February 1: Now sharing a dorm room with Matthew Preston again, Matthew is inspired by Scott's web silliness to create a game on his site: He would post a photo of a celebrity's high school yearbook photo with a hint to their identity, and ask players to guess who it is. Scott wins the contest but can't resist teasing Matthew with a parody version featuring their own friend Jason Fedorow in the photo. It wouldn't take Scott long to realize that there was much more potential in stealing Matthew's concept than mocking it, and with Matthew's blessing, he began work on a different game involving recognizing celebrity photos.
February 23: With Matthew standing by as he publishes, Scott launches Scott's Celebrity Goo Game, a weekly contest in which Scott distorts a celebrity's face with Matthew's copy of art program Kai's Power Goo, writes a clue hinting at their identity, and asks friends to guess who it is. Matthew picks the first category, Music, and so Scott leads with rapper LL Cool J as the first celebrity. The game suffers some bizarre clues and choices of celebrities until Scott gets the hang of it, but it's popular with his friends right out of the gate. Within the first month, there are guesses from Matthew, Jason Fedorow, Kelly Lee, a man living across the hall in the same dorm named Dave Mitzman, and a woman Scott meets that month through online personals named Denise Sawicki. When Matthew wins the game a few months later, Scott decides to keep it going with an unplanned "Round Two;" he then renames it The Celebrity Goo Game and finally drops The.
February 27: For the first anniversary of The Island at the End of the World RPG, which has become very popular among the circle of friends playing it, Scott organizes The Weekend at the End of the World, a chance to hang out and play the game in person. Space is cramped in the college dorm room, but Matthew Preston, Jason Fedorow, Ryan Orsucci, and Erik Nelson have a blast anyway. Colorful ribbons are awarded to each player, along with surprise gifts to keep as souvenirs. The party would prove so popular that it was repeated three more times over the next three years. Many of the concepts were reused in GooCon ten years later.
February 28: One of the surprise gifts given to guests at the first weekend party is a soundtrack album created just for the event: Rock songs by favorite bands of Scott and the players, most of them with a heroic or fantasy theme to the lyrics. A similar soundtrack is given out in 1999. At the third party in 2000, Matthew Preston surprises everyone by distributing his own soundtrack: Unlike Scott, who had borrowed existing songs, Matthew has actually composed an original song for every main character in the game using software on his computer, and recorded skits with his own voice. The album remains a fondly-remembered keepsake for years. When Scott creates GooCon a decade later, the first year's grand prize in Rock Block is a homemade collection of 500 great rock songs on CD. In subsequent years, a Pandora station seeded with every performer in Rock Block entertains GooCon guests as background music.
March 24: Scott had broken up with high school sweetheart Kelly Lee early in college, and except for brief reunions they went their separate ways for two years. With his Island RPG in need of another reliable player to keep it going, Scott contacts his old girlfriend at her nearby college and finds her receptive to playing. Her gameplay as psionic Quinn Alexand keeps them in touch daily, and within two months they are a couple again, staying that way through numerous moves, shared experiences, living together, getting engaged, graduating from college, and finally breaking up late in 2002. Although the relationship ultimately ends, Scott credits his web game for giving him a five-year love affair that changed his life. Kelly's presence on the site not only gives the RPG a huge shot in the arm, but influences for the better numerous later sections including a nascent discussion forum in 2001.
April 13: Numerous goo-game traditions begin in the first round, such as the gooing of popular rock-band frontmen like Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder and the incongruous use of historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci that defy what one first thinks of as a "celebrity," but no trend inspires such a happy tradition as the Don King goo. In a silly mood when he writes the clue, Scott ends it with the phrase "Who's the king?" Matthew rightfully mocks the obviousness of the hint so much that a similar king goo appears in every round of the game thereafter. A decade later, one would expect the game to run out of celebrities named King, but Scott has over fifty king goos saved up and ready for eventual publication.
May 18: Fed up with the gimmicky junk cluttering his home on the web, Scott's fourth version of his home page gets right down to business: it's all text on a plain background, as simple a design as he has ever created. This time the focus is on content where it belongs, with a renewed Celebrity Goo Game, an expanded Metallica fan page, and lots of silliness involving photos of his friends. Continuing the self-mocking tone of his earlier versions, Scott calls it his "I Can't Believe it's Not Better!" home page.
September 16: When Scott buys his own copy of Kai's Power Goo to keep the game running, it comes with a bonus feature called Fusion Room, which allows two photos to be melded together in bizarre combinations. It would be years before Scott uses this technique in the goo game, but right away he applies it to a new friends page, this time suggesting the bizarre combinations that would result from his friends splicing their genes together, with such participants as Lori Velàzquez, Matthew Preston, Kelly Lee, Jason Fedorow, Denise Sawicki, Andy Hubbartt, and Erik Nelson, with a "sequel" a year later adding Aaron Fischer to the mix (no pun intended). Scott is hurt when Pam Dornan, who had eaten lunch with him every day for a semester in high school, finds her distorted face on the site and emails Scott demanding its removal because she doesn't know who he is.
September 28: After Scott develops a crush on actress Alyson Court, attractive host of children's show Big Comfy Couch, he is disappointed not to find anything on the web about her other than basic credits. He compiles everything he can possibly find about her and creates The Web's First Loonette & Alyson Court Fan Page, including photos of going to meet her character Loonette at a mall. Against Scott's intentions, he winds up in a subtle rivalry with another fan who starts a successful Yahoo Club about her and claims his own page is the only one on the web even after he knows Scott had one first. it's a silly, short-lived competition over an actress probably uneasy with so many adult male fans trading photos of her starring in an innocent children's show. Scott nods to the controversy with an Alyson Court goo that fall and attempts to put it to rest with a little-used Alyson Court Web Ring the following spring.
October 12: Bored in art history class, Scott hits upon an idea that will become his most popular friends page: My Friends Nude!, in which he superimposes his friends' faces over famous historical paintings of nude figures. The page is a runaway hit with the very people portrayed on it. In fact, given that past friends pages had generated complaints from some of their subjects, it's a surprise that the only controversy this page creates is when two subjects gripe that their photos aren't more explicit. It sets a new standard on the site for shock humor and image editing.
When a section of the site has an anniversary, the sidebar element announcing it now appears in the gray section of the site as well as in the section itself. The 20th anniversary of Thorough Movie Reviews came and went a few months ago without me saying anything because I didn't look at that section that day and I missed the message.
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