I'd intended to write this post a year ago but I didn't really know what to say as I didn't know exactly what I felt about this milestone. I still don't but I'm hoping that sufficient quantities of gin will loosen my tongue. This is my drunk text to Newgrounds. Unfortunately, this also means that I will be prone to all manner of spelling error, flowery language, hyperbole and quotes from Sylvia Plaith's "Ennui". For that, and so many other things, I apologise in advance, both sincerely and profusely. Alas, I will also use too many fuickin commas.
I recently stumbled across a cache of old images from the Dark Ages of the Internet, when forums couldn't handle file uploads (bandwidth was expensive) and images had to be stored remotely (e.g. on PhotoBucket). While the images in question were for EmuAsylum, rather than NG, it reminded me of the post I'd intended to write all those months ago.
If you're reading this then I'm assuming I've either become active again through a staggering wave of nostalgia for my formative years or we had a personal connection and, like me, you have returned to your old stomping grounds in a vain attempt to check in on the people you once held so dear.
You have probably deduced by now that I haven't been on Newgrounds in some years. The "why" is a hard question to answer, largely because I don't actually know the answer. I'll save that for later. For now, let me indulge myself by giving you a little history lesson.
I joined Newgrounds at the age of 15. This is a problem. 15 Year Old Jake was an opinionated arsehole. You know the type: militant atheist, amateur physicist, smarter than all the politicians, in my own opinion probably the only non-virgin on this site. I ticked all the precocious-teen boxees. Looking back on my early forum posts is a source of much embarrassment.
It wasn't until about 3 years later that I had any meaningful interaction with anyone on the site. Through an improved quality of forum post, a talent for photoshopping and an artistic flair I found myself of comfortably middling popularity. I had a few good friends, whom I would talk to regularly and a lot of vague acquaintances, who would drop in to comment on my news posts regularly, though I would never get to know them well enough to label them a friend.
It was also around this time that I actually started contributing to the site. A handful of mediocre songs. A throwaway movie or two. When the Art Portal arrived, I gleefully uploaded a back-catalogue of oil paintings, pastel drawings and computer-composed sketches. Most of these have now been deleted. Partly because of a belief that anything you create is a deeply-personal and identifiable piece of infornmation (which I was no longer comfortable sharing) and partly because they each conveyed an idea, an opinion or a piece of myself that was no longer relevant.
I think I've been talking about myself too much, so let's talk about Newgrounds for a minute.
At our peak we were the greatest community of creators in the world. Every popular animation or flash game on the web originated here. You can still see Newgrounds-originated memes turning up on Facebook & Twitternow (I saw Dickneck a week ago). This was well before the days of YouTube, ad revenue, CPM and analytics-driven content. We were the purest forms of art, creating for the sake of creating. A lot of the current "New Media" celebrities belong to us. GameGrumps? That's us. NerdCubed? One of us. Shit, we even had Soulja Boy at the peak of his popularity.
My train of thought has derailed.
I promised you Sylvia Plaith.
The peak of my activity on Newgrounds was in the trough of my life. I'll spare you the self-indulgent whining about how desperately hard life is. Suffice to say that I wasn't always the happy-go-lucky scamp you see before you. Long story short: dropped out of school, fell out with family, got some jobs.
Unfortunately, it was all uphill from there. The happier I became with my life the further I drifted from Newgrounds.
My NG friends started drifting too. The 10-times-dailly messages fell to once-dailly, Then weekly. I still don't know when or why I stopped coming here. I had hoped that, by the end of this post, I would remember. I guess, after a certain point you... I...I just don't fucking know.
I have now drank a litre of gin.
No, that looks weird.
My living room has 7 paintings in it. Only one of those has any real meaning, and it's taking the piss out of the design choices of my 16 year old self. I haven't written any songs since I was 17. I only animate when my boss lets me and only when clients have paid for it. Life is fucking terrible. Never grow up. Never take responsibility. Never get a 9 to 5. Jobs in the creative industry require you to be creative on a fucking schedule. This is fucking impossible.
Wait, shit, no, this wasn't supposed to be a motivational speech. Or a demoralising one, for that matter.
I had nothing left to offer Newgrounds. For a long time, Newgrounds offered nothing new to me any more.
I'd seen all the posts that I would see.
- Dickneck had a dick neck.
- Sirtom tried to burn his school down and RIg was literally a hero.
- Poozy received origami, which Wwyyzzerd(?) and I reposnded to with nudes and shisha.
- Cookies and I spread the love, like butter over waffles.
- Fab was a thing.
- Wade posted photos sometimes.
The portal started to flood with creatively-bankrupt, throwaway games from soulless content factories like King. Truly great movies were few and far between. There were no new ideas. No innovation, pushing the limits of flash. The tits in the Meet 'n' Fuck games started getting way too big.
Contrary to popular belief, It doesn't fade to black, it congeals into a grey blob.
Tea leaves thwart those who court catastrophe,
designing futures where nothing will occur:
cross the gypsy’s palm and yawning she
will still predict no perils left to conquer.
I fucking promised you some Sylvia Plaith.
At this stage I really have nothing left to say. Thanks to all the wonderful folks of Newgrounds for all the great times over the years.
Proottalfain, if you are reading this: I have been and always will be your friend. I hope you are doing well. (that sounded really poignant in my head but I've just realised I nicked it from fuckin Star Trek)
I love you all.
In a platonic way.
Don't get weird.