Newgrounds is a website headquartered in Glenside, Pennsylvania and created in 1995 that primarily hosts Adobe Flash animated films and games. The site was created and is owned by Tom Fulp, who still oversees every aspect and regularly produces in-house content. Newgrounds was the first Flash website to use a user-judged, automated submission/rating system and remains the largest and best known.
Newgrounds allows its users to submit their own flash movies, games, music, and art, and view submissions from other users. Over the years Newgrounds has grown significantly, and must rely on the cooperation of its visitors. Visitors are encouraged to rate and review the submissions. A rating system produces lists that direct visitors to the most popular flash movies and allows the site designers to easily locate any material that might be considered for deletion or promotion. The site has nearly 2 million registered members and over 500,000 flash submissions as of February 2010. Of those, around 170,000 have survived the auto-delete system known as "judgment".
Front Page Edit
The front page of Newgrounds features the best recent submissions to the site, as chosen by the administrators. On April 2003, the first front-page icon for a user-made game, Taipan 3000, was posted, under the name "Tom and Wade Recommend." The section grew, and by 2010, the front page featured twelve Flash movies, twelve Flash games, four audio submissions, eight pieces of art, and a special game or movie that merited an extra large icon. Although icons used to be created by moderators, this responsibility, along with making descriptions, was given to the submitting user.
On January 12, 2004, the front page archive was launched, which keeps a list of all Flash submissions to ever be displayed on the front page. On June 27, 2006, the Icon Helpers system was launched, to help Newgrounds users make icons for Flash submissions. On a few occasions since 2007, the front page has been replaced by an "under construction" image, featuring the iconic Newgrounds tank being repaired by several Tankmen. This occured in July 2007, July 2009, and on October 21, 2009.
The Flash PortalEdit
Judgment- The Voting System Edit
The automated portal system has a simple voting system. Users can vote from a scale of 0 to 5 on a submission. The system deletes low-scoring submissions leaving only "obituaries", which is a collection of the reviews of blammed entries. In order to "pass judgment," a submission must have a certain score after a certain number of votes.
- After 100 votes, the score must be at least 1.0/5.
- After 150 votes, the score must be at least 1.25/5.
- After 200 votes, the score must be at least 1.6/5.
After passing all three points, the submission is permanently kept on Newgrounds, regardless of future voting.
Deletion after Judgment Edit
After Judgment, any registered user can report a submission which they deem stolen or otherwise inappropriate to an admin, who can delete the sub. If a submission meets certain criteria (the submission has less than 400 votes, the submission hasn't been been featured in any collections or on the front page, and the submission hasn't won any awards), it may be deleted by the author at any time.
Experience and levelsEdit
There are two ways of increasing the worth of one's vote (known as "Voting Power"). The primary method is to gain "levels" by accumulating "experience points" (also known as "Grounds Gold"). Members may gain 10 experience points per day by voting on five different flash movies or games in the Flash Portal. The other method of increasing one's Voting Power is done through the acquiring of Blam and Protection points (see below). There are 60 levels within Newgrounds with progressively increasing requirements in terms of experience. Because the requirements for levels vary based on the highest ranking members on the site, their requirements and range cannot be accurately given. To illustrate a user's level, an icon of a weapon is shown on each member's profile and below their names on each of their BBS posts (see here for both the icons and experience requirements for each level). Levels influence one's voting power in the Portal and indicate amount of experience, and thus, higher levels do often command respect. Certain levels also unlock secret flash and options. These secrets are not allowed to be discussed at all, as stated by the rules. As of February 2010, no user has ever reached Level 59 or 60.
Blam/protect system Edit
The other method of gaining voting power is by accumulating "blams" and "protects"). This system is often referred to as the "blam/protect" system. Existing primarily to encourage voters to vote on movies under judgment (thereby streamlining the process), users are given points based on whether or not their votes on flash under judgment reflect the flash's ultimate fate. Thus, if a user votes a two or higher on a flash that survives, the user is awarded a "protect point" and if a user votes a zero or 1 on a flash that is removed, the user is awarded a "blam point." Votes which are contrary to the flash's outcome award no points. While blams and saves are tallied independently, only their total is relevant to one's "rank," a title given to a user on their profile which also determines by what percentage their voting power is increased. For example, a "civilian" (a user with less than 100 combined blams and saves) receives no bonus to his or her voting power, however, a "Supreme Commander" (a user with more than 30,000 combined blams and saves) receives a 60% bonus. Each rank is also accompanied by another icon, a badge/insignia, however, unlike the level icon, this icon is only visible on a user's profile. See here for a more detailed explanation and a link to a list of ranks, icons, and statistics. In order to prevent group think and attempts to game the system, a submission's score and reviews are not shown while it is under judgment. On the portal's page, movies that are about to be blammed are highlighted in red, but due to the speed at which people will blam a red submission, the red highlight is only briefly seen.
When a movie or game is submitted to the Flash Portal, it has the chance to win any of the following awards:
- Daily Feature: The award given to the submission that scored the highest for the day.
- Daily 2nd/3rd/4th/5th Place: Lesser awards given to high-scoring submissions each day.
- Weekly Users' Choice: The award given to the submission that scored the highest for the week.
- Weekly 2nd/3rd/4th/5th Place: Lesser awards given to high-scoring submissions each week.
- Review Crew Pick: This award is given to the submission with the best "overall" score in reviews.
