I’ve long been a fan of 88 Bar, a group blog about tech, media and design in China launched in 2008. Highly recommend you follow them for stuff like “AR guns and panda cams in Shenzhen” and this recent post on Chinese sci-fi, a nice supplement to our own post on the topic from earlier in the week.

As 88 Bar nears its 9th anniversary — that’s nearly a century in China-blog years — it’s excavated a bit of its own past, and has just uploaded several years worth of content from its pre-history into the Virtual China Archives.

Co-founder Jason Li explains:

Virtual China was publishing from 2006 to 2008. Back then, in the US, “Web 2.0” was still a prominent meme, blogs were in their heyday, and Second Life was seen as the future of cyberspace. In China, blogs were a fast-growing phenomenon, but it was the forums, or “BBS’s” as we used to call them, that were really buzzing with activity. More importantly, many felt that the Great Firewall would crumble any day now, mysteriously and suddenly like the Berlin Wall.

Well… didn’t pan out that way. But these archives provide a fascinating baseline index for gauging just how much China’s internet and tech sectors have changed in the last 11 years. On my first quick browse, my interest was piqued by 2006 articles on the rise of Chinese blogs, the Sinification of Warcraft, and ancient Chinese dating websites. Pure gold for all you media archaeologists out there studying love in pre-smartphone societies…

Check the full archive for yourself here.

Cover photo: Institute for the Future