Twilight Foundry’s “Best Sonic Site Award – Great Job!”
Open a new tab in your web browser of choice. Go on, do it. Punch “twilight foundry” into your search bar and check out the images that come up. Fair warning, if you use Bing you’re going to see a disgustingly large amount of My Little Pony pornography (Twilight Sparkle) and if you’re using Google you’ll see a lot of our logos and random pictures from various articles here that get a fair amount of traffic. I didn’t check with Yahoo because I forgot they existed. Also, before we continue I just want to point out how fucked up it is that in regards to Bing any instance of “twilight” in a search term brings up cartoon horse porn. It’s like Bing knows we’re far outside of the age of making fun of that terrible vampire movie and has moved right into what’s currently hot. Purple horse vagina. Anyway, no matter your search engine of choice in any case you’re going to see this thing show up somewhere in the first handful of results:
That is the most obtuse fucking thing in the world and hilariously enough it is and has been the most persistent result when searching for “twilight foundry” in any search engine for the past decade. The reason for this is because the graphic was hosted at the popular (and now defunct) Sonic HQ which if you rewind time thirteen years was one of many frequent hangout spots of the original Twilight Foundry lineup. Since Sonic HQ received tons of traffic, and because that picture’s metadata contained the phrase “twilight foundry” on their servers, this is what every single search engine saw when they crawled Sonic HQ’s website and that’s how they interpreted “twilight foundry”. A shitty “top anime sites” award. Anime, because when I think “Sonic the Hedgehog” I immediately default to goofy ass characters with giant eyes.
Wait, that may not have been a good example.
To be completely honest with you I was kinda hoping that stupid abomination would have gone away on its own because surely over the years it’s confused countless people who’ve searched for “twilight foundry” looking for a map of the bonus level of the same name in Blast Corps. Much to my dismay it never went away. A fun side note, that image comes before any pictures of Blast Corps in search results from Bing; this fucking thing will not die. As much as I personally hate that stupid award graphic I guess in a sense it’s Foundry canon and there’s a story behind it just like every other bogus artifact from our bygone years. Since I am the only remaining member of Twilight Foundry’s original cast I guess the responsibility to tell this story falls upon me, right?
The Sonic HQ award is a relic from an older Internet back when things like webrings and spinning email GIF’s were en vogue. Awards were one of the fads of the era and everyone was giving them out both because they wanted traffic to their own sites and because niche communities were and still are huge circlejerks. Most awards weren’t 320 x 240 splashes because in the early 00’s that would have filled up a pretty generous amount of screen real estate. The reason why that picture is so large is because I’m about 90% certain it’s simply a resized screenshot from a Sega Genesis emulator of one of the various wacky level titlecards from a Sonic the Hegdehog game or something. That text was clearly plastered on with MS Paint and that background is far too ornate to have been made by the same person. The layered opacity of the blue stripes is beautifully contrasted by the haphazardly applied lettering of which I count at least four different fonts and by “beautifully contrasted” I actually mean “ruins the entire picture”.
The aforementioned person, by the way, was Twilight Foundry’s resident autistic otaku Lewis. I don’t know if Lewis is actually autistic mostly because that particular epithet didn’t “exist” thirteen years ago but since I’m writing this article in 2014 about some nonsensical crap that happened in 2001 I believe I am entitled to use some updated descriptors to jazz this borefest up so that it can be obsoleted by whatever hip lingo people are using in 2024. Lewis was really big into video games and anime and all sorts of other nonsense made of plastic that was collectible. Twilight Foundry shared a communal forums account on places like Sonic HQ and I guarantee almost all of them were posts by Lewis. I know this because he was always idle in every single MSN chatroom that the four of us frequented. Any time I popped into the Toonami chatroom he was there and he was always talking about something. I honestly have no idea what he is up to these days but I’d be willing to venture a guess that he’s some wildly popular anime blogger while I’m sitting here in the dust with a bunch of old shit I can’t get anyone to read.
Anyways, Lewis had this idea to start this “contest” in our MSN chatroom where people who hung around with us could vote for their favorite websites in a bunch of random categories on our website. I honestly do not remember how he organized this because I’m fairly certain if he would’ve tried to code a script he’d have broken the entire Twilight Zone site and I’d have remembered fixing that. Regardless, apparently the “Best Sonic Site” category was nested inside of the broader “anime” subject even though the Sonic franchise is based largely in video games and comic books. Sure, that’s anime I guess. Whatever. I’m more impressed that he was able to name two more Sonic websites at the time because thinking back to those days there really was Sonic HQ and nowhere else for Sonic news and fandom. I have no idea why Sonic HQ — a site that boasted millions of visitors — ended up in third place. My best guess is that Lewis took input/nominations from the chatrooms and the people contained in said chatrooms ended up voting for their own websites. As screwed up as that is it’s still more “fair and balanced” than Fox News.
The stupid thing is that Sonic HQ straight up slammed that gaudy image on their website like it was some magical badge of humbleness because everything else on their awards page was “first place this” and “first place that” and smack in the middle of this ass pat parade was “3RD PLACE GREAT JOB”.
The Twilight Foundry award is so appealingly bad it’s actually hilarious. What’s even better is that apparently every other recipient of our prestigious award has gone belly up because I sifted through image search results until they dissolved into Internet oblivion and I could not find a single one anywhere not even on some ironic snark blog that uses The Wayback Machine to crawl old versions of formerly popular websites looking for trash to scavenge and regurgitate on Tumblr. I can’t tell you the names of the Sonic fansites that were allegedly “better” than Sonic HQ; I can’t even tell you what the other award categories were or if they used a different wacky background for that matter. All I have to go by is a fuzzy memory that Google simply wouldn’t let go of. As much as the Sonic HQ award bothers me with its affront to any and all typesetting conventions (even by 2001 standards) in a sense I suppose I’m glad it’s still floating around out there online. It’s the only relic from the original Twilight Zone website that is still a part of the Internet’s collective consciousness and its placement in search results has served as a bizarre “remember meeeeee” cry from the Foundry for longer than I can care to try and comprehend.
It’s a piece of our history that I have to learn to like and accept for what it is because if the past 14 years have been any indication that damned thing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
– Dracophile & Lewis