internet memory #001 - thisisnotporn
Thisisnotporn is a browser puzzle game (possibly the first one?) that started around 2004. Unlike its successors (such as notpr0n, which ended up being more mainstream), TINP had -to me, at least- a unique charm to it. It doesn't have any indications that it is, in fact, a game: there are no instructions or level counters. Instead, it presents a rather sinister looking picture of an... oven? In a field? And there's some sort of creepy face shape in it, and some weird static sound. Recently it was "remastered" in order to work properly in modern browsers, but things have changed and stuff like popup windows and autoplaying audio no longer work unless explictly allowed by the user (and for good reason). In 2004 this was scary, but not obvious like most scary content I knew then, which was of the "sudden creepy image and loud sound" variety. This was unsettling in a way that drew me in. And it really drew in a lot of people, I remember at least two? forums where people worked so hard to crack the puzzles that they reached the point at which the developer had just stopped, because he imagined no one would actually get that far and the website would remain an enigma forever. Instead, people got there, the guy had to make a public announcement about this, I guess people were disappointed? I don't remember. I think I had stopped playing at that point. By "playing" I mean following the forums, because the puzzles were HARD. There were references to number stations and at least one novel (I ended up reading the novel just to understand the references). The photography was also great, and even though it went nowhere, it really seemed like there was a plot of some sort.
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