Links And Lols with Louise + Dave P

Links and Lols is a conversation series in which Louise, my fellow editor, and I deconstruct the very finest parts of the Internet. Enjoy. 

DAVE P: The Internet is a weird and wonderful place. Many of us forget the early days, the days before YouTube and Facebook, when websites were just simple splash pages with no rich media. One of the gems, the lasting visages of the old Internet, is the Space Jam website. Launched in 1996, this website is still live, and it is atrocious. In this edition of Links and Lols, Louise and I are going to discuss how bizarre this is. Louise, what’s your favorite part about the Space Jam website?

LOUISE: Dave, this website is pretty stellar. (Now I feel guilty for starting our new blog series off with such a corny pun). But, really…check out that star background.

This reminds me of the good ‘ole days when you just threw up a repeated background, stuck on some animated .gifs and called it a day. But, now we’re in the days of fancy-schmancy design and this site is sticking out like a sore thumb. My favorite part, you ask? Well, it’s a tight race, but I think this gem is my favorite. This one-second clip from the past confirms that, yes, those guys were nuts. What’s your fave, Dave?

DAVE P: You know, it’s really hard to choose. There are so many parts of this website that are completely and utterly mind-blowing. However, when it comes to pure absurdity, I think the “best” section of the entire site is Planet B Ball.

UGH, it’s so ugly! It’s sub-Geocities quality. When, in the history of design, as The NBA received so little pomp and circumstance? The link is floating text over a window! It’s total insanity.

I did a little research. Turns out, Reddit user Jeff Ubelhor found this website near the end of 2010.“I decided to post it on Reddit,” says Ubelhor “Because I thought it was hilarious, not only the design, but just how different Internet marketing was 14 years ago.”

LOUISE:  He’s right about how different we do things now compared to 14 years ago. This site has SOOO much information. There’s Production Notes, Downloadables and a (sadly) empty Pressbox. I wish I had been at the brainstorming meeting when this site was initially developed…”And we can have a coloring book!!!” I kind of love the site though. It’s hangin’ on and keepin’ it real.

Also, remember this?:

DAVE P: OF COURSE I remember that song. I actually kind of loved Space Jam when I was a kid, which may be why this website holds such a strong place in my heart.

It’s such a cluster of randomness, a perfect example of how the Internet worked before there was a culture backing it. A designer could put anything on a website, because there was no precedent to do anything else. Isn’t that extremely interesting to think about? When has there ever been such a new and undefined medium, that a designer could include such a sad coloring book?

The designer of the Space Jam site, Jen Braun, is still working today. In fact, she’s done dozens of websites for Warner Bros movies. In all honesty, this website could be a work of genius. 14 years old and we’re still talking about it? And, even better, there is absolutely no Flash animation on the page. That means it can still function perfectly on an iPhone’s browser.

LOUISE: Oh, that’s interesting, Dave! Looks like Jen has done some other classy work besides Space Jam. Like the site for Jack Frost, one of Michael Keaton’s greatest artistic accomplishments.

I think she can feel confident knowing that she’s made her mark on the world wide Internet and she’s given me a little, tiny, itty bitty piece of my childhood back. Thank you, Jen Braun, thank you!!

If you’d like to check out Louise’s blog, you can find it here. I think it goes with out saying, but Louise is hilarious.  


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