Do you remember the “Surfari”?

My parents recently decided to move house, so they asked me to come over and browse through my old stuff that was still in the attic and see what could be thrown away and what I wanted to bring to my place.
I stumbled amongst others upon my old Philips Videopac game console (more on that in another post), my old microscope and electronics kit and a certificate of the 1998 Lycos CyberSurfari.

Wow, now this brings back memories… I just had my upgrade from my 33.6 modem to the “light speed” of cable (well, it wasn’t the 100mbit we have now, but still, a flat fee, no phone bills, hours and hours of FPS gaming like QuakeWorld… nice!) so I was set to spend hours and hours browsing through the 100 or so sites that participated in the quest and try to solve the questions and puzzles to obtain the code to move on to the next site in the online safari.

Basically, the game started at the Lycos CyberSurfari ’98 website, on which you would find links to clue pages on participating sponsor sites.
The clues on each of those sponsor’s site provided the links and necessary information to go to other participating websites, which they called “outposts”, around the world.  There were 100 of these outposts to explore during this virtual expedition, each posing a question or a puzzle.  Solving it, would provide you with a code that you could submit as proof of your questing skills.

The idea behind the whole CyberSurfari was of course to drive traffic to the participating sites, but also to help people get better acquainted with the world wide web.  Remember, it was the days before Google, it was the days when AltaVista’s URL still was altavista.digital.com, it was the days of websites designed with tables and frames…

I didn’t win any of the cash prizes, but received this certificate as proof of participation.  I believe the Surfari went on for a few more years, running for one month at a time.

You wouldn’t find those type of initiatives nowadays, with kids basically growing up with the internet, but for many people back then, it was a fun way to start exploring the world wide web.

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7 Responses to Do you remember the “Surfari”?

  1. Carlos Weffer

    Good to know that I am not the only one with this really good memory.
    Netscape + AltaVista looks like one hundred years ago.

  2. I found your blog post through googling Cyber Surfari after trying to explain the concept to a forum friend of mine. Believe it or not, I won $500 via a random drawing back in 2000 or so. Was brilliant. :)

  3. Thanks for the article, brings back memories, I’ve participated in several Cyber Surfaries back in the day.

  4. I remember getting a t shirt after participating in this contest. So fun.

  5. Kathy Sundermeyer

    I happen to be wearing the t-shirt I received for completing the 1998 contest.

  6. When I was in Jr. High (somewhere around 2000-01) our school had an all-night party when Cyber Surfari kicked off. We would all crowd around the computers searching for the answers on our various teams, they brought in pizza, and the gym was opened so we could take breaks playing basketball or whatever. Oh, the memories :)

  7. I found this article because I was just searching the web to find out if Cyber Surfari still existed. I have a couple certificates from ’96 and ’97. I also have a Commodore 128 (packed in a box in my closet, waiting for the day when my children are older and I can share the games with them). Now that I’ve found your site, I’ll have to read through the articles. :)

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