nickjr (2)
Blogs

Remember what the internet used to look like?

We dug out screenshots from some of our favorite Web sites of the 1990s, including Google, AOL, PBS KIDS, and Disney. Read on to find out who had "The Future" available on their 1996 site...
December 9, 2013

Dr. Carla Fisher is a game designer and digital strategist with fingerprints on more than 300 games for kids and families. She continues her musings outside this blog via a free weekly newsletter (sign up here) that curates articles, videos, and games that catch her eye. She can be reached at KidsGotGame@NoCrusts.com or @NoCrusts.

At web.archive.org, there’s a magical thing called the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. In 1996, they began archiving the Web…. literally. They’re preserving the history and evolution of the Internet.

We work with evolving technologies all the time, so it’s easy to forget how different the interactive world was just a few years ago, never mind 10 or more years ago. The nature of digital technologies is that we often overwrite previous versions. It’s much harder to find the first edition of a Web site than it is to find the first edition of a book.

So, today’s treat is to take a break from chasing down the latest trends and enjoy a trip down memory lane.

But first a quick request! If you like the viewpoint I bring to the industry side of things, I’m also beta testing a twice-weekly (or so) email of great games, articles, and stuff for parents and caregivers. I’d love you to join, suggest content, and provide feedback! Sign up at http://eepurl.com/HQrEz or check out an example message.

Without further delay, back to the 1990s…

Google.com

November 11, 1998

Beta!

Google (2)

AOL

December 20, 1996

“The future, now available on AOL 3.0!”

AOL (2)

PBS KIDS

June 2, 2001

(This is not the oldest archive, but it was one that loaded well.)

PBSKIDS (2)

Scholastic

November 14, 1996

Scholastic (2)

New York Times

December 19, 1996

NYT (2)

Disney.com

December 22, 1996

Disney (2)

NickJr.com

March 1, 2000

A lot of their images didn’t want to load, so this was the best I could get for now!

nickjr (2)

Sesame.org (Back when they were CTW)

March 3, 2000

“Kids rate their heroes in hit or dis!”

Sesame (2)

ABC

October 22, 1996

Awww, Michael J. Fox!

ABC (2)

Pizza Hut

January 12, 1998

Despite the missing graphics, this page is really interesting because of the choices presented to the users — do you want the high bandwidth or low bandwidth site?!

Pizza (2)

CNN

August 15, 2000

CNN (2)

If that’s not enough, this Telegraph article also has great screenshots of sites when they first launched. And a Gizmodo article of 23 ancient sites that are still around, like the OJ Simpson Trial Hub.

Otherwise, give us a shout at KidsGotGame@NoCrusts.com or @NoCrusts.

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