Slideshow

Gone but not forgotten: the best 'dead' websites on the Internet

We take a tour through the Internet Graveyard...

  • Here at PC World, we've seen a lot of cool websites come and go over the years -- from tiny independent gems to all-conquering juggernauts. Even seemingly untouchable websites meet their doom eventually (just look at [[artnid:327853|Wikipedia's current administrational woes|Is Wikipedia Dying?]] for mortifying proof). Sooner or later the grim reaper comes knocking on every server door. One day it'll be our turn. Gulp.

    Being a sentimental bunch, we've decided to honour a few of our fallen friends and rivals. Over the next few pages, you'll find odes to some of the best websites ever to shuffle off the mortal coil. [Note: to qualify as 'dead', a website needs to be completely inactive for at least six months]. We've also included links to existing mirrors and archives, where applicable.

    But enough eulogising. Don your best black, and join us on a tour through the Super-Information graveyard. You may want to bring a wreath…

  • Geek Girl TV



    Geek Girl TV was a weekly video blog hosted by the highly infectious (in a good way) Eve Park. It covered all things 'geek', with an emphasis on gaming, gadgets and emerging technologies. Geek Girl TV was a reliable source for geek news and events. It also reviewed an extensive range of consumer products, ranging from video game consoles to digital helmet cams.

    In 2008, Eve was laid off by the show's producer, Clevermedia, and the website was cast into oblivion shortly thereafter. An online petition was started to try to bring the show back. Tragically, it only received [[xref:http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/bring-back-geek-girl-tv| six signatures|www.thepetitionsite.com]]. To this day, we still find ourselves humming the so-bad-it's-good theme tune: "Squuuaaare eyes are waaaatching… Geek! Girl! …TV!"
  • Geek Girl TV (cont.)



    You can download some of the original Geek Girl TV podcasts [[xref:http://geekgirlpodcast.libsyn.com/rss|here|www.geekgirlpodcast.libsyn.com]]. There are also plenty of clips on [[xref:http://www.youtube.com/user/GeekGirlTV|YouTube|www.youtube.com]] and [[xref:http://geekgirl.blip.tv|Blip.tv|www.blip.tv]].
  • Heaven's Gate – Official Website



    The Heaven's Gate homepage is unquestionably the 'deadest' website on this list. (i.e. – nearly everyone involved in its creation is dead.)

    For those who don't know the story, Heaven's Gate was a religious group of Californian ufoligists who committed mass suicide on March 19, 1997. The date coincided with the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp in the sky, which followers believed was a spiritual portal to another planet. Over a three day period, 39 people took their lives by ingesting poison mixed with apple sauce. They were found wearing badges which read: 'Heaven's Gate: Away Team.' (We wish we were making this up).

    Bizarrely, the cult's official website is [[xref:http://www.heavensgate.com/|still up and running]], some 12 years after the events transpired. We're not sure who's paying for the domain name, but its contents are a chilling testament to when cults go bad.

    Here's an extract from the site's final entry: "Our 22 years of classroom here on planet Earth is finally coming to conclusion – 'graduation' from the Human Evolutionary Level. We are happily prepared to leave "this world" and go with Ti's crew." ...Just say "no" to wacky cults, kids.

    For more on Heaven's Gate, check out Elizabeth Gleick's [[xref:http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,986136,00.html|fascinating cover story for Time magazine]].
  • X-Entertainment

    Matt Caracappa's love letter to toys and cartoons from the 1980s is essential reading for Gen-X nerds. There's pretty much nowhere else where you can find such exhaustive commentary on He-Man, Ninja Turtles and She-Ra: Warrior Princess (these things are important, you know). Old school soft drinks and breakfast cereals also frequently came under the microscope, along with more vintage television commercials than you can shake a M.U.S.C.L.E figurine at.

    But X-E's biggest strength was its hilarious writing style. Who could forget Matt's horrifying expose on kid's movie [[xref:http://x-entertainment.com/messages/435.html|The Worst Witch, starring Tim Curry?]] Or his countdown of the [[xref:http://www.x-entertainment.com/messages/506.html|strangest Masters of the Universe figures of all time?]] If you grew up in the 1980s, X-Entertainment was better than porn, frankly.

    While X-Entertainment.com isn't officially 'dead', it is perilously close to flat-lining. The main archive has been offline for some time now, and there hasn't been a major update in months. Caracappa hinted at his waning enthusiasm for the website as far back as 2006. A review of artificial intelligence program 'Dr. Sbaitso' contained a photo of Matt's computer with the following message onscreen:
    Matt: "Sometimes, I have trouble coming up with the energy to write new articles. I work full time and I'm kind of lazy anyway. …Sometimes, I think people have stopped caring. Or maybe it's worse: Maybe I've stopped caring."


