very reminiscent of the famous Super Mario Land 2 commercial (although Wario doesn't actually say "Obey Wario, destroy Mario!").

Wario greets you by saying, "Welcome to my town! Elegant, lovely, ain't it? Come on, time's a-wasting! Enter one of my faaaaaaaaantastic attractions! Heh heh heh heh heh heh!" If you click on him, he'll say "What do I look like, some kind of [indistinguishable]?"

Some of the more memorable parts for me were the games and the movies. The games are all playable on, but sadly, it seems that no one else remembers the movies, and they were removed even before the site itself was removed. The movies were "Starring Wario" (, and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Wario" (

The other Nintendo website I remember was the one for WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgames. It contained fan-submitted games, as well as a few original games; a map of Diamond City; and an interview with Wario himself about his new game. As you played games, if you won you would receive three diamonds, and if you lost you would lose three diamonds, with Wario saying "The Wario giveth, and the Wario taketh away. So there!"

Related to that, there was the WarioWare Mega Party Games website. This one was actually divided up into different areas, and you would have to (I think) find keys to unlock doors so that you could unlock other content.

Nintendo had a TON of websites, and it would take too long to go through them all here. But the most obscure website that I can think of that I remember would have to be the old website for the Blaster games, You start out at a menu with a few options: the only two I remember are Blaster's Universe (which I'll get to in a bit) and one that let you play a demo of the Math Blaster game from that time.

The Blaster's Universe option played a song (not the theme song for Blaster's Universe, interestingly) and then you'd receive a transmission from Illitera, the antagonist from Reading Blaster. She informs you that she's kidnapped MEL, and challenges you to find him. To do this, you have to visit three different planets.

One of them takes you to a platforming game. I'm a sucker for platformers, so I loved this one (I'd probably hate it now, though). Next is an Asteroids clone. Finally, you'd have a code-breaking challenge; that was probably the only game that actually had some educational value, interestingly enough. After each game, you find out something about "the Hidden Planet".

Then the Hidden Planet is revealed, and you discover that this is where Illitera has taken MEL. You have to put MEL back together, but this is no easy task. This was the most confusing of the games, because you had no real clue what you were supposed to put where. The only hint was "Listen to what MEL has to say when you put a piece in", but this was unhelpful. He would either spout some scientific/mathematical nonsense, or he'd sing "I'm a Little Teapot". Yes, really. And no, this didn't help at all.

Once you put him back together, you take him back to the ship, where you discover that he's been reprogrammed. His eyes get wide...

MEL, are you okay?

Then they get all swirly and Illitera taunts you, saying that "You'll sit, stay, and beg once you find out what I've got planned!"

"...Just as soon as I beat my high score."

She laughs and... that's it. You then get a chance to play the games on a higher difficulty. I never actually did this, but I would assume that you would get to tie off the story by doing this.

Sadly, the screenshots I have here are the only things that remain of this site. The Wayback Machine only has a "You need Flash 5" page, even when you have the latest version of Flash installed. My theory is that it does this because it's trying to load the contents of the main page, but it can't, and the website assumes that it can't load it because it can't render it because it doesn't have Flash, so it throws up that screen.

I could go on about old nostalgic (and obscure) websites that aren't archived, but I think I've said enough for now. So, anyone else remember these websites? What other old websites do you remember? Any websites you'd recommend I visit on the Wayback Machine? Please let me know, as I'd be very interested to see what you guys remember.

Here's a video to go along with this post (I made it before writing the post, and decided in the middle that it was relevant to the blog).

Next time, I'm actually gonna talk about NumberMaze. For real, I promise.


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