Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Good Things WebTV Had

It's a dinosaur now. Browsing the web with a 56k modem sounds... abominable, impossible, even. However, there were some things you had to love about the box. In a moment of nostalgia, I thought I'd sing a few praises:

Music: WebTV had some excellent midi files. I loved its renditions of classical music. The rendition of Mozart's Symphony #40 was mindblowing. Other good tunes like the Flight of the Bumble Bee and stuff I can't remember rocked too.

Email Beep: Compare WebTV's email beep to the AoL 'You've got... poor voice synthesis' of the era. WebTV will win every time. Of course, I'm predisposed to loves of all clicks, beeps, scratches, and things of that sort. I think they have a rhythm.

The Culture: The biggest credit WebTV had was its community. All online communities say, but with WebTV it was actually true. Microsoft wasn't really developing anything for it (though they did provide frequent updates even late into its Classic/Plus life cycle), and most major websites you might try to visit (notably Yahoo! Games) wouldn't support the box. Seeing this, many users built JavaScript and Flash games (though the latter was probably done on a PC :( ), uploaded midis, stockpiled vast collections of images, and brought content to the box.

I'll go on: I rather liked to browse the homepages of WebTV-folk back in the day. There was a lot of personality on I made some friends that I still keep in touch with. But anyway... all glory to the box!

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