Paul Witte and Herb Flower, creators of Thieves’ Guild

Paul Witte and Herb Flower were friends who collaborated from 1988-93 to create the BBS door game Thieves’ Guild and its graphical front-end client for the Atari ST under the “Mythyn Software” banner.

Paul Witte, left, and Herb Flower collaborated to create Thieves’ Guild for the Atari ST.

Flower went on to found the Rewolf Entertainment studio, which produced Gunman Chronicles. Witte and Flower teamed up again in 2001 as “Mythyn Interactive” to develop the MMORPG Linkrealms.

Few folks are likely to remember Thieves’ Guild because it was released for the ST in the 1990s, just as that platform was dying out — and that’s a shame. It’s a fun game with interesting ideas, and its front-end client has pretty much the best pixel art of any BBS game that I’ve come across.

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I completed my 7-year quest to play Thieves’ Guild

These two screenshots show images of the sea shore, and a sea battle, from the Thieves’ Guild front-end client.

The sky is clear, the breeze is strong. A perfect day to make the long sea voyage to Mythyn. You prepare your galley, hire a crew of sailors, and cast off.

But a few hours into your trip, the dreaded words appear: “Thou seest rippling waters…”

Sea serpent? Giant squid? Something’s out there, and it’s headed your way.

So it goes in “Thieves’ Guild,” a unique BBS door game for the Atari ST.

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A different way to play, part 5: TWTerm

This is the fifth installment in my series “A different way to play” about front-end clients for BBS door games.

TWTerm

TWTerm

I was never a very good TradeWars 2002 player. Sure I would trade, hunt for the StarDock, and fight other players — but I was probably just cannon fodder for the serious players. (Check out the textfile Slice’s War Manual, an incredibly detailed guide to TradeWars, for a taste of what the good players were doing.)

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A different way to play, part 4: GTERM

This is the fourth installment in my series “A different way to play” about front-end clients for BBS door games.

GTERM

GTERM was a front-end for Land of Devastation that enabled an SVGA-resolution interface with graphics, music, and sound effects.

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A different way to play, part 3: OOIITERM

This is the third installment in my series “A different way to play” about front-end clients for BBS door games.

OOIITERM

OOIITERM (also called “Overkill Ansiterm”) was a front-end for Operation Overkill II. Its purpose was to render the game’s interface instantly for users who had slow modems. It also offered optional SoundBlaster sound effects.

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A different way to play, part 2: Pit Terminal

This is the second installment in my series “A different way to play” about front-end clients for BBS door games.

Pit Terminal

A session of “The Pit” as seen in PitTerm.

James Berry’s The Pit was an action game in which players could fight each other in gladiatorial combat. In the normal ANSI version of the game, the player character and his opponent are each represented onscreen by the symbol Ω, the Greek letter omega, which some players remember today as “the little horseshoe”. The player moves this symbol around the arena using the arrow keys, engaging in close or long-range combat as desired.

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A different way to play: front-ends

This is the first installment in my series “A different way to play” about front-end clients for BBS door games.

Silent. Simple. Social.

I think that’s how most people remember BBS door games. They think of quaint multiplayer, turn-based, text games. The games’ lack of sophisticated graphics, music, and sound effects are probably considered flaws. Their social aspect is remembered fondly — it was door games’ primary advantage and marketable difference over video games in the 1980s and 90s.

Today I’d like to dig deep and consider those “flaws.” How did the limitations of BBS technology shape door games? How did door game authors work around those limitations?

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Tutorial: Telnet to a BBS using a terminal program in the Hatari emulator

A screenshot of ANSIterm running in the Hatari emulator.

I’ve written in the past about my adventures telnetting to BBSes from terminal programs running inside the Hatari emulator. I’ve made some changes in my process and I thought it would be good to explain everything, step-by-step. It’s not for the novice, but it is rewarding.

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Unearthed: Dark Fortress for the Atari ST

The title screen from the Atari ST game “Dark Fortress”

Hey Atari ST fans! Want to play something new?

Today I’m happy to share “Dark Fortress,” a previously unreleased game written by Herb Flower for the Atari ST in the late 1980s.

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Unearthed: My Atari 8-bit cassette tape

Side 1 of an old cassette tape I used to store programs for my Atari 8-bit computers.

Last weekend, I was rummaging through my old Atari ST disks when I came across something I hadn’t noticed in 30 years: A cassette tape for my Atari 8-bit.

As I have recounted before, I used hand-me-down Atari 800s, a 130XE, a 410 program recorder, and lots of other equipment and disks from family members when I was a kid before later graduating to the 16-bit ST series. Alas, I got rid of most of it when I was in college.

But here was this little tape … perhaps my only tangible link to my old Atari 8-bit equipment.

Each side of the tape was only 10 minutes long. What was on it?

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