Second collection: BBS-related podcasts

You’ve seen the BBS Documentary. You’ve read reminiscences about BBSing on blogs and tech websites. So how about something to listen to?

Today I’m introducing Break Into Chat’s second special collection: BBS-related podcasts

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Trade Wars vs. Legend of the Red Dragon: Which was the most popular?

tw2002-lord

When I was on the Bobby Blackwolf Show in February, we discussed TradeWars 2002 and Legend of the Red Dragon. Early in our back and forth on LoRD, I said: “It became… you know, depending on who you talk to, probably the number one or number two game out of BBSes.” Blackwolf followed up by saying: “TradeWars is usually number one, LoRD is number two.”

I don’t think anyone would dispute that TradeWars 2002 and Legend of the Red Dragon were the two most popular BBS games. But which was the most popular? Is it even possible to know?

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Hearing from my software heroes

Using the terminal program "ANSITerm" within the "Hatari" Atari ST emulator to write a message on a BBS.

Using the terminal program “ANSITerm” within the “Hatari” Atari ST emulator to write a message on a BBS.

I spent much of my teenage life inside the confines of the Atari ST terminal program “ANSITerm” by Timothy Miller of Two World Software.

I have mentioned the program before on the blog, and I even described it briefly when I was a guest on the Bobby Blackwolf Show podcast. But I’ve never really given it its due.

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Introducing our first special collection: Door World Magazine

Today I’m adding a new section of special collections to Break Into Chat. These are going to be small, targeted collections unique to this website.

The first such collection is Door World Magazine, a monthly online magazine about BBS door games, which was published from 1995-96 by RoAnn Vecchia and Dave Wendling of the N.U.G.I. ConSorTium.

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Jewels, bats, and balls

A mockup showing how the NBA standings might look in Sports Stats.

A mockup showing how the NBA standings might look in Sports Stats.

Last year I was studying BBS doors. This year I’ve started writing some!

I have two percolating right now:

  • “Jewel Mountain,” a game I’m making with my daughter. Progress has been slow because we still haven’t worked out exactly what the game mechanic should be.
  • “Sports Stats,” an informational door that will give live standings and scores. We are St. Louis Cardinals and San Antonio Spurs fans at my house, and my daughter always checks results from the previous night in the morning newspaper. So I figured why not bring that to our little BBS?

I would not have embarked on these projects if not for the fact that Synchronet BBS supports Javascript, which I use a lot at work. The main learning curve is dealing with the console: outputting ANSI colors and characters. I’m also learning about frames and sprites and things.

I have made good progress on Sports Stats, and I hope it might become a door I can release for other sysops who might want it.

Jewel Mountain will likely remain just our private little experiment. But if somehow we manage to make something playable, then we’ll release it too.

My daughter dreams of people sending in registrations like the BBS days of yore, but I had to bring her back down to earth and tell her it’s highly unlikely.

I’ve also been more of a sysop lately, customizing the BBS. I have been created more ANSIs for different occasions: Valentine’s Day, etc. I made one of Kirk and Spock looking at the Guardian of Forever to use with the login matrix mod from Digital Distortion. Of course I make liberal use of Photoshop, then ANSIrez to convert an image to ANSI, and PabloDraw to clean and refine the ANSI.

I also have a number of BiC projects underway:

  • Interviews
  • Adding game articles to the wiki, plus game downloads
  • A series on custom front-end terminals
  • The release of old issues of “Door World Magazine” reformatted for the web.

And more. But there a lot of pots on the stove. I need to get cooking!

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Talking BBS games on the Bobby Blackwolf Show

A few weeks ago, I joined Bobby Blackwolf to talk about BBS door games on his gaming podcast.

We reminisced for almost an hour about BBSing, terminology, TradeWars, LoRD, SRE/BRE/SEE, RIP graphics and more. I had a lot of fun, and I hope you will get a kick out of listening.

By the way — is it coincidence the abbreviation for “Bobby Blackwolf Show” is BBS?

Or is it destiny?

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Me vs. the Super Bowl

Earlier this week Bobby Blackwolf recorded an interview with me that he’s going to include in his weekly gaming podcast this weekend.

We reminisced about BBSing and BBS door games and I talked about Break Into Chat.

The podcast will live-stream at 8 p.m. (EST) Sunday, which means I’ll be up against the Super Bowl.

I’m counting on you to make the right choice: listen to the podcast — with chicken wings, nachos, and cookies at hand.

… Or I guess you can also download it from bobbyblackwolf.com a couple days later.

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Seth Robinson talks LORD and Planets: TEOS with Matt Barton

One of my favorite things since I started Break Into Chat has been interviewing BBS door game creators.

So I really enjoyed watching Dr. Matt Barton of St. Cloud State University interview Seth Robinson. They talk about Robinson’s childhood, his favorite BBS door games, Legend of the Red Dragon, LORD II, and Planets: The Exploration of Space among other topics.

Robinson has discussed LORD in various interviews and posts over the years, but Barton’s interview sheds some new light on things, particularly LORD II and Planets.

Check it out right now!

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One year of Break Into Chat

josh3a

Last week was a blur of activities starting with my tenth wedding anniversary, continuing through Thanksgiving, and culminating in Christmas tree hunting.

Amid all the bustle, I almost forgot a milestone: Break Into Chat had its first birthday.

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Happy birthday, Atari Jaguar

The Atari Jaguar 64-bit interactive multimedia system.

The Atari Jaguar 64-bit interactive multimedia system.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the Atari Jaguar in San Francisco and New York City.

Last year I wrote about Christmas 1993 when my parents surprised me and my brothers with an Atari Jaguar. Because the Jaguar wasn’t available nationwide yet, my parents teamed up with an uncle in California to obtain it.

In the 20 years since then, I sold or gave away all my other old Ataris — the 2600, 800, 130XE, 520ST and 1040STe — though I wish I still had all of them.

But the Jaguar remains — and it has new life because my kids now enjoy it.

Here’s a look back at this console that meant so much to us.
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