The birth of “Break Into Chat”

In October 2012 I logged into Wikipedia and found three alerts waiting for me:

  • “Proposed deletion of Space Empire Elite”
  • “Proposed deletion of Space Dynasty”
  • “Proposed deletion of Solar Realms Elite”

Not good, I thought.

In the mid 2000s, I began creating and contributing to Wikipedia articles about several BBS door games I loved and remembered from my youth. I was a casual editor, occasionally throwing in references and citations. Many of the sources I added were later removed: Facts mentioned by game authors in usenet postings, game documentation, etc. These sources were not neutral enough for Wikipedia.

I should not have been surprised, then, when I received those three “proposed deletion” alerts. Yet still, I was.

Here were the beginnings of good articles. They had some sources, although they certainly needed many more. The writing needed to be improved. But to wipe out the articles entirely? The attitude of those Wikipedia editors who hide behind the doctrine of “notability” continues to befuddle me. Jason Scott has written extensively on this topic over the years, and I find myself falling more in line with his thinking.

In any event, I didn’t want the work that had been done on these articles to be lost. So I pre-emptively forked all the BBS door game articles onto my own new wiki: Break Into Chat

I plan to expand these articles over time and add new ones. For instance, I have added a number of screen captures to various articles and I created new article stub about the Atari ST / PC game Assassin

I believe that the genre of BBS door games remains greatly under-researched by historians and academics, compared with similar areas of technology history. I hope that my new wiki will be beneficial for future work on the history of BBSing.

But I can’t do this alone. I welcome contributions that other interested folks might be willing to make.

Can you help find old interviews that will shed light on BBS door games? Do you have a collection of Boardwatch magazines with relevant articles? Share your knowledge!

Join the wiki and let’s get started.

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