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History of Newgrounds

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Newgrounds was first created as a website in 1995, and in 2000, it became the first Flash website with an automated submission system, in which members of the Newgrounds community could vote on incoming entries and determine what content would remain on the site. Since then, it has spawned a number of popular artists, movies, games, and memes.

New Ground Edit

New Ground

New Ground was Tom Fulp's Neo Geo Fanzine.

In 1991, Newgrounds was not originally intended for the web, but rather was a fanzine for the console Neo Geo by the name "New Ground." "Neo" being a synonym for "New", and "Geo" being a synonym for "Ground". Tom Fulp published New Ground from his parents' basement in Perkasie, PA, sending sporadic issues to around 100 members of a club on Prodigy, an early online service.

New Ground Remix Edit

Newgrounds 1995

"New Ground Remix," circa 1995

On July 6, 1995, when Tom Fulp first obtained space to create his own web page, he immediately took on the New Ground name. Thus "New Ground Remix" was born. New Ground Remix had somewhat lacked content, until the last few weeks of the summer of 1996, when Tom's friends had all left for college. It was in this time that he created Club A Seal and Assassin, the games that finally brought meaning to the name New Ground. A small New Ground Remix cult began to form.

As a student of Drexel University, Tom could no longer access the New Ground Remix FTP server. During the winter of sophomore year, he created Club a Seal II and Assassin II. He decided he needed a new place to house these games, and therefore created New Ground Atomix on his Drexel webspace. Still on a roll, he produced Cat Dynamics and Beep Me Jesus.

In late September, Tom received a call from Inside Edition, a popular News program from CBS.[1] They wanted to do a piece on Assassin. He got very excited and quickly got back on the ball. He decided it was time for Newground Atomix to get its own domain name, so that when it appeared on the TV screen it was easy for viewers to remember the URL. He decided on "Newgrounds", plural. Club a Seal I and II were combined and users were redirected from the old sites to newgrounds.com. Tom paid $33 per month out of his own pocket to host the site. Inside Edition never followed up with him after that initial contact. This did not stop him, as he was ecstatic to have his own domain name. Tom continued to update the current features and traffic boomed. He had to change hosts to accommodate the traffic, and started producing t-shirts in an attempt to pay for hosting fees.

1999 Edit

Picoschoolcyclops

At the time it was released, Pico's School was arguably the most advanced Flash game yet made.

Traffic to newgrounds.com was booming throughout 1999. Banner ads were introduced to pay growing hosting bills. Ultimately, Tom Fulp was unable to make ends meet. The host wanted over $1000 per month and he was dropped by advertisers due to the controversial content on Newgrounds (mostly comedic violence). Running out of options, Tom Fulp partnered with Troma, who hosted the site in exchange for a cut of ad revenue.

This year also saw the introduction of Pico's School, hailed by many as the pinnacle of Flash 3 programming. Flash 3 didn't offer much in terms of programming - it didn't even support variables. Tom came up with a very complex work-around for tracking events and data, making Pico the most advanced Flash game on the Internet. It wasn't until Flash 4 that variables were introduced, and Pico would have been much easier to make. By the end of the year, he had also made UFA and Samurai Asshole. He actually programmed a good portion of them while working at Qwest, but he was a consultant, so he didn't bill them for the hours. In August, the first third party, Ian Hothersall, contributed his flash movie, Hate.

2000 Edit

Wasted Sky

Wasted Sky was one of Tom Fulp's less known games. It was submitted in 2000.

2000 is mostly remarkable as the year Tom Fulp hired Ross to make the automated Flash Portal, the first of its kind. It was completed on April 6, and the modern submission numbering began. Scrotum 1 was now officially the first submission in the Portal. Ross also created the Grounds Gold system. This was also the beginning of the modern voting system, in which voters could "protect" or "blam" submissions. Tom dropped college to make Newgrounds his full-time job. A navigation bar was also added this year. The now defunct chat room and still active BBS were created. Wade Fulp was hired by Tom to run the site's day to day activities. Many future Newgrounds staff, including Stamper and Luis, submitted their first flash this year.

