How it all began
On a dark and sunny day in 1869…no, let me start again. On a sunny day in the year 1997 a young lad in a little country called Denmark, got his very own connection to the infamous Internet at home.
This young lad wanted to somehow contribute to this exiting new accessible medium, but in what way he did not know. He pondered about it for a few days and thought "I like Monkey Island, so why not do a website about that?" and that lad (dramatic pause) was me.
I then had to come up with a name, which took a few more days. (Yes, I gave it a lot of thought.) I finally decided upon "The World of Monkey Island", which reflected my plan to have a lot of info and content on the site.
The easy part was over and now came the hard part: The actual design and programming of the website. I had as much knowledge of HTML and design as the Dodo had of survival. As a result of this I took the easiest road and started using Microsoft FrontPage.
The site launched on 20th October 1997 with as little content as any website has ever had. It had no regular updates or even a news section, but it had a bit of info about "The Curse of Monkey Island", which were released around that time. The URL were the short and easy-to-remember http://users.cybercity.dk/~bcr5079/monkey/monkey.html I sure hope people book marked it.
It also had downloads, walkthroughs and other such basic content. I had special names for the sections; walkthroughs was "LeChuck's Fortress", downloads was "The Cemetery", and so forth. I thought that was really cool at the time…
A small change
Only a month and a day went by until I gave the site a small facelift. I had learned a bit (a tiny bit) more about designing websites and wanted to put it to use.
I didn't invest much time in the site; it was just a fun little hobby, which got a few daily hits. I'm not sure when, but sometime during the first year of the site I redesigned it again to look a little better. It now had a better menu of the different sections and they had been renamed to proper titles. A news column was also added so people could be notified of updates and in February of 1998 I got the forwarding shortcut www.travel.to/monkey, which were much easier to remember. The monthly newsletter also started around this time.
Frames take over
The first birthday of the websites approached and I decided another redesign was in order. Frames was the big thing back then, so after having a poll on the site where 66% was in favor of frames, version 4 of The World of Monkey Island was revealed on the 20th of October 1998. The site became increasingly more popular and I spent much of my free time on it; keeping it updated and adding new sections. Rumors of another Monkey Island game being in development flourished rapidly and The World of Monkey Island was one of the main sources for rumors and news about Monkey Island 4.
Moving to a new place
Another anniversary approached and it was time for yet another redesign. Frames were clearly not the way to go as they were completely out of style. I had been offered hosting by adventuregamer.com (now adventuregamerS.com), which gave me more freedom by providing more space and support for various scripts. WMI had never had much graphic since I was horrible at that and mostly used images from the games to give life to the site, but Iris Dragt offered to draw the new design. On October 20th 1999 version 5 of the site appeared on the new location at mi.adventuregamers.com and it now also had a forum.
I was pretty happy with that design. Small things changed on the main page, but the basic design stayed the same. The site was very big now and had a lot of daily visitors. In April of 2000 GameSpot confirmed Monkey Island 4 when they showed the first picture from the game. I was of course on vacation when this happened and were days late with updating the news…
On November 7th, 2000 I embraced the first of many scripts to come. It was Newspro and it made updating news a lot easier for me. I was still the only person working on the site. Except for the design I had done everything myself, and apart from the news it was all still done by hand in FrontPage. Due to this, updating the growing number of sections became a lot of work and I finally decided to ask for some help.
A Dutch countryman by the name of Paco Vink was one of the people who answered by plea for assistance and he was hired to handle all screenshots needed for the site. Paco and I became good friends and after a few months he also began to draw some custom art for the site. I was as happy about this as a turkey is of being alive on the day after Thanksgiving. Finally there would be some exclusive drawings on the site and not just images from the games cut in funny shapes.
In March 2001 I got my own domain name. After years of dealing with long URLs and cryptic shortcuts I finally decided to buy www.worldofmi.com. I'm sure a lot of people found this pleasing and the daily hate mail ceased to arrive around this time*
The two palm trees
After planning and discussing it for a few months, a completely new layout was revealed in April. The new design was version 6 and was completely designed and drawn by Paco. (I sent out encouraging and positive thoughts to support Paco.) April 2001 was also the month when the popular Worldofmi email service launched which has over 800 users today.
In June we had to leave our host adventuregamer.com as they were having a lot of problems with their own host. Fortunately, mixnmojo.com was kind enough to take us under their wings and give us a new home. The move also resulted in some new forums being added, which are those the site still uses today.
However, new problems arose only a few months later as mixnmojo.com was to change servers in the beginning of September. The downtime was supposed to last a few days, but four months later we were still down. Small versions of several mixnmojo.com-hosted sites appeared around the net and "The Tiny World of Monkey Island" was one of them".
On December the 27th 2001, the network rose from the ashes and began a long rebuilding period. WMI opened with a slightly modified design that now had a background color - something many people had asked for. I had also finally decided to kick Microsoft Frontpage to the curve and began writing HTML by hand. Along with this I started learning PHP, which enabled me to make my own scripts and that made things SO much easier. This was also the start of all the interactive features on WMI.
Fifth year anniversary
October 20th, 2002 was the five year anniversary of The World of Monkey Island. We celebrated that by having a new feature each day in the following week. I had never imagined that the site would live so long, but then again, when I started the site it was just a fun little project and I had no future plans for it. The sections on the site had grown enormously over the years and continue to do so and we have many great ideas for new features and additions. I would like to thank the visitors for their continued support and help, which has motivated me to keep WMI alive all these years.
In the beginning of July 2002 we once again experienced some downtime. A ****** ***** hacked our network and an incompetent system administrator then accomplished to delete the entire harddrive AND the back-up. WMI were down until August 24th because we were hoping a recovery facility could recover some of our important files from the harddrive. Unfortunatly, they were unsuccesful.
Luckily we had local backup of most of the sites, so we could reopen with almost everything. The fan art, fan comic, and fan music section had lost some files, but most were recovered with the help of the visitors before they went back online. The forums were rolled back to their state in February and the article section was completely lost.
Six years old
On October 20th, 2003 WMI turned six years old and that was celebrated by revealing a completely new design for the site. Not only that, but users were able to change the design in their options and select one they like best. We also intruduced a brand new email system where all email are sent via the site. We did this to remove all email addresses from the site in the hopes that it would reduce some of the spam. Apart from the new design (which took over six months to complete) a lot of new features were also added, like the ability to post comments or reviews on all fan creations.
October 20th, 2004 was the seventh birthday of WMI and to celebrate we revealed five new pages of Paco's MI1 comic. WMI turned six years old and that was celebrated by revealing a completely new design for the site. Not only that, but users were able to change the design in their options and select one they like best. We also intruduced a brand new email system where all email are sent via the site. We did this to remove all email addresses from the site in the hopes that it would reduce some of the spam. Apart from the new design (which took over six months to complete) a lot of new features were also added, like the ability to post comments or reviews on all fan creations.
* Hate mail is fictional. It was only added for dramatic and comical effect.