Gizmodo has a rare interview with the founder of You’re the Man Now Dog (YTMND), a once-bustling collection of meme .gifs fused together with sound bites and purposefully dreadful pop-out text.
That’s it. That’s all the site was about. As the article’s top-rated comment points out, “I never understood YTMND, and after reading this, I realize that there was nothing to really understand.”
Not much comes out of YTMND these days except for death rattles: It was rendered obsolete long ago by the rise of social media and the demise of Flash. But when you look at a pile of dinosaur bones, you’re forced to think about how they once belonged to a behemoth that made a hell of an impression somewhere, sometime. So it is with YTMND, which is still a context-free (and therefore slightly baffling) archive of a very specific time in gaming history.
When YTMND was at its peak in 2004 through 2006, YouTube was in its infancy. Half-Life 2 was red-hot, even though the kids weren’t big on this “Steam” thing Valve was dishing up. And the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube were winding down while Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo began showing the world what they had planned for the next generation.
Open your web browsers to YTMND, class, and let’s sum up some of the game industry’s key triumphs and fuck-ups with tiled .gifs and Flash-based audio. Remember to press the “Play” button when it pops up. Otherwise, you won’t get any sound. This is the world we live in.
– The PSP came out, and it had a premature ejection problem. It also had a commercial with music by Franz Ferdinand, which YTMND leapt on gladly.
Sony’s name was mud through the mid-aughts. Much of its humiliation was self-inflicted, though I expect YTMND’s memes had a big hand in encouraging us all to stop and stare at Kaz Hirai’s pants puddled around his ankles.
– Meanwhile, Nintendo’s “Revolution” was sparking a lot of conversation thanks to its innovative controller. Which Sony tried to emulate with the DualShock 3, and got called out on (especially since the company had already been forced to slink back to the drawing board after the “Boomerang” controller was mocked into oblivion).
– But hey – consoles, right? Who needs ‘em. It’s all about PC, even though this “digital distribution” thing will never catch on. And even if it does, Valve will never have a monopoly on the distribution platform. Steam is so shitty, so slow. Right, Ronald McDonald?
– Even in 2005, Valve fans had their suspicions about why Gaben is so slow to release new games. Note from the future: Sit tight. It don’t get no better.
– RIP EA-Valve, 1996 – 2005. ;_;
– Well Valve’s dead, but at least G-Man is Having a Wonderful Time.
– YTMND’s special brand of whatever it was dishing out wasn’t restricted to consoles, though. 2005 – 2006 also marked the North American debut of the Phoenix Wright series, and these gay lawyers totally blew our tiny minds. Visual novels / adventure games of such an unorthodox nature weren’t common outside the PC market, so everything about Phoenix Wright made an impression on us. Even its music. Which, interestingly, served as a base for a shitload of remixes.
Wow, I could probably spend weeks picking apart YTMND and chronicling how every joke, every meme was truly a product of an Internet on the cusp of upheaval. As it is, though, my brain’s ready to slide out of my ear and bounce across the floor.
So if we’re truly destined to part ways with this primitive menagerie of Internet humour, I guess I’ll just say thanks, YTMND. Thanks for preserving a valuable part of the past for a time, even though it was 100% never your intention to do anything momentous or worthwhile.