Newgrounds

Newgrounds is an entertainment website and company founded by Tom Fulp in 1995. It hosts user-generated content such as games, films, audio, and artwork composition in four respective website categories. It also provides visitor-driven voting and ranking of user-generated submissions.[1] Fulp produces in-house content at the headquarters and offices in Glenside, Pennsylvania.[2]

Newgrounds
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Entertainment
Available inEnglish
FoundedJuly 12, 1995 (1995-07-12)
Headquarters
Glenside, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Key peopleTom Fulp (founder, CEO)
Josh Tuttle (site programmer)
James Holloway (site programmer)
Jeff Bandelin (artist, animator)
ServicesIndie games, animation, art, music, user-generated content, hosting service
URLwww.newgrounds.com
RegistrationOptional; required to vote on, review, comment on, and submit content

In the early 2000's and 2010's, Newgrounds played an important role in Internet culture in general and in independent video gaming in particular. Newgrounds has been called a "distinct time in gaming history" and a place "where many animators and developers cut their teeth and gained a following long before social media was even a thing."[3] Time ranked the website at No. 39 on its list of "50 Best Websites" list in 2010.[4]

Content

The Newgrounds logo used from 2006 to 2018; this logo and similar ones can be seen at the start of flash games and videos on the website

User-generated content can be uploaded and categorized into either one of the site's four web portals: Games, Movies, Audio, and Art. A Movie or Games submission entered undergoes the process termed "judgment", where it can be rated by all users (from 0 to 5 stars) and reviewed by other users. The average score calculated at various points during judgment determines if whether the content will be "saved" (added onto the database) or "blammed" (deleted with only its reviews saved in the "Obituaries" section).

Art and Audio compositions are processed using a different method called "scouting". All users can put art and audio onto their own page, but only those that are "scouted" will appear in the public area. Like the judgment system, it stops stolen content, spam, or prohibited material reaching the public area, relying on users and site moderators. Once an individual is scouted, they are given the privilege to scout others.

Content and context are liable to be reported for review to the moderators and staff members by flagging it for violations to the site's guidelines.[5] A weighted system recognizes experienced users and gives their flag more voice.[6] Newgrounds' homepage includes featured submissions from each category, as well as awards and honors to users whose submission that fall under the site's requirements to earn them.[7] Members of Newgrounds also organize animations called "collabs" through the discussion forum on the site.[8][9] Some scholars noted that while hundreds of these "collabs" are produced every year, only 20% are completed due to stress on those making the animations, while other scholars said that animators maintain a "strong sense" of authorship and ownership of what they produce, especially solo animators.[10][11][12]

Although the site hosted animations about Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and the Taliban, some scholars argued that the site has had a "relatively balanced" conversation on politics, even though those with right-wing views reflect a "sizable part" of the site's user base.[13][14]

History

Newgrounds creator Tom Fulp in March 2007

In 1991, at the age 13, Tom Fulp launched a Neo Geo fanzine called New Ground and sent issues to approximately 100 members of a club originating on the online service Prodigy.[15] Using a hosting service, he launched a website called New Ground Remix in 1995, which increased in popularity during the summer of 1996 after Fulp created the BBS games Club a Seal and Assassin while a student at Drexel University.[16] He then created Club a Seal II and Assassin II, along with a separate hosting site titled New Ground Atomix.[17]

While Macromedia Flash was required for Newgrounds in order to play specific games, the site also brought together members who were interested in producing flash games and gained "considerable online influence" as a result.[14] As a result, it became one of the most "active Flash creator communities in the English-speaking Internet" and served as a place that game developers could begin their careers.[14] Flash was once described by Newgrounds as the "driving force" behind the site.[18] Even so, those on the site had a "low tolerance for poor quality work", referring mainly to humor and storytelling instead of animation quality, and some of the animators on the site had moved to YouTube by the mid-2000s.[19]

By November 2008, Newgrounds had over 1.5 million users and over 130,000 animations.[11][20] This had increased August 2010, when it was reported that the site had over 2.2 million users and over 180,000 games and animated films, most of which were animations made by only one person, with others collaboratively made by various individuals.[21] It was also said in 2013 that users had created "hundreds of thousands of animated movies and online games".[22]

In 2018, Newgrounds began to encourage contributors to submit their games in a HTML5 format rather than Flash.[14] In November and December, it experienced surges of new members originally from Tumblr when that site began restricting adult content after illegal child pornography was found on it, resulting in the Tumblr iOS app being removed from the App Store.[23][24]

In summer 2019, the administration of Newgrounds unveiled the Newgrounds Player, which some describe as a "solution for playing Flash games and movies" hosted on the site.[14]

In April 2021, a large update for the browser game Friday Night Funkin' was exclusively released on Newgrounds, causing the site's server to become overloaded after an influx of site traffic.[25]

