The Site Fights
The Realm of Ambernia was a website I built back in 1998 at age 14, and it was hosted on Geocities. Clicking around on Geocities, I soon learned of a website competition known as "The Site Fights". This was a place where you could submit your website, and people would 'vote' for your website. The idea was that you would choose a team, and you would participate in various rounds of voting week by week. Once you had topped your team's voting, your website would soon ascend into the inter-team competition, with the goal of reaching a place called 'THE DOME' to win the dubious title of basically all of Site Fights Champion.
The Site Fights billed itself as the 'Internet's First Sport'. You can check out a bit more about the rules and competition structure here (this is a link to the Wayback Archive). I was absolutely enthralled with the concept and soon found myself enlisting to join this competition. My website completely sucked anyway, with very few hits or visitors, and I don't remember getting too far with the competition, but I entered a few times with a couple of different websites. Here is proof using the time machine, of the Realm of Ambernia awaiting your vote. I got quite the thrill from finding evidence of my old Geocities address, thanks to this archived page. Unfortunately little remains of Ambernia itself.
These little mascots were iconic Site Fights figures, and I think this was the first gif I saw that enticed me into their world.
Beyond the teams and the competition itself, The Site Fights had it's own interesting ecosystem, that consisted of a curious mythology that included 'Fairies' who would 'dust' people's guestbooks and keep people's 'spirit' up. Participants in the Site Fights were encouraged to make Spirit pages, showcasing their 'cheers' and general team spirit, and appreciation and love of The Site Fights community. Adoptables were a big part of the Site Fights ecosystem, and I believe this may have been where the very idea of adopting cute graphics for your website may have been born - but I could be wrong. I do feel The Site Fights definitely proliferated the notion. You could barely browse a Geocities neighbourhood without coming across adoptables that were spawned from the Site Fights community.
My first team was also one of the original teams, the Phoenix Warlords.
Beyond competing in The Site Fights itself, I also became a 'Wee One' which was a junior version of the Fairies - if you were under 17 you weren't allowed to be a Fairy which was devastating to me. Nevertheless, I signed up to be a Wee One for my first team, the Phoenix Warlords. Wee Ones had slightly reduced duties compared to Fairies - I don't remember why it was so important to me to be a Wee One, I guess I just found the idea of this community so exciting. Here is my Wee One bio... dug out from the depths of time...
'Hey everyone, the name's Wee One Amberfishy and I'm 15 years old this March! It came to me in a dream... be a Wee One and share the spirit with your team! *grins*...no really, I become a Wee One almost immediately after I joined the fights! It looked like so much fun, and I really wanted to become more involved in helping the fighters acheive well and really get into the spirit. Becoming a Wee One is definetly the best way to do this. I'm having a ball, and I don't think this will wear off!''
Passing on the spirit, and maintaining team spirit, was deemed crucial to the Site Fights ideology.
Later, a new team was established, called the Seryn Isle Elves. I was soon enticed into being on the committee to help run this team - of course, it was Tolkein themed which tapped right into one of my obsessions at the time. For some reason, running teams for The Site Fights consisted of endless admin duties that included getting underage kids to do volunteer work. Soon, my other commitments made volunteering for The Site Fights beyond my capacity. My journey with The Site Fights soon ended, and it was around this time that many other copycat website competitions sprang up, including the 'Web Brawls' and the 'Fantasy Fights'. I remained friends with a few of my fellow Wee Ones, and we stayed in touch on Livejournal and later Facebook, but I have lost contact with them now.
Displaying this graphic was crucial to being allowed to compete. Your website needed to meet a few minimum requirements in order to start competing.
This 'spirit stick' graphic was EVERYWHERE within the community.
The graphics on this page are all taken from The Site Fights website on the Wayback Archive. If you remember the Site Fights, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a message in my guestbook. It felt like it was All Of The Internet to me back then, but now I don't know of anyone who remembers it.