I remember back when I joined there was no art portal or NG chat, these were tall tales of updates that never looked possible. There was the NG Mag, an online magazine that devs could use to keep the community updated on their up and coming projects as well as interviews with the more popular ones, I don't think it ever really took off.
As for the BBS, it was a hellish place full of flames wars, abuse and rubbish threads that tried to be funny but failed hard. I remember the mystery surrounding the identity of the mod Shrapnel, the tyranny of eyelovepoozy, the clock and lock crews and their constant battles, Pico obsessions and the rise of the Madness games and their spin off threads.
These were good times before I took a three year break from NG.