A decade ago the Internet looked vastly different from how it does today. Torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay and Torrentz were only a few months old, while Facebook and YouTube didn’t even exist.
Back then BitTorrent was a relatively unknown technology that, for the first time in history, allowed users to share large videos with groups of people all over the world.
One of the torrents that gained quite a bit of traction in the early days is an ASCII version of The Matrix. This piece of fan art is a re-coded version of the original movie in green text on a black background, resulting in a rather unique viewing experience.
Thanks to BitTorrent, the creator of The Matrix ASCII was able to share his work with thousands of people. Exactly 10 years ago today on December 20, 2003, the torrent for this release was created.
A few weeks later the torrent file was first shared online, along with an ASCII DVD cover and insert. In the months and years that followed thousands of copies of the film were downloaded worldwide, and even today it is still being shared by a dozen people every day.
To the best of our knowledge, this means that The Matrix ASCII is the oldest torrent that’s still being actively shared.
All in all it’s safe to say that The Matrix ASCII has become a fine piece of Internet history. The tale of its survival in itself has now become a reason for people to download it as a collectors’ item.
The question is, however, will it survive another decade?