Neocities – My New Retro Website Project

Check out the Neocities restoration of my old FFIV Fan site!

I started my journey on the web back in the Geocities days. I taught myself how to code in HTML and quickly started putting together my own retro-style websites as were the trend in the day. While I didn’t do the flashing text (I may have done scrolling text), I was guilty of animated gifs, bold tiled backgrounds and probably auto-playing midis.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about the “old days” of the net lately. In fact, I’ve been reminiscing of those days – thinking about webrings and link exchanges and fun personal sites with visitor counters and guestbooks. Funny enough, I ran across a tweet that was talking about much the same thing, and in a comment, someone brought attention to the net community at Neocities.

Somehow I’d never heard of this place before, but when I went to look, it was fairly much like stepping into a time portal. Completely coded by the users (there’s even an HTML tutorial section!), many of them actually strive to recreate the awful old 1998 Geocities vibe.

But you know what… I actually adore it!

There are just plain neat sites like:

Almost immediately, I knew what I had to do.

I dragged out my old external hard drive, poked through the Wayback Machine, and started digging through my old FFIV fansite backups.

While I don’t have anything saved from the Geocities days – I did find a capture of that page on the Wayback Machine before I moved it to a different host back in 1999! – I do have backups from when I started moving to other hosts, and backups I saved through the years.

Starting with the year 2000.

Yes, I’m a pack rat. But you know what? In this case, it’s going to make for a fun and amazing restoration project!

The HTML and images are mostly all in-tact, but need some cleanup here and there. I looked through all of the files and decided I liked the year 2004 layout and design best for the front page. The rest is still up in the air, though.

So far, I’ve got the main page up and working. But I’ve got a LOT to do in terms of fiddling with design and choosing which year I want the other parts of the page to reflect.

I’ve had a LOT of fun brushing up on my bad HTML practices of the past (what are standards for anyhow?) – I was a table and iframe-using fiend in those days!

This is going to be just a side project that I work on casually and have fun with. It brings back the feel of the old Geocities days when you made sites just because you could and got excited when you saw that site counter go up!

You can check my site out here, but I encourage you to check out the community as well. There is a backend to Neocities that allows you to follow, comment and like on other creator’s creations. So it does have some modern net sensibilities wrapped up in there, too.