I decided to peruse the Wayback Machine's earliest archives to see what the internet looked like in 1996, when I was 14 and evidently had much less free time than I do now. Much to my chagrin, few websites from these early years have been successfully archived, and many of the best preserved ones were created by fast food and soft drink corporations because they were some of the earliest adapters of the internet. They viewed the medium as a chance for inexpensive advertising and invested dozens upon dozens of dollars into it. The results are tremendously humiliating.
In their defense, the technology was different in 1996. Although Internet Explorer 3.0 could run Java applets and inline media, Netscape Navigator could not, and in any case nobody felt comfortable doing anything more complicated than making a few animated GIFs. Additionally, very few web designers had even the most rudimentary of aesthetic sensibilities, and nearly half of them were clinically retarded. The internet in 1996 looks like it had been created in its entirety by a panel of 13-year-olds with Geocities accounts who had about half an hour to spare each night before bedtime.