So I kinda took a trip down memory lane recently.
I remember being on mIRC a long time ago before ICQ became popular. However most of my time online was spent on visiting other people's websites especially those who had... CYBER PETS! Yes, we created personal websites and would "adopt" cyber pets, we even had our own little communities. I remember we used Geocities which was one of the most popular places to get a free website, other popular web hosting services were Angelfire and Fortunecity. I loved the concept at the time, it's like house hunting and choosing an address you like. For example, you could go to a Geocities "neighbourhood" like the Enchanted Forest, then a smaller suburb like "Tower", then choose a "lot" or "unit" that was empty.. and it was usually a four digit number.. so you'd end up with a URL like http://geocities.com/EnchantedForest/Tower/8819/
I also remember the editor was text based and not too user friendly. A few years after that they launched a WYSIWYG version of the editor. Can't recall if that happened during the Yahoo!Geocities era or before.
I really wish I had screenshots of my old websites but I think all my diskettes from that era have been thrown away and destroyed. :(
Anyway, I took a trip down memory lane when I random did a search for cyber pets to see if they still do that nowadays. The answer sadly is no since no one creates personal websites anymore. But I did see a lot of familiar cyber pets which I used to have as well and it brought back a lot of fond memories. :)
I'll start off with my fav during that time... Drigus! They were a mystical creature, part dragon, part tiger and part horse. Created by Silvanon, the adoption process was a lot more complex as there were genetic factors that may change the way your drigus would look. You would receive an egg, that after sometime would hatch and grow up to adulthood. The Silver Unicorn pretty much sums up what that era was like for cyber pets and personal websites, we used to write long intriguing stories and allowed visitors to "explore" the website as though they were reading a game book. We created our own little worlds online and for our pets to live in. And I think that was the beginning of UGC (User generated content) as people would create their own creatures/pets/etc to share with everyone else and we would spend hours and hours exploring the fantasy worlds created by each webmaster.
The following screenshots are from The Silver Unicorn (page doesn't exist anymore), the creator's website can be found at: http://www.silvanon.com/
Our pets were not just pets, they had personalities and back stories which we would elaborately craft for them.
Adopters would usually display their pets this way and create a "home" for them on their personal websites.
A lot of the graphics of that time were kinda like pixel art. Either that or hand drawn and scanned into the PC.
Ahh, guestbooks, how I miss you. :)
Dixieland Dragons were also very popular, they had griffons as well.
Unicorn hatchings, animated gifs.
More unicorns! :)
Senoch were a very popular breed of pets, they even had their own community - The Senoch Circle
Adopt a fluff! There were also dustbunnies you could adopt.
The Hedge Hogs were very very cute animated gifs. From BillyBearsKids.com, back when they actively had these type of adoptable cyber pets.
Yes, you could adopt a lollipop.. and CandyLand Lollipops were pretty popular back then. haha.
And yes, we sometimes even created a whole house/room/garden for our pets! :)
Most adoptable cyberpets were simple static images, at most an animated gif. The only things you could customize were prolly the colours, sex, age. Pets like the Drigus were one of those 100% custom made ones and very hard to obtain. Fun fact: At the time I had permission from Silvanon to create my own little adoption page and adopt out Drigus that I created. :) So yes, lil ol' me at the time actually drew and scanned Drigetti to be adopted by others. hahaha. Of course I wasn't very good at it, as seen in the sample below:
HAHAHA. Yes, as you can see, scanned and coloured in digitally (I think it was a very early version of Photoshop). Found this from one of the links above. I recognized it instantly. I think this was still the early stages, I remember later on getting better at digital colouring (and learnt how to use and abuse the burn+dodge tool). Fun times. :)
So that was my trip down memory lane, I really miss those times. If I'm not mistaken, this all happened around 1997-1999 and I was still in primary school at the time. Of course, I graduated from these to Neopets but that was sometime in 2000 and above I think. :)