One year of Break Into Chat


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.

On Nov. 28, 2012, I created The initial idea was that it would be a wiki dedicated to preserving BBS history, particularly BBS door games. Soon afterward, I realized I should add a blog where I could post interviews and other short- and long-form articles about various tech topics.

So, what has been accomplished over that year?

The wiki started with around 25 door game articles which I forked over from Wikipedia. I have rewritten and expanded many of these and added loads of screenshots. I also added 18 brand new articles for games like The Pit, Land of Devastation, Operation Overkill II and Arrowbridge.

I have used the blog to post articles on all sorts of topics: from guides on how to telnet to a BBS using emulators, to demonstrations of VT-52 text animations, to a three-part series that visualized the St. Louis BBS scene. I’ve also discussed retrocomputing from a personal perspective, like thinking about the differences between the art/drawing programs I used as