As hard as it is to believe, SMBHQ actually survived on the internet for two years! In that times the page has gone from an no-name Mario page who got visits from no one but my friends, to a major affilaite of Video Gamers First network and a 500+ visit per day authority on Mario. I could go on and on about all the big changes that happened these two years, and how it's been a great trip, but I think the many incarnations of SMBHQ's front page over the past couple of years tell the story best. So I've assembled copies of SMBHQ's many front page designs over the years, (I've been saving them for just such an occasion) and decided to plop them up here. Long time SMBHQ fans will recognize some of these (often laughable) attempts at web design, while newcomers will see what the site was like before they started visiting. Hope you like it. Note: Many of the links on these pages won't work anymore... but you should have known that already.
8/1/97-1/15/98 SMBHQ's first front page format was little more than a list of sections with a bunch of images I stole from TMK. Right at the top, the site description (a sort of mission statement) is shown, and it can still be found on the front page today (with some revision). The big "Super Mario" at the top is taken directly from the SM64 box, and stayed on the page about a year and a half. On SMBHQ's first day, only the lists, links, news, misconceptions, and "Mario Who?" were up. The other section were introduced within the first seven months. Also, notice the LE fastcounter at the top, which counted SMBHQ's hits from November '97 until February '99. Lasting 5 months initially (and 6 more later on), this was the most enduring SMBHQ front page format.
1/16/98-3/6/98 After reading some more about HTML and how to do cool things with it, I thought a nice compact image map would provide easier navigation than a long list you had to scroll through. Unfortunately, my graphics skills were pretty horrible, and the image map turned out to be a big fuzzy eyesore that didn't really help things. Notice the picture of Link for the links section (clever, eh), the badly edited "poll block" for the poll section, and the fictional "Super Peach Bros. 3" game for the game ideas section. Notice the addition of a mailing list and guestbook in this time (the guestbook would eventually be taken off due to excessive site-bashing comments, then come back through beseen.com)
3/7/98-9/29/98 The fuzzy, ugly image map did not get a good response, and was a pain to update, so I decided to go back to the old format. There were a few changes from the original such as the "snazzy new frames version", the divisions into three categories (Game Stuff, Reference, and Your Stuff), and the updates indentifying pictures ( ), but it is still pretty much the same. This format lasted into the beginning of SMBHQ's 2nd year, when I got bored again and decided to tinker...
9/30/98-12/28/98 During this time, I didn't get around to updating SMBHQ as much as usual. I tinkered with a lot of ideas for new designs around this time out of boredom, and this one won out above the others. You can see a some slight changes were made to the logo (new prple starburst, Mario & Luigi on top) and that a few small sections were added such as hlep wanted and about the staff. The "best viewed" note is there for a good reason, if the page is viewed at less than that resolution, you have to scroll left and right to see the whole page. For this reason, and the fact that image maps take a long time to edit (when new sections are added) this format was scrapped pretty quickly.
Never before seen This is one of those formats I was tinkering with during the end of '98... but it never saw the light of day. Why? Well even though it's a quick loading, clean, and clever design (warp zones to different sections), it looks absolutely ATROCIOUS in anything lower than 800x600 resolution, so I never even put it up.
12/29/98-2/15-99 This is one of my favorite SMBHQ designs ever. The image maps were shrunk and placed on the right side, with the logo and description still intact and some little characters floating around as well. This format was up for the first few weeks of SMBHQ.com (started 2/5/99). The only problem was it still used hard to change image maps, and that you had to scroll down to find some links. But I still love this design.
2/15/99-3/6/99 Same as the one before it, but with the new logo and link to hosted site Bowser's Castle.
3/7/99-4/24/99 New more compact format. Finally got rid of hard-to-change image maps in favor of small, red "impact font" links for each section surrounding the logo. This format looked good in anything 640x480 or greater (meaning everything) but it was getting crowded, with the search engine and guestbook and mailnig list and ads and legal notice... some of the fat had to be cut out. So...
4/25/99-Today I moved all the unecessary stuff to the index page (the first page you see when you load smbhq.com) leaving only the logo, links, and search engine on the main page, which is now a clean, compact, efficient version of it's messy, large, inefficient original self. Who knows how SMBHQ will look in the future. 3D interface? Holograms? Virtual reality immersion? Only time will tell.
SMBhq is best viewed at 1024 x 768 resolution or higher.