A twitter account that catalogs traditional interfaces from the historical past of net searching, the Web Design Museum (opens in new tab), shared a screengrab of the Steam homepage circa May, 2005 (opens in new tab). This look again on the early days of Valve’s juggernaut set our minds alight, conjuring reminiscences of Day of Defeat Supply, surf maps, and customized Half-Life 1 campaigns. Issues have come a good distance since these olive drab days.
Steam web site in 2005#WebDesignHistory #Steam pic.twitter.com/LU4PWzyGZdFebruary 3, 2023
A fast journey on the Wayback Machine can serve up variations of the positioning from any era of its almost 20-year existence (opens in new tab), however I feel the Net Design Museum hit an actual candy spot with this ’05 iteration—it is nowhere close to as sparse as our first look (opens in new tab) on the Steam official website in 2002, however we have additionally but to see the gleaming grey-and-blue terminator of as we speak begin to tear out of its olive drab flesh like in this snapshot (opens in new tab) from 2006.
My eye was instantly drawn to the bronze/silver/gold editions of Half-Life 2—on the threat of showing myself to be a pathetic bronze-tier gamer, I had no concept what these gradations meant at first. Truthfully, the $85 gold version of HL2 appears to have been fairly sick.
In response to MobyGames, you bought downloads of Half-Life 2, Deathmatch, CS: Supply, Half-Life 1 Supply, Day of Defeat Supply, and a “again catalog” of Valve video games—presumably the unique GoldSrc Half-Life and its expansions? The pack additionally included a bodily field mailed to you with a technique information, posters, and different traditional swag bag fare. Beats a digital deluxe version with a DLC cross, I reckon.
My coronary heart was additionally crammed with craving and nostalgia on seeing the Half-Life 2: Elevating the Bar artwork e-book over on the sidebar. I keep in mind completely poring over that factor for hours again in center faculty, and it affords some tantalizing glimpses of alternate designs for iconic enemies and areas.
Counter-Strike: Situation Zero and Prima “Eguides” had been an actual hoot for me to see as nicely. The only participant Counter-Strike marketing campaign and Prima’s try at an early pivot to digital content material are like trying on the first rungs of deserted tech timber—I can nearly think about an alternate current the place Counter-Strike scooped Name of Obligation on its de rigueur cinematic campaigns or the place Prima managed to get out forward and dominate the search engine marketing videogame information area.
The entire shebang is wrapped up in that splendidly horrendous uninteresting inexperienced shade scheme Steam pot-committed to for therefore a few years, and it is all jammed onto a web page so busy you do not even know the place to begin. Okay, perhaps this is not “flawless UX design” however god dammit, it makes me really feel one thing! Maybe it is simply because I used to be a candy little boy who did not must pay hire or taxes again then, however this picture actually takes me again. On the very least, it exhibits a smaller, gentler Steam, one freed from belligerent transphobic creators (opens in new tab), weird wishlist-topper reveal controversies (opens in new tab), or, ahem. Furry Hitler (opens in new tab).