2001 Edit

B

The flash that created the Clock Crew

In February, the All Your Base phenomenon took off, becoming the biggest Newgrounds viral yet. On February 22, the modern BBS was created, and has been operating ever since[2]. On April 19, 2001 the first front page icon for a user-submitted Flash game was posted under the heading "Tom and Wade Recommend:". The game that was posted was Taipan 3000 by PsychoGoldfish, a remake of a popular Apple II game, "Taipan." On August 15, B, an extremely low-quality flash, was submitted, and would spark the creation of the Clock Crew. Users responded to September 11 with a multitude of submissions, including "Kill Osama" games, tributes to the victims like "Floor:83", and parodies of the events that would eventually lead to the creation of the "Bastards" Collection, which hosted work that made fun of the difficulties of others.[3] Newgrounds would receive national media attention from multiple news stations like CNN, New York Times, ect.[4]  [5]

2002 Edit

Madness Combat

Madness Combat was in many ways the spiritual successor to early stick-men action movies.

Newgrounds was in a financially bad state at the start of the year, growth was stagnant, and Ross left the Newgrounds staff. A new Pico animation was added for voting, but was removed on October 4. In April, several controversial submissions entered the portal, including Hentai Simgirls, the most viewed submission in Newgrounds history and KABOOM, which garnered press attention.[6] On June 6, the highly popular LegendaryFrog submitted his first two movies: "Legend of ZELDA! Video" and "One Ring to Rule Them All." July featured the original Madness Combat by Krinkels, and on August 7, Tom Fulp and Dan Paladin submitted Alien Hominid, the game that would lead to the creation of The Behemoth. Tom Fulp contacted his friend James, and James was eventually given access to the Newgrounds servers. By the end of the year, the site had been optimized. Tom Fulp collaborated with Dan Paladin and ROG to make Chainsaw the Children and Domo Kuhn's Angry Smashfest, which were submitted in December. The whistle system was also introduced in December, as well as a multi-author system on the 13th.

2003 Edit

Badger

Badger began a following for TheWeebl that has never died since.

illwillpress submitted his first animation, Shower of Terror, on January 6, beginning the long running Neurotically Yours series. The Audio Portal was launched in February to feature independent musicians and provide flash animators with free music for their games and movies. Tom Fulp took direct control of advertising and the servers in March and April respectively, dramatically reducing site costs while allowing for him to choose who he had advertising on Newgrounds. The Lock Legion submitted their first flash on May 24, and went on to become the second Flash crew recognized by Newgrounds . The multi-author system was also instated in April, allowing collaborations to become a permanent part of Newgrounds. TheWeebl submitted Badger in September, starting a following that continues to this day. On November 1st, the servers were moved from New York to Philadelphia.

2004 Edit

Numa Numa

Numa Numa Dance was one of Newgrounds's- and the world's- biggest viral hits.

On January 12, the front page archive was launched, keeping a list of all flash ever deemed worthy for the front page. ultimate flash sonic was submitted on February 21, and marked "a modern pinnacle in Flash game design." The Star Syndicate, who's User is Newgrounds's biggest uploader, got started in April. Adam Phillips released his first Brackenwood submission, "Bitey of Brackenwood," on March 29. April 10 marks the day that There She Is, one of the top rating series on Newgrounds, debuted. Final Fantasy A+, the most voted on submission in Newgrounds history, was submitted on April 23. LiveCorpse, an already notable User, committed a highly disturbing suicide in June. In July, two Newgrounds icons, Salad Fingers and Magical Trevor, made their debut. On December 6, Gary Brolsma first submitted "Numa Numa Dance," which went on to become one of Newgrounds's most viewed submissions and an internet-wide viral phenomenon. By the end of the year, Newgrounds was consuming 500mbps of bandwidth.

2005 Edit

Ultimate Showdown

Some of the "Good Guys, Bad Guys, and Explosions" from The Ultimate Showdown.

2005 was a year of economic growth for Newgrounds. February was the first month in which Newgrounds offered cash awards for top-rated submissions. Kitten Cannon!, released on March 30, created the Toss genre on Newgrounds. On May 9, the highly popular Newgrounds Sim was submitted by Afro-Ninja. Dad n' Me, the first flash collaboration between Tom Fulp and Dan Paladin since Alien Hominid, was submitted July 27th, and went on to win the Best Web Game award at the 2006 Independent Games Festival. The Glock Group was also created this month, and the Barney Bunch would be formed on August 25. The-Swain, the top rated artist on Newgrounds, submitted his first movie, Blockhead: Episode 1, on September 25. In October, Newgrounds finally got an office in Glenside, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. Charlie the Unicorn, which would later become a YouTube phenomenon, came out November 26. On December 22, The Ultimate Showdown was submitted, and became the most popular movie of 2005.

2006 Edit

Metal Gear Awesome

For many Newgrounders, Metal Gear Awesome is the definitive video game parody.

