We could say that web design has come a long way in the past 22 years, but a wave of nostalgia suggests people miss the character of the sites from the early days of the century. The Nintendo website is a case in point, with tributes flooding in online to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Game Boy Advance.
The console was released in March 2001, and it might seem basic compared to today's colourful Nintendo Switch, but it was a massive success at the time. To commemorate the anniversary, the Web Design Museum has shared a look at the evolution of the Nintendo website since then, and it's making a lot of people feel nostalgic (see our pick of the best 404 pages for more gems from the history of web design).
On this day 22 years ago, Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance console, and Nintendo's web design was so great back then. pic.twitter.com/9I6N632W5XJune 11, 2023
As shown in the post from the Web Design Museum on Twitter, the Nintendo Website from 2001 is a great example of the Y2K aesthetic, from Mario's greeting to the pixel art icons and playfully chaotic layout. It feels almost like an old newspaper page design, where you're presented with so many stories, you don't know which you're supposed to read first, but it doesn't matter because there's no right way to read it. It's something that's designed to be perused at leisure.
Today, especially after the shift to a mobile-first approach, it's not just that imagery has got bigger and better as loading times reduced, but web designs have become much more streamlined. But some people seem to miss the old approach. "I miss the 2000s styles of websites. Each website had character (if it's the right word) and everything was clear," one person responded on Twitter.
"It's simultaneously chaotic while also just so fun and interactive. Look at those intentional scanlines on the featured sites images!" someone else wrote. "My favourite part of old web design is having the same link in 5 different places. I do miss these days," was another response. Looking to build your own site? See our picks of the best web design software and the best website builders.