- Underdog of the Week: (Often referred to as UOTW) This award is given to the submission with the biggest discrepancy between the review score and the popular vote.
- Turd of the Week: (Frequently referred to as TOTW) This award is given to the submission with the lowest score that manages to pass judgment that week.
- Though Underdog of the Week and Turd of the Week are seemingly bad awards, it's an award none the less. The flash is then highlighted on the flash portal page and the extra publicity can do the flash and author some good.
- King of The Portal: (Frequently referred to as KOTP) This award is given to the user with the most portal awards during the previous month. Only the Daily Feature, 2nd, and 3rd Place awards count towards becoming KOTP, with each award being worth 3, 2, and 1 point respectively. Whichever user that accumulates the most points during the month will be awarded KOTP. The title King of the Portal is also often referred to as being held by StrawberryClock. Naturally, the Lock Legion maintain that StrawberryLock is the King. However, these assertions should not be confused with the monthly award.
- Best of the Month: Since February 2005, the 2000 highest-ranked (based on experience points) active Newgrounds users, as well as moderators and nominees, have been able to vote for the best five submissions of the month (later updated to five movies and five games). Any submission that wins at least one of the first five awards above or is selected to appear on the front page within the month is eligible. Each of the ten winners is sent a cheque of $250 and usually another prize that changes from month to month and is often supplied by sponsors.
- Tank Awards: Since 2007, a panel of judges have picked the top game and movie of the year. Nominations consist of the top monthly winners, winners of themed contests and staff inclusions. Winners receive a heavy bronze statue featuring the Newgrounds tank logo.
Template:Mainarticle The Newgrounds Video section, this part of the site was intended to be analogous to the Flash Portal, but never caught on, and has now died.
Since the Newgrounds API was released and users were allowed to split their earnings between authors, users have been donating a portion of their earnings to charities by creating and sharing accounts which resemble the names of the charities for donating. This began in 2009, when a user, ForNoReason, took it upon himself to organize flash artists.
- The Yellow Ribbon Fund supports injured service men and their families.
- Breast Cancer Awareness supports awareness and research for the cure of breast cancer.
- CARE was introduced in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Newgrounds in the media Edit
- In 1998, Tom Fulp of Newgrounds created a spoof of "Teletubbies" called Teletubby Fun Land. This resulted in a boost of notoriety and media publicity- the BBC objected and the video was renamed Telebubby Fun Land.
- In April 2002, Newgrounds received notoriety for hosting Kaboom!, a game in which the player controls an apparent Palestinian suicide bomber who kills men, women and children in Israel. Despite receiving criticism and calls for its removal from the internet by congresswoman Nita Lowey, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, and other groups, Newgrounds continued to host the game.
- Newgrounds received more negative attention in 2004 by refusing to remove Oklahoma City Escapades from its site, which is a game that was developed by Joshua Bend, that spoofs the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
- Jeff Weise, infamous for the Red Lake High School massacre, posted a violent animation on Newgrounds.com. Its existence was discovered and reported after the massacre.
- Adam Fulton was an animator with over 100 submissions who committed suicide after a surreal series of events leading to a three day manhunt for his arrest. These events were described in a two-part suicide e-mail posted on Newgrounds.
- Gary Brolsma first submittedNuma Numa Dance on Newgrounds on December 6, 2004, where it has since been viewed more than 15 million times, and copied onto hundreds of other websites and blogs, making it the second-most watched viral video of all time. He has also received mainstream media coverage from "Good Morning America", "The Tonight Show" and "Best Week Ever", and, according to The New York Times, was an "unwilling and embarrassed Web celebrity." On September 8, 2006, he reappeared with a professionally produced video titled "New Numa." The release of the video prompted the New Numa Contest which offers up to $45,000 in prizes. On November 14, 2007, he posted yet another Numa video on YouTube, entitled Numa Three: Crazy Loop!, this time using a song that did not have the word "Numa" in it and in English.
- From July 5-8, 2005, Tom Fulp was a co-host on "Attack of the Show!", a TV program taht featured various aspects of modern technology, especially video games. He showcased and described popular Newgrounds Flash submissions.
- V-Tech rampage, Virginia Tech Shootout!, and others achieved notoriety from allegations of making fun of the Virginia Tech massacre.
- Newgrounds currently hosts a game in which a player tortures a lifeless rag doll-like human. The game sparked controversy, receiving short airtime on Fox News.
- Thomas Briggs (known as Sirtom93), an active user on the Newgrounds BBS informed Newgrounds in a thread how he would burn down his school with petrol and was caught and arrested after Administrators and users collected his personal information and forwarded it to the local police. The newspaper in Sirtom's area did not mention Newgrounds by name, which annoyed many users.
Newgrounds hosts and participates in many events throughout the year to give users a chance to meet each other or to interact in general. Some events are organized by regulars but usually by forum moderators and site administrators.
- NG Mod Meetup (2005)
- Comic-Con (2006)
- NG Sketchbook Tour (2006)
- NG Sketchbook Tour (2007)
- NG Sketchbook Tour (2008)
- Montreal NG Meet-up (2008)
- Montreal NG Meet-up (2009)
- London NG Meet-up (2009)
- Big Apple Con
- Comic Con 2008
- History of Newgrounds
- Alien Hominid
- Castle Crashers
- The Behemoth
- Newgrounds Store