A brief love letter/history lesson on one of the internet's founding fathers.

Newgrounds Is Almost Old Enough to Drink!

A brief love letter/history lesson on one of the internet's founding fathers.

Happy 20th birthday, Newgrounds!  For those of you who didn’t waste hours upon childhood hours playing gleefully inappropriate browser games (like me), Newgrounds was the first real “Flash showcase” site. It was a portal where indie animators, game developers, and musicians could show off their work; a sort of IndieDB before IndieDB, a YouTube before YouTube. 

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Remember the Numa Numa video?  Of course you do.  That didn’t debut on YouTube because back then, the ol’ Tube was just a twinkle in Chen/Hurley/Karim’s eye.  That’s right: Gary Brolsma’s one minute and thirty-nine seconds of fame was straight outta Newgrounds.

Between core employees coming and going, moving base of operations up and down the country, the early oughties dot com crash, and numerous media firestorms, Newgrounds has been through the wringer and deserves its notoriety as – like it or not – a cornerstone of Internet culture as we know it today.

Newgrounds has become something of a proving ground for indie animators/developers; it’s common for creators who get their start on Newgrounds to take their awesome to other platforms.  Hit indie games like Super Meat Boy, You Have to Burn the Rope, and Alien Hominid started out as Newgrounds Flash games.  Arin Hanson and Ross O’Donovan (or Egoraptor and RubberNinja, respectively) were two of Newgrounds’ more popular animators before they were the Grumps you know and love.

“Everything, by Everyone”

What a beautiful motto; and so fitting for this unrestricted, unapologetic granddaddy of the contemporary internet age.  Here’s to twenty more years, and thousands of up-and-coming artists showing off their vision.

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Thomas M Gumbel
Writer of stuff. Story stuff, music stuff, game stuff. Look at my Twitter pls.