History of Pyroman University

Our Roots

Hi, I’m Pyroman131.  Pyroman University (PMU) began as a personal Website project I launched on May 8, 2002.  PMU was dedicated to the following video game franchises: Golden Sun, The Legend of Zelda, and Final Fantasy.  It was flavored with other personal projects like “Bowser’s Column”, an interactive mailbag where Bowser himself responded to fans.

Back in 2002, the internet was still nascent coming off the Dot Com bust.  The internet was decentralized and operated as the “wild wild west”.  There was no social media or YouTube.  People were anonymous online and were not tracked without their consent.  We were constantly warned to stay vigilant about guarding our identities and not sharing personal information.  The internet was liberating and vastly different than what it is today, and how it is experienced today.

Back then, people connected online through private Forums and Web site communities.  I wanted to foster this type of community for myself and celebrate my favorite video game franchises with other like-minded people.

Most importantly, I wanted to have fun with other fans.

I ran PMU during my high school and early college days, but had no time to fully commit to its development.  Subsequently, in 2010, my host provider was hacked and PMU was completely destroyed.  I had no backups and lost everything.  All the history could only be found through Archive.org’s “Way Back Machine”.  In fact, you can still check it today to see the roots of PMU.

What was a “Fan Site” back then?

You know how you get online today and find yourself cycling through only the same things: social media, Google Search, possibly a news web site (if you don’t get your news fed to you by social media), and YouTube or its competitors (Twitch, etc.)?

Before the days of Facebook, the internet was purpose-driven.  You mostly interfaced with it by using a search engine to find Web sites and communities, and browsing through it led you to discover interests.  Bookmarks were used to help you continue to navigate to these Web sites.

Fan sites had guides, editorials, articles, stories, entertainment, humour, early media, collaboration, and discussion.  They had Forums, polls, fan fiction, and artwork. They were interactive and great.

There were thousands of video game fan sites.  As the Webmasters grew older and the internet became more centralized due to social media, we shifted from anonymity to pseudoanonymity, and eventually, no anonymity.  The internet became a place where you identify yourself, build a personal profile/brand, and let yourself get tracked everywhere regardless of your consent.

Fan sites all but disappeared.

Why bring back PMU now?

I’m older now, and I definitely do not have the time to dedicate to PMU like I did back when I was a kid.  I am an adult with responsibilities.

I do not have the capability to make this web site robust like I did before.

I want to preserve, to the best of my ability, what the internet was like before the great social media disruption. I’d love to see this site grow and have others collaborate and visit this site.

I know I’ll never get the visitor hitcounts like I did back then. In PMU’s prime, I had a record of 10,000 unique visitors at my Web site. This will never happen again because the internet is a different place now. But I’d love if even a handful of people came to visit.

Okay, but why “Pyroman University”?

It’s a weird name isn’t it? <(^_^)>

While I am not a Pyromaniac, I did love to experiment with fire and have my own experiments. I was always an analytical person, loved science, loved explosions, enjoyed MythBusters and other science shows, etc.

“Pyroman” was one of my first “handles” back then.  A handle was like a character name back before you willingly identified yourself online.  However, “Pyroman” was quite popular in the early internet days.

When I first was building my Web site in 2002 on the great “Tripod” free Web site builder, I tried to name myself Pyroman.  I then tried Pyroman13.  Both were taken.  Then, I became “Pyroman131”.  How original!

When I built the site, I wanted to provide not only entertainment, but education.  And me being a silly young kid about to enter high school, thought that “University” was all about education.  Thus, I created “Pyroman University”.  The rest is history.

What’s in store for PMU?

My current goal is preservation. I lost everything in the great hack of 2010 and PMU was erased from the internet.

For now, I want to build PMU as a basic Web site that’s more managed and less hands-on. This should free up my time to create content.

In my early days with no responsibilities, I coded PMU with XHTML and PHP from scratch. I knew a lot of code that is now long forgotten.  With this knowledge, I created a lot of unique work and PMU was truly very custom.  The challenge with this is that by having a web site built by hand, I would spend time tweaking for new layout ideas as well as bug fixing areas of the site.

I think I plan to keep as much of the layout as automatically generated as possible, so I can free up my time to create content instead.

Expect to see a return to form with content. I may also potentially bring in “Let’s Play” style content from YouTube into this site.

I do not know if I will bring back Bowser’s Column. For one thing, I’ll have to have a fan community again in order for Bowser to write back to. And for another thing, when checking the Way Back Machine (Archive.org) for PMU, mostly just the Home page is archived in snapshots – none of the other pages are archived, so I don’t have any historical snapshots of my previous content written almost 20 years ago.

Past Web Site Layouts

I have no idea how long Archive.org will exist, but the “Way Back Machine” is one of my favorite things to peruse for nostalgia.  You can search the Way Back Machine for www.PyromanUniversity.com and see what PMU looked like.  It’s fun to reminisce about the old internet.