The Twilight Zone (Project)

“The Twilight Zone” was the title of the original Twilight Foundry website hosted on Homestead (and later Geocities) from 2001 – 2004. It took its name from the popular science fiction show of the same name but maintains no parallels otherwise.

The Twilight Zone was created several months after the informal formation of Twilight Foundry in MSN Chat. Charter members MASTER, SumDude, Lewis, and PokeFreak (Dracophile) each maintained a presence in the anime and video gaming communities in the chat service and frequently ran into each other throughout the course of the service as they hopped from room to room. Eventually they began keeping track of each other with the nickname prefix “TwilightFoundry_”, a reference to a secret level in the video game Blast Corps which at the time was a mostly forgotten about Nintendo 64 title. Due to the commonalities of the four users wearing the Twilight Foundry prefix the idea was brought up that they should lend a hand in putting together a website showcasing their hobbies and independent creations. Homestead was a popular free site provider and was selected to be first host of the Twilight Zone project.

The website itself went through dozens of frontpage designs and layouts but the general idea behind the website was that there would be a landing page with four main links, each one connecting visitors to the “sub-homepage” of one of the four members of the group. Though Twilight Foundry eventually saw additional members during this time (Cosmic Audino, K.S.A., Dr. Inferno, and trilobyte FF) none of these additional personnel were given a page on the website. PokeFreak’s page on The Twilight Zone showcased an exhaustive repository of hex values for the Pokemon Red and Blue games, updates and thoughts on the then-popular show BattleBots, and information on the budding Twilight Foundry Robotics project that was eventually given its own page. Lewis used his space on the website to host his various works of fanfiction and fanart of various anime and video games of the era as well as his own collection of doctored screenshots, mostly ones from the Sonic the Hedgehog series of games. SumDude’s section occupied the most space by a huge margin as most of it was eaten up by his game project Blast Corps Online, a browser-based remake of the Nintendo 64 game. The rest of SumDude’s page was full of various bugs and glitches within Nintendo 64 games as well as the results of “cooking” various Atari 2600 games (cutting and restoring power to the system rapidly, yes this will ruin it). MASTER had a page on The Twilight Zone, though it was mostly empty; the few times it had content it consisted of personal notes, test HTML, and some assorted anime paraphernalia.

The actual homepage of The Twilight Zone acted as a hub for the projects and individual sites of the group’s cast but also featured a large chunk of additional information underneath the main links. Among these were the common guestbooks and hit counters popular online at the time plus links to the group’s profile on various gaming communities, namely Sonic HQ and Atari Age. Rather than maintain four individual accounts there was one central “Twilight Foundry” account that the members would take turns using and would sign each post with their respective nicknames. The single account links looked attractive on the homepage but ultimately proved to be more troublesome than they were worth, especially when one of the members — usually Lewis — would get into trouble and have the entire account suspended. The Twilight Foundry homepage also included links and information about the official group chatroom on MSN, though the group members were hardly ever there as they were well-known regulars of other chat communities.

As the group began to expand into the sport of robot combat the content began to slowly propagate through the rest of the site, eventually “taking over” the homepage with the temporary renaming of the group to “Twilight Foundry Robotics”. The shift occurred toward the end of The Twilight Zone’s time online and by the time the Twilight Foundry Robotics “takeover” happened MASTER and SumDude had vanished from the project. The mutual disbanding of Twilight Foundry was marked with the website being pulled from the Internet as the principal members moved on to other projects. Twilight Foundry would not have another official website for an entire decade.

Unfortunately, the popular Internet archival tool “The Wayback Machine” does not have any images of The Twilight Zone saved for posterity. Whether that is a good or a bad thing is left for you to decide. There has been some discussion about attempting to set up a mirror of the original site reconstructed from memory, however lost and incomplete backups of original Foundry content has made this endeavor extremely difficult.

A collection of archival content from The Twilight Zone is available HERE.