got turned onto https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/week/1125date.html today after watching the new Action Button. Haven't gotten all the way through either yet but man it's incredible how much this presages current conversations around virtual idols and vtubers. Everything old is new again, i guess.
of note: Action Button (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb-DtICmPTY) makes a compelling case that this article overstates a lot of it's claims, and that these games were more mainstream and had a wider appeal then was portrayed in this article, including many female fans (& the NYTimes author makes an embarrassing "developed with no input from women" claim that's proven wrong with one look at the credits).
and remember: this was all happening in 1995