11 Nostalgic Flash Animations From Before The Dawn Of YouTube

Come, young and old alike, and celebrate in the animation offerings of yesteryear's Internet. Back before there was a YouTube or Netflix, we watched short, little flash videos, on sites like Albinoblacksheep and New Grounds, that made us roll on the floor laughing (ROFL, as it was once known). Most of the videos on this list went viral, but a few were just favorites in my circle of friends — and I'm banking on not being the only one to have ever watched them. And if I forgot to include your favorite flash from the proto-Internet, please share it with us in the comments.

11. Badgers

How I wish there was a way to explain what makes this video hilarious. Perhaps there's some ancient instinct that forces us to laugh when confronted with badgers, mushrooms, and snakes, but the world will never really know. My best guess is that randomness and the novelty of flash animations made videos like this consume early Internet users. There didn't need to be much substance because this was all there was. Our expectations hardly even existed yet.


10. Schfifty-Five

Hey everyone, do you want to know a secret? This video was hilarious back when it first came out and it still makes me chuckle. Also, somehow, I still remembered how to count to schfifty five after all these years — so I guess it did teach me something. It still made no damn sense, but that obviously wasn't important. Group X, who made this video and others, definitely didn't care much. But that's ok, because we laughed.

9. Foamy The Squirrel

Foamy was one of the Internet's first voice of righteous fury. His videos didn't always hit, but his rants never failed to be amazing. They tore the terrible people of the world apart and turned what would otherwise be a frustrated man's whining into comedy gold. All it took was speeding up his voice and giving the world a hyperactive, animated squirrel. The series eventually spiraled off into some more sexual and heavy subjects, but it was rebooted in 2011 to give creator Johnathan Mathers a clean slate. It's still kind of sexual though, from what I gather.


8. Xiao Xiao series

Xiao Xiao is about as badass as stick-figure fighting could ever be. As an action-obsessed kid, this was unbelievably cool. It's actually still pretty awesome, even if technology has surpassed this kind of animation about a thousand times over. Chinese animator Zhu Zhiqiang did a good thing in making this.


7. Arfenhouse Teh Movie Too

I like to think that someone other than me and my friends watched this video hundreds of times, but I may be wrong. If so, allow me to present "Arefenhouse Teh Movie Too," otherwise known as the pinnacle of Internet randomness and absurdity. Literally nothing makes any sense, it's constantly all over the place, and I quoted it well into my college days (under my breath so no one judged me). There are others in the series, but none of them reach the train wreck-masterpiece status of this video.


6. Peanut Butter Jelly Time

What is there really to say about this video? It's peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat. Is there something more that you need to know? We watched it, it spread, and its one of the cornerstones of Internet flash videos. It all pretty much speaks for itself.


5. Waterman Studios

This was my first Internet love. Waterman was a little like Family Guy lite, if only because it was really heavy on the cut-away jokes. Don't write this off if that's not your kind of humor, because the shorter format helps the style work better. There's nine great episodes, as well as a great "puppets in the park" spin-off. The creator was even going to make a movie that would star Leslie Nelson, but it fell into development hell with his death. Still, if you haven't ever heard of this, go watch it all now. This is one of the few old-Internet things I still quote on a semi-regular basis, today.


4. The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

I'm not sure if Chuck Norris would still win the Ultimate Showdown, but this video has aged pretty well. It's still awesome to see everyone fight to the death, and the song itself is catchy as hell. Someone should make an updated version with some new faces.


3. The End of the World

H'okay, so. Here's this video — chilling. It's a fantastic stereotyping of the entire world, and most everyone who grew up when the Internet was new will remember it. The art was crude and no one has figured out what kind of accent the narrator uses, but it still nails how the world will probably end. Plus, it created a whole generation of people who are "le tired."


2. Homestar Runner

It's really hard not to put the entirety of Homestar Runner at the top of the list, because it was a huge sensation. But even if it didn't take home the gold, it's still classic humor delivered by a group of lovable characters. From Homestar to Strong Bad and The Cheat, everyone had their moment to shine. And between the longer flashes, shorter ones, and the emails, there was a lot to love on this site. For nostalgia's sake, go re-watch all your favorites.


1. G.I. Joe PSAs

There was nothing funnier on the ancient Internet than the G.I. Joe PSA videos. They basically took a cherished, childhood TV show about helping people and turned it into a series of bizarre encounters between grown-men and children. If they're not full of shouting they're just surreal, and most of them probably left you crying back in the day. I know I'll never hear someone talk about porkchop sandwiches without cracking up inside.


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Correction regarding The Ultimate Showdown, Chuck Norris didn't win it.