The ‘Space Jam’ Website: Untouched Since 1996
About twice a year, I will suddenly be reminded of how completely insane it is that Space Jam — a major motion picture in which aliens come to earth and threaten to enslave the human race unless Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny and Bill Friggin’ Murray team up to beat them in a game of basketball — is a thing that actually exists. And today, that reminder came in the form of Twitter user @SteveLambert, who informed the Internet that not only is the official website for the movie still up and running at WarnerBros.com…
…but it has been completely untouched since 1996.’96 was the year I first got Internet Access, which makes the Space Jam site a nostalgia bomb that drops me right back into the days of surfing the information superhighway on a dial-up connection at 28.8 KBPS. It’s a perfect storm of early Internet design elements, including frames, tables, awesomely garish animated gifs…
…and of course, the ol’ standby of bright red Times New Roman text on a black-and-white background of stars:
But as much as this looks like any random Ultimate Hootie & The Blowfish Shrine, keep in mind that this wasn’t a fan-created page on GeoCities or Angelfire. This was a professionally created site put up by a major movie studio to promote one of their biggest releases of the year.
Promotion that involved offering high-resolution photos:
Up to the minute movie news:
And of course, the jamminest downloads:
For younger readers, there was a time when 7.5 MB was considered a pretty huge file that would take an entire evening — as measured in games of Minesweeper and Solitaire — and not just the average size of the pictures you can take with your phone.
Also, “it’s 7 and a half megs, it’s Quicktime, and it’s worth it” was quite possibly the best possible pick-up line for computer programmers in the mid-’90s.
Considering that the explosion of attention is likely getting the Space Jam site more hits today than it’s gotten in the past 14 years combined, it’s only a matter of time before someone at Warner Bros. notices that this artifact of Web 1.0 is still lingering. But while it might be tempting to take it down — especially in the face of 21st Century Internet loudmouths making fun of it for being exactly like the rest of the web was at the time — I sincerely hope they resist the urge. This is a genuine (and genuinely garish) piece of Internet history, and it should be left preserved, so that future generations can better understand that dim and distant time when wild ball-eating Mr. Ts roamed the web, their dominance only challenged only by rotating wireframe skulls.