It actually goes back further than that. The first and if I recall the 2nd draft of the forums were lost in a great forum rebuild/rehost event that I really don't recall the details. I don't know when we all started hanging around here... 2001-02? Something like that.
Gather round young ones where I will tell you a tale of the horrifying time that was the internet of the late 90's/early 2000's.
Snafu looked like this:
AOL jokes were still so relevant we made comics about them.Random web games
could be found and joined for hours of fun, and often had a VGC/Snafu group of regulars waiting around in them. Except sometimes we'd forget to close our rooms and get a bunch of posers. This seemed important and bothered us for reasons I can't remotely recall.
Desktops and social networking looked like this:
:edit: ^ The green tasktray icon is celebrating that I have 164mb of ram free!
.... does anybody even use chat programs anymore?
A little later it did evolve to something less eye gougingly bad.
Meme's looked like this
Though we didn't have a term for them at the time.
Man, I wish I could find the 'forum group' drawing from those days. My avatar stems from it, and I've been evolving it to match my look over time