Fulp is set to receive the Game Developers Choice Awards Pioneer Award at the 21st annual ceremony in July 2021, for his contributions to establishing Newgrounds and subsequent work in The Behemoth.[26]

See also

  • List of Internet forums

References

Citations

  1. Buckelew, Sean (December 27, 2014). "Newgrounds: Everything by Everyone". Sean Buckelew. Archived from the original on January 10, 2021. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  2. "Cheltenham Township Business Directory". January 2007. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 20, 2008.
  3. Watts, Rachel (July 15, 2021). "Friday Night Funkin' is the DDR beatboxing game driving players back to Newgrounds". PC Gamer.
  4. TIME Staff (August 25, 2010). "50 Best Websites 2010 - TIME". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  5. Van Buren 2010, p. 548.
  6. Luther 2010, p. 3-5.
  7. "The History Of Newgrounds". Retro Junk. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  8. Kurt, Luther; Zielger, Kevin; Caine, Kelly E.; Bruckman, Amy (October 2009). "Predicting successful completion of online collaborative animation projects". In Nick Bryan-Kinns (ed.). C&C '09: Proceedings of the seventh ACM conference on Creativity and cognition. C&C '09: Creativity and Cognition 2009. Mark D. Gross, Hilary Johnson, Jack Ox, Ron Wakkary. New York: Association for Computing Machinery. p. 391. ISBN 978-1-60558-865-0. Archived from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  9. Bruckman, Amy; Luther, Kurt; Fiesler, Casey (2015). "When Should We Use Real Names in Published Accounts of Internet Research?". In Hargittai, Eszter; Sandvig, Christian (eds.). Digital Research Confidential: The Secrets of Studying Behavior Online. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. pp. 243, 250. ISBN 9780262029889. Archived from the original on April 30, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  10. Kurt, Luther; Zielger, Kevin; Bruckman, Amy (February 2013). "Redistributing leadership in online creative collaboration". In Amy Bruckman and Scott Counts (ed.). CSCW '13: Proceedings of the 2013 conference on Computer supported cooperative work. CSCW '13: Computer Supported Cooperative Work. Cliff Lampe and Loren Terveen (Less). New York: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 1007, 1010–1011, 1013–1018, 1020–1021. ISBN 978-1-4503-1331-5. Archived from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  11. Yardi, Sarita; Luther, Kurt; Diakopoulos, Nick; Bruckman, Amy (November 2008). Opening The Black Box: Four Views of Transparency in Remix Culture (PDF). CSCW Workshop on Tinkering, Tailoring, & Mashing: The Social and Collaborative Practices of the Read-Write Web. San Diego: Association for Computing Machinery. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 21, 2018. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  12. Luther 2008, p. 345, 347, 349.
  13. Van Buren 2010, p. 537-538, 545.
  14. Fiadotau, Mikhail (August 2020). "View of Growing old on Newgrounds: The hopes and quandaries of Flash game preservation". First Monday. 5 (8). doi:10.5210/fm.v25i8.10306. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  15. "1991: The Zine". Newgrounds. Archived from the original on March 31, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  16. "#105 At World's End - Reply All by Gimlet Media". gimletmedia.com. Archived from the original on September 29, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  17. "1997: The Tale of Two Newgrounds". Newgrounds. Archived from the original on April 29, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  18. Van Buren 2010, p. 547.
  19. Darlington, Joseph (May 22, 2018). "Techno-Wizardry and movie magic: the trace of labour (or lack thereof) in 3D digital animation". Information, Communication & Society. 21 (9): 1258. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2018.1476571. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  20. Luther 2008, p. 344.
  21. Luther 2010, p. 2, 7, 8, 10.
  22. Settles, Burr; Dow, Steven (April 2013). "Let's Get Together: The Formation and Success of Online Creative Collaborations". In Wendy E. Mackay (ed.). CHI '13: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI '13: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Stephen Brewster, Susanne Bødker. New York: Association for Computing Machinery. p. 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  23. Aparajita_1989 (November 22, 2018). "Tumblr shutting down? No. But there's exodus and Newgrounds is gaining from it". Piunika Web. Archived from the original on January 18, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  24. Asarch, Steven (December 4, 2018). "Why Is Tumblr Banning Adult Content? Censorship Causes Alternative Platforms to Rise". Newsweek. Archived from the original on March 15, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  25. Cohen, Skylar (April 19, 2021). "Friday Night Funkin' Week 7 Reveal Crashes Newgrounds". Game Rant. Archived from the original on April 25, 2021. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  26. Koch, Cameron (July 1, 2021). "GDC To Honor Newgrounds Founder Tom Fulp And Industry Veteran Laralyn McWilliams At 21st Annual Awards". GameSpot. Retrieved July 1, 2021.

Sources

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