Early in the year, Newgrounds replaced the old Tank logo with a newer, more streamlined version. On February 23, Egoraptor submitted Metal Gear Awesome,which would be highly influential for later video game parodies. March 14 marked the day Fancy pants Adventures, the definitive Flash Platformer, entered the Portal. The very next day, Shurlock RPG, which would eventually be featured on the official World of Warcraft website, was submitted. April 30 was the first Pico Day, which has since become a major holiday on Newgrounds. Animator vs. Animation premiered on June 3, while JohnnyUtah submitted his first movie as a staff member, Tankmen, on the 30th. Although Phoenix Wrong did not receive any awards when it came out on July 29, it was parodied and paid tribute to in a wide variety of movies, most notably LR: Phoenix Wrong by Little-Rena. The notorious Kitty Krew was founded by BigFuzzyKitten and co. on August 17. In September, a number of movies were made about Steve Irwin's death, either as tributes or as parodies.

2007 Edit

Jerry

Jerry featured a style rarely seen on Newgrounds.

The first Newgrounds Art Forum collaboration, "The Red Line," was posted on January 4. Radiogrounds was created April 3. On May 29, Newgrounds Rumble was submitted, and would go on to win the first Tank Awards. Jerry was submitted on June 21, introducing a critically acclaimed series by HotDiggedyDemon that concluded in 2009. On July 16, the site was Redesigned, with updated portals, collections, forums, and a new front page. Personal pages were now also available. September 22 marked the first Madness Day. In October, Newgrounds temporarily switched to a pink header for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Portal: The Flash Version made a splash on October 9, winning multiple awards and gathering widespread attention[7]. On November 5, Adam Phillips submitted Waterlollies, the other Tank Award winning flash that year. The first Tank Awards were announced December 17, and have since been an annual event.

2008 Edit

Walk in the Woods

Walk in the Woods was the first movie on Newgrounds to feature a fullscreen option.

FPA: World 2 was released on January 17, and would win the Tank Award for best game of 2008. Walk in the Woods by TheWeebl was the first movie with a fullscreen option, which has since become a fairly common option. Chuck's New Tux! by HappyHarry was submitted May 14, and would ultimately win the Tank Award. After the Virginia Tech shootings, several games received negative media attention for an insensitive portrayal of the events, especially V-tech Rampage. MGS: Flash Collab was released in two parts, on July 5 and September 19. Together, they are the most extensive Newgrounds collaboration to date. On August 19, the official Newgrounds store was opened. Meat Boy, which was submitted on October 5, was so well received, that a downloadable sequel for WiiWare, Windows, XBox Live Arcade, and the Mac is due to be released October 2010, much like Alien Hominid before it.[8].

2009 Edit

Toss the Turtle

Toss the Turtle raised the bar for "Toss" games.

The popular Nintendo collab $00pah NiN10Doh! was submitted on January 3. On February 26, Portal Defenders, the first game to use Newgrounds Medals, was submitted. On March 17, Thomas Briggs, aka Sirtom93, threatened to burn his school down on the BBS, leading to his arrest. The Flash Portal was redesigned on May 27, switching to a wide layout. The traditional option is still available. On June 18, the Art Portal was launched. Unlike the Flash Portal, it uses a Scouting system in order to maintain a high level of quality. It was vandalized by a spam group on September 6, but the damage was soon repaired. Meanwhile, on August 23, James Lee submitted Tarboy, which would win a Tank Award. The composer for Tarboy, hania, would win the Musician of the Year Award. Time Fcuk was submitted on September 16, and went on to win several awards outside of Newgrounds[9][10]. In October, the "Balloon Boy" incident led to the creation of several parody games.[11] At the end of November, titch007uk submitted Level Up!, which would go on to become the game of the year. Snow Snow For Lucy came out on Christmas Eve, raising the technical bar for flash animation.

2010 Edit

Mariocrossover

Super Mario Crossover received a fairly large amount of attention from gamers outside of the Newgrounds community.

On January 4, Tom Fulp announced that Newgrounds had hired Luis. Later, on the 18th, he leaked that work was underway for a Lit forum and portal.[12] The Dumping Grounds was also created. Tom Fulp continued to make news when he announced "Castle Crashing for Charity," in which The Behemoth would donate double the cost of all revenue to Haiti, which was recovering from a devastating earthquake at the time.[13] A total of $50,000 was donated.[14] On March 11, the Newgrounds Wiki was announced. It is a closed wiki, which only a few people could edit, and was meant to replace the various History and FAQ sections on Newgrounds.[15] On April 27, just a few days before Pico Day, Super Mario Crossover was submitted, and became possibly the best received game on Newgrounds of 2010. Within days, the game reached a million views.

