Scott Hardie | February 2, 2018
It's been almost two full decades since Celebrity Goo Game's humble beginning as a silly little web game. It remains a silly web game, but it's not so little any more: We've had over 4000 goos and 74 winners, and the game just keeps on truckin'. I'm grateful to have gotten to know so many interesting people and had so many good times as a result of this game!

To commemorate the occasion, I decided to take a look back at how the game has evolved over the years. For 20 days starting on Sunday February 4, we'll count down the 20 most influential goos in the game's history, recreating them with new images and new clues and a nod back to their original form. Check each goo after it expires for a few sentences about how it influenced the game forever after.

Some notable goos not included in the countdown:

- John Kerry was the first goo when we switched to a daily format in 2004. That was probably the single most important change in the game's format ever, but it didn't really have anything to do with Kerry.

- Michelle Kwan was the first goo solved by a stranger to me. This was an important step in the game growing from a small game among my friends to a larger game that would last for years with strangers online, but again, it didn't really have anything to do with Kwan.

- Homer Simpson was the most-solved goo ever, on the day that Something Awful decided to mock the game. It's not an important or influential goo, just a high-water mark for solves in a single day.

- I would have really liked to include a goo or two in the countdown to acknowledge the shifting trends in difficulty over the years, from the easy goos of the 1990s to the hard goos of the 2000s to the deliberately-easy-again goos of the 2010s, but I couldn't settle on any one goo to represent those changes.

- There's no reference in the countdown to the live versions of Celebrity Goo Game played at various GooCons. I don't think those goos were influential, except for maybe a few of them being repeated in the online game.

My question to you on this occasion is: Do you have any favorite goos from the history of the game that you remember fondly, or perhaps least-favorite goos that you wish hadn't happened? I'm curious what you like and dislike about them. What are you strongest memories about Celebrity Goo Game, and wishes for its future?

Matthew Preston | February 2, 2018
The most memorable goos that immediately come to mind for me are: Jason Alexander (for being the Round 1 winning guess that was played in person) and Mia Hamm (for the reason the trivia section on her page mentions).

Scott Hardie | February 4, 2018
I have made an adjustment: After you solve a 20th anniversary goo, you can refresh the page to see its trivia immediately to learn why it was chosen, rather than waiting for a week.

Matthew, I always forget about the Mia Hamm goo and am delighted every time you remind me, because it's a good story. :-)

Some of my favorite goos are the ones where I got to write a weird non-standard clue. Sometimes I'll get to write them in a foreign language, or in code, or on one occasion that I promised never to repeat, with no clue at all. Sometimes players will get in on the fun, like Steve and Chris and Mike did. I don't want to overdo these kinds of goos too often, and I only want to do this kind of obfuscation in cases where it's appropriate to the celebrity, but it's fun when it happens.

And sometimes I just amuse myself with jokes that probably aren't funny to anyone else, like the punchline to the Celebrity Limerick theme (read it from bottom to top).

Scott Hardie | February 4, 2018
When I first decided to do this 20th anniversary project, I expected most of the 20 most influential goos to come from the game's first year or two. It feels to me like the game's traditions were set in place early and we have just repeated them ever since. But no, that turned out not to be the case. There's actually a fairly good spread of influential goos from across the entire history of the game: Three goos from 1998, one from 1999, two from 2000, one each year from 2001-2004, three from 2005, one from 2008, two from 2009, and one each from 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2017. Yes, one of the most influential goos ever is less than a year old! That's why, in the trivia paragraph for each, I've noted the year that the original goo was published, as a reminder to myself that history is made all the time.

Erik Bates | February 4, 2018
For me, the most memorable is Douglas Adams, mostly because it was my first ever goo to solve.

As for clever clues and other gimmicks... I remember Helen Keller giving me fits trying to figure it out.

Scott Hardie | February 23, 2018
Happy 20th anniversary, players! Celebrity Goo Game is just a silly little web game, but I really do feel like it's an accomplishment to have kept it going for so long. I never would have imagined, sitting in that college dorm room where I created the game and where Matthew Preston was the very first player to solve the very first goo, that it would have lasted 20 weeks let alone 20 years, but the game has given us so much enjoyment that I'm glad it keeps on going. I love this game, and I love having gotten to know all of you while running it! Thanks for being a part of this.

All twenty goos in the influential goo countdown have been published. Keep solving them to see the trivia text that explains their impact on the game. Bonus trivia: The source image for today's Music goo inspired this whole theme. I came upon it by chance a couple of years ago, thought it would be neat to use it on the game's 20th anniversary, and later developed the whole theme around it.

Every anniversary brings another addition to our Hall of Fame honoring the game's greatest players. The 2018 inductee definitely qualifies, having racked up one of the game's all-time highest scores and one of the game's all-time longest streaks, and as a bonus she's one of the nicest people in the world. Congratulations, LaVonne!

Chris Lemler | February 23, 2018
Congrats LaVonne! on joining all the best players in the HOF. This HOF would be empty if you were not included in this achievement.

Lori Lancaster | February 23, 2018
Congrats LaVonne :D

Lori Lancaster | February 23, 2018
Congrats LaVonne :D

LaVonne Lemler | February 25, 2018
Scott, believe I'm still in shock, but it's certainly an honor to be included in the Hall of Fame with such awesome players! Appreciate the recognition so much --- thanks again! I'm really enjoying the 20th Anniversary goos. It's interesting to see what has shaped the game over the years. Great idea!

Chris, thank you! Does this mean I'm finally your equal?? Haha. My goal is to eventually be able to solve ALL your goos! By the way, thanks for creating so many goos, which enabled me to pass you in lifetime solve scores!! :-) Thanks for introducing me to the game and site! It's been a lot of fun times and challenges online and at home!

Thanks, Lori! It's so good to have you back in the game! Hope you can stay awhile, for two reasons....one, more female representation is needed against all these guys :-)....two, would love to see you create more goos. I've looked at several of your goos from the past...great challenges! (Someone has to slow these guys down! Haha) Hope you can do more!

Steve West | February 25, 2018
Sorry so late on the congratulations. Well-deserved for one of the game's nicest players.

LaVonne Lemler | February 26, 2018
Thanks, Steve --- appreciate your comments! Hey, we miss you in Celebrity Goo! Hope one day we'll see you back!

Erik Bates | February 27, 2018
Congratulations LaVonne! Hall of Fame in the 20th anniversary... That's like a bonus honor!

LaVonne Lemler | February 27, 2018
Yes, it is Erik --- a special time indeed! I can hardly believe it happened --- thank you so much! :-)

Scott Hardie | March 2, 2018
The answers and 20th anniversary info for every goo in the 20th Anniversary theme have now been revealed, if anyone missed any along the way.


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