The year was 1997.
I had been running my own website for two years when my webmaster introduced me to a site that was doing some pretty cool stuff. Knowing that I was into games, he showed me a site called Springerspan.com, a very primitive site multiplayer game site.
The developer of the site (who I’ll call E.J.) was a graduate student at University of Southern California. He had programmed a few games into the site and a few of his friends were beta-testing it when I found him.
I wrote him to tell him that I liked his site and asked if he wanted to explore a joint venture. Since I already had a web presence and plenty of people playing some single-player games I had on my pages, it seemed like a great fit.
We ended up doing a deal and renamed the site ClassicGames.com. EJ continued programming and I took on the task of branding and marketing.
Before the year was out the site had grown to include chess, checkers, bridge, cribbage, spades, hearts, backgammon and a few other classic board and tables games. we had thousands of people playing on the platform, and our peek hours found us with 600 or so concurrent players.
To make a long story shorter, Yahoo! contacted me in 1998 and ended up acquiring ClassicGames.com, renaming it Yahoo! Games. EJ went to work for the company as “Chief Game Yahoo!” and I moved on to other projects.
I ended up as an icon on the site. I think that may be my favorite part of the entire story.
A short time thereafter I was contacted by Yahoo! to see if I would be interested in exploring a position with their creative team, but I already had a taste of entrepreneurial freedom and graciously declined the opportunity.
Years have passed and Yahoo! has added dozens of games to the site, most of them not created to be compatible with the Classicgames.com platform.
I was saddened to discover that Yahoo! recently retired the entire ClassicGames library from their site, leaving fans of the games completely in the lurch. In fact, there are many who are very upset about this, not understanding why Yahoo! would just pull the games completely.
I can’t say I understand it either. But I know that the once mighty Yahoo! that had a chance to rule the web is alienating more of their user base with this move.
Goodbye, Classic Games. I’ll always remember you with great fondness.