    Clearly, the writing was on the wall a long time ago. (Or more accurately, on Dr. Sbaitso.)

    The X-Entertainment website is [[xref:http://x-entertainment.com |still up-and-running]], albeit without an existing archive. You'll need to do a Google search to hunt down older articles.
  • Pixelsurgeon

    Pixelsurgeon was a daily digest of the creative, intriguing and weird. In addition to a Fark-style newsfeed, Pixelsurgeon provided its own in-depth articles which covered everything from video games to live music gigs. In 2006, Pixlesurgeon shut and bolted its doors permanently, with the team pursuing new projects.
  • Pixelsurgeon (cont.)



    The bulk of Pixlesurgeon.com is still accessible. You can pore over its six year history [[xref:http://www.pixelsurgeon.com/reviews/index.php|here]]. Most of the original staff can be found over at [[xref:http://www.wyldstallyons.com|wyldstallions.com]], which contains a Pixelsurgeon-flavoured blog.
  • Uncle Clive



    Uncle Clive was a comedy gaming blog specialising in what the British do best – scathing satire. It was sort of a less vulgar version of the comic strip Viz; but aimed at gamers. On a bi-weekly basis, Uncle Clive dispensed his ZX Spectrum-derived wisdom upon those assembled. Highlights included Onions4Eyes (a man with onions where his eyes once resided), Gamer's Girlfriend Reviews (a single bemused line, usually about the incomprehensibility of the controls) and Games Whose Sequels Really Should Have Been A Lot Better Than The Original By Now (self explanatory, really).

    Uncle Clive spread the good word for five side-splitting years, before ending his tenure in 2006. To this day, we've yet to stumble across a funnier game site.
  • Rolling Stone – official website



    The [[xref:http://www.rollingstone.com|official Rolling Stone website]] is still very much alive. Its soul, however, died a long time ago.
  • GamePlayer



    GamePlayer was an Australian video games website that prided itself on "telling it like it is". Fronted by Aussie gaming veteran Chris Stead, it was one of the few gaming sites that placed editorial integrity above all else – including advertorial space. Occasionally GamePlayer would descend into blog-style rants (most infamously via the headline 'Sony Gives 64 Million Gamers the Finger'), but this merely added to the site's maverick style. If you wanted a passionate outlook on gaming and games culture, GamePlayer was the place to visit.

    In late 2009, GamePlayer's publisher Derwent Howard Media [[xref:http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/news/high-flying-publisher-in-unexpected-crash-dive/story-e6frg90f-1225793341463|went into voluntary administration]] due to mounting debts. The site was put on 'indefinite hiatus' and then officially axed a few months later.
  • GamePlayer (cont.)



    Tragically, the entirety of GamePlayer was pulled offline when its publishing company went bust. Despite fervent tracking, we were unable to find a single surviving page. (Seriously, the admins did a better job of erasing history than whoever burned down the Library of Alexandria.) Gameplayer's ghost can still be glimpsed via old news posts on Digg.com and N4G, but the links sadly lead nowhere.
  • Bubblegun



    Bubblegun.com was a comedy website created by [[xref:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Rose_(writer)|TV's famous Mr. Biffo]] (well, he used to be on Teletext's Digitizer, which sort of counts.) Covering such wide-ranging topics as Rubik's Cube, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rolf Harris, the website was a frequently hilarious ode to the minutia of pop culture. It also features regular comic strips, including the hysterical The Adventures of Zombie Dave (the titular character would mumble something incredibly offensive in 'zombie talk'; leaving the reader to decipher the filth on screen.)

    While often covering the same ground as Matt Caracappa's X-Entertainment, Bubblegun dispensed with anecdotes in favour of fact-based journalism. In other words, it educated you while making you laugh, and was all the richer for it. At the same time, it was gleefully silly at almost every occasion. After reading Bubblegun's [[xref:http://www.bubblegun.com/topten/31to40.html|Top Ten Things You Can't Imagine Tom Hanks Doing]], we'll never look at the award-winning actor the same way again.



    Mr. Biffo (aka Paul Rose) decided to put Bubblegun to pasture almost ten years ago. Happily, [[xref:http://www.bubblegun.com/culturepop/index.html|the archive remains online]], for your viewing pleasure. You may also be able to find Mr. Biffo's book, Confessions of a Chatroom Freak, on eBay.
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