If the internet is a part of your everyday life, as it is for billions of others around the globe, then you are probably no stranger to video-sharing giant YouTube. There you can find videos of pretty much anything that interests you, watch news and events from around the world, take a peek at other people’s lives through their vlogs, learn new skills through how-to videos, or squee over countless cute animal videos. If you’re bored, nothing passes the time quite like getting lost in a YouTube black hole, where one interesting video leads to another, and another, and yet another…
Not quite as well-known, but still very successful in its own right, is Niconico (formerly NicoNico Douga), essentially the Japanese version of YouTube, though the website is also available in English and Taiwanese. What is unique about Niconico is the ability it gives users to add comments which are then overlaid directly on the video and synced to a specific playback time, which often become as entertaining as the video itself.
Both sites have billions of videos for a lifetime’s worth of entertainment, but have you seen the oldest videos of them all?
YouTube will be celebrating 10 years since its foundation on February 14, 2005. It’s hard to remember internet life before dear old YouTube made video-sharing so much easier and, in turn, provided the world with endless hours of entertainment.
But the first video ever to be posted on the site on April 23, 2005, is not exactly the most noteworthy you’ve ever seen. In fact, if you had just happened to come across it at random you would probably think absolutely nothing of it and continue on through your journey of cute cat videos.
The video is a full uneventful 18 seconds of YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, standing and talking in front of the elephants at the San Diego Zoo, entitled simply: “Me at the zoo”. While it does have the coolness factor of being The First, there’s not too much else going for it. That is, unless you’re interested in knowing what’s really cool about those elephants, in which case, have a look for yourselves:
Alright, I will admit, elephants are pretty cool.
On the other hand, Niconico’s first ever video offers a bit more in the entertainment department – and a bit in the WTF department as well.
Uploaded on March 6, 2007, by Niconico’s head of management, the video is a recording of bonus footage from the video game Shin Gōketsuji Ichizoku: Bonnō Kaiho, part of the fighting game series Power Instinct. This video gets right to the weird from the get-go, opening with the game’s characters – dressed in old style Japanese garb – dancing in unison to a techno beat before breaking out into song. You will then be greeted by various ogres and other creatures flying through the background, blasted with cherry blossom petals, and serenaded by the lone female character in her spectacularly weird solo, setting the scene for what Niconico was to become quite nicely, if you ask us.
It may also take a while to get used to all the comments flying across the screen (turned on or off with the […] button) but half of the fun comes from seeing what other viewers have to say.
If you managed to make it through the whole of that video, you may be left wondering:
You might also be left with that song stuck in your head for a while.
Though YouTube’s first video leaves much to be desired, and Niconico’s leaves us wondering what the heck we just watched, it’s interesting to take a look back to the humble beginnings of our favorite video hosting sites, and we can be even more thankful for the improved entertainment that followed!
Reference: Kotaku Japan , Wikipedia
Featured image from screencaps of Niconico and YouTube