Meanwhile, work began on the next major redesign of Newgrounds, when Tom Fulp requested Authors to add 140X90 thumbnails for their Flash movies and games.[16] July 10 was the first Robot Day, and despite a minor controversy concerning a hacker, was a sucess.[17][18] On August 4, the website was disconnected for a few minutes while the Bandwidth was upgraded from 2gbps to 10gbps. Later that month, pimp became the first user to ever reach Level 60 and Time ranked Newgrounds as one of the Top 50 websites of 2010.[19][20] In addition to being a critical hit on Newgrounds, Tom Fulp's and JohnnyUtah's The Room Tribute, a point and click adventure game inspired by the cult classic film "The Room," was reported upon by a variety of websites, which had generally good reactions to the game.[21][22][23] In November, Clickteam released a free version of their program The Games Factory 2 on Newgrounds, allowing Newgrounds users with little to no Flash experience to create Flash games for Newgrounds. This led directly to the creation of the BBS's 20th Forum, specifically made for the program's users.[24]

2011Edit

MvC

The release of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 spawned a number of fan tributes from some of the biggest names on Newgrounds.

Early in 2011, Newgrounds acquired the "newgrounds" account name on YouTube.[25] The release of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was met with a number of fan tributes from some of the most notable authors on Newgrounds, including many staff members. JohnnyUtah and redminus in particular were successful, both earning Review Crew Picks and other awards. On April 30, Pico Day and the Tank Awards ceremony took place simultaneously, making it possibly the most eventful day so far in 2011.

The death of Osama bin Laden just one day later ushered in a renaissance of the War on Terror games that had been popular in 2001. One game, Osama's Revenge, gained over a hundred thousand views in under two weeks. Another game, MUJAHEDIN which happened to feature bin Laden and was only completed after his death, was similarly popular. These games brought a wave of media of attention upon Newgrounds once again. It was noted that similar games had been made nearly a decade earlier. [26][27][28] Dozens of threads related to his death appeared on the BBS, including one that quickly gained hundreds of responses and over ten thousand views.[29] Tom Fulp made a front page news post about the significance of the death in Newgrounds history. Tom said "The death of Bin Laden feels like a transition point in our history and I hope that 100 years from now, people will browse the archives of NG and say 'Man, those were crazy times back then.'"[30]

Sandvich

Would you believe this video is about ponies?

Meanwhile, new trends from popular internet culture became apparent on Newgrounds. Games like Minecraft and Skyrim got their own collections, as did memes like Nyan Cat.[31][32][33] Games like Skincraft allowed people to customize their games, while popular parodies such as Derpcraft and Minecraft Pals had many hundreds of thousands of views and various awards. Nyan Caxx was the October monthly winner for movies, pushing the Nyan Cat phenomenon to the forefront of Newgrounds. The My Little Pony series also made various appearances in popular movies and games. Friendship is Magic Bitch was a monthly winner in August, Story of the Blanks inspired hordes of Pony fans to make their own tributes to the retro horror game, and The Question combined a song from the show with Team Fortress inspired animation to win the second best movie of September, despite competition from Madness Day.[34][35]

2012 Edit

Redesign Countdown

The redesign cometh.

On January 11, the countdown for the Newgrounds redesign appeared on the front page. It stated that the redesign would go live February 6 at 10:00 AM EST. After the website was offline for a day and a half, the new Newgrounds was born.

However, early 2012 was also a time of tragedy on Newgrounds. Randy Solem, an innovator in the history of Sprite movies, died in March.[36] Just days later, it was reported that Edd Gould had died of cancer, just days after becoming an official Tank Award nominee. [37] A few weeks later, Sherbert, the official cat mascot of Newgrounds, also died.[38]

Pico Day was unusually quiet in 2012, with a relative handful of submissions.[39] A series called Newgrounds: The Forsaken City was Kickstarted and was featured on the front page multiple times, but ultimately failed to get the necessary funding by its June 19th due date.[40]

In September, Tom Fulp announced the Supporter Upgrade program. Essentially, in order to keep up with the costs of running Newgrounds, users would now have the opportunity to pay to view the site without advertisements for a year. Also 38 million cocks invaded the site thus making it the gayest website in the whole of the interwebs[41]

Links Edit

Official History

Flash Portal History

Wikipedia Article

Portal Stats

Newgrounds Rankings

Newgrounds Archive Site

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