This is gonna be a long one kids so "BUCKLE YA PANTS!"
As a young lad I played video games. A lot, I mean a metric fuckton of them. At some point the door to PC gaming opened up to me via one of my mother's previous suitors. He showed me two games, Diablo 2 and Everquest. I sunk god knows how many hours into these games. Eventually I was more in tune with the communities and had a better grasp of reading and writing than others my age as video games made this a necessity. A lot of people spoke about a few websites such as Newgrounds, Madblast.com, Ebaumsworld, Kontraband, Camp Chaos, Miniclip and a few other distinct names.
I warmed up to the internet via Madblast which by today's standards would be the epitome of cesspit humor. E-Cards, baby jokes, fart jokes, tame race humor- ya get the picture. I approached ebaumsworld and saw a little loop of pico gatting his gun. I can't find the loop to this day as it's probably lost to the ether, but I saw the logo. I came to NG and experienced it all. Adam Phillips, Legendary Frog, Johnny Utah, Stamper, Lemon Demon, Redminus, El Cid, Jazza, Auracore, Weebl, Wonchop, Kirbopher, Oney, PsychicPebbles, ZONE, Ricepirate, Harry Partridge, Egoraptor, Mindchamber, TheSwain, Tomamoto, Osuka, Zeurel and god knows how many others. I was embibed in this place and it's animations.
I fell in love with the works of JohnnyUtah first, Adam Phillips then Redminus in particular. I didn't understand until way later why Jeff's animations were so appealing to me, so let me break it down to show you how much these three have impacted me.
Starting with JohnnyUtah. His art produced the same kind of feeling the designs of Small Soliders' Commandos did. Big, blocky dudes with cool goggles and weapons. Tanks, armaments, foul mouthery, cracks, dismal locations- it was all the stuff I found appealing as a kid. As time went on I grasped and appreciated how immature the humor could be and why Jeff is known to laugh at ridiculous things he himself says. The sharp wit and deliverance of humor you find in his work can both sting and surprise you. Some of his more lengthy dialogue exchanges (which is a common theme in his work) was enough to reel me in when as a young man would send me to the hills in any other case. It's like watching a man battle himself to get the last word in. I could feel the puppetry between characters at work as all the voices were him, hearing how amused he was with how silly it sounded to top himself repeatedly in insult exchanges. He has a seemingly gruff disposition with a very traditional background- giving him a very solid foundation in how he views and interacts with the world around him. Many see Jeff as mean and grumpy, and while he is a cynic I can see he doesn't mean to come off as such. This is what makes me appreciate his bouts of childish humor more because I feel as if he himself knows his sometimes rigid sense of humor can be blown away in the presence of one stupid joke. He knows how and when to be serious, he knows when being childish is funny despite the timing and he's not afraid to tug the offensive strings in his work. This was a big milestone in my approach to humor as time went on, as learning about him through NG, SleepyCast and personal conversation has taught me even the big guy needs to be a kid sometimes.
To cement the amount of time I've sunk into viewing animation, Jeff revealed his participation in CampChaos material featuring Arnie and Sylvester sleepover gags. At the time I had no idea and somewhat recently it dawned on me after this discussion that I've watched him longer than anyone else I've devoted time to. If nobody knows the dominant animator of CampChaos, look up 'Napster Bad'.
Adam Phillips- now this was a man I saw as some sort of mystical being. Upon watching Brackenwood's first entry I could feel something more was coming. Release after release the world of Brackenwood began to live and breathe much like Lord of the Rings did. I could feel things moving and happening without needing it to be on screen. The ecosystem, the color choices, the labor put into the amazing liquid effects all stimulated my young mind so severely I would watch these videos every other day. As one born into celtic culture this man's work resonated with me stronger than most due to my familiarity with some of the material. Seeing Bitey interact with everything in such cruel, fast ways reminded me of material such as DBZ- but more tame in cause and effect scenarios. Words were few and imagery was all I had to put together a story. I never saw this kind of thing before and I don't count the animations I saw in the rubberhose era of animation because they felt shallow by comparison. Brackenwood is very close to my heart and always will be. As I grew older and participated in more forum discussion and artist following on social media I finally saw the mysterious man. Much to my surprise he's a spritely man who I could only describe to be some mischievous imp. He oozes creativity, swearwords and humor. His personality is very powerful and pronounced in both his person and work- but he was nothing like how I imagined. To reinforce the fact, I was under the impression he'd be some lofty writer with a very 'healing crystal gypsy' attitude. Thankfully, he's not this brand of hippy eccentric and exceeded my wildest guesses.
Redminus, never have I before seen such a weird blend of eastern and western elements in animation. Wilhelm Park came by and something resonated with me. The insinuated porn didn't draw me in so much as the exaggerated outcome. As time went on I liked the dumb humor and the vibrant colors. Something about how stiff and calm characters were who were then suddenly thrusted into bombastic scenarios stood out. He reached for every inch of ridiculous he could without straying into the 'lol xD' territory too deep if never at all. I was a fan of how pretty the ladies in his work could be without the need to be crude (and I'm a hentai viewer so no prudence to be found here). The biggest draw however is the fact he never addressed the same topics. Watching people misinterpret his messages and gags were the best parts of his comment sections. There was no means of predicting the next thing whether it was cute, stupid or horrifying. This felt incredibly fresh and out of the blue at any time his animations emerged. Later on I crawled out of the woodwork and spoke to him myself via Twitter and Twitch (the same goes for Jeff and Adam) and became great friends with him. Every hour we speak and shitpost is interesting or otherwise enriching.
Now I need to stop here and talk about Stamper- who to me is the Newgrounds equivalent to Jim Carrey. While Stamper's animations felt scarce his voice was definitely everywhere. I fell in love with his humor and voice as many do- but it's been with me for years and remains iconic. Much like Redminus he's given me the time of day to pick at his brain via twitch and twitter. The man has a madness to him that is beyond fascinating. He can draw, animate, code, produce music, write, voice act, sing and god knows what else. He's like a maze with new turns every time you jump back in and I love him for it. Everything about him exudes an element of genuinity and unpredictabiltiy. He's a great man and I can't think of another voice who has so firmly buried itself into my mind that I've developed a passable impression of him. I really miss his content and participation in group projects because he delivers fascination like no other.
With that out of the way let me make this short and say I've completed Castle Crashers and Battleblock to their fullest extent (excluding community levels). My Pink, Green and Purple knights are all maxed out and many an aneurysm inducing hour have I sunk into getting every god damn gem in BBT. Alien Hominid is something I must revisit but I don't hate myself enough yet to do it.
NG has made a fascinating and godly impact on me and the internet as a whole. I want it to come out of obscurity again and back into the top search results. I want it in the minds of artists who want a place to post safely and freely. NG has supported me and I've supported it- I've only chosen recently to become far more vocal about my relationship to this place. This place has diversified my interests, art style experiments and humor range. It has shaped a great deal of my person.
Readers might wonder "this is about some people, not the website" but you're wrong. This website IS the people, the people in the site made the site what it is.
I love Newgrounds and so should all of you.
Mostly because I said so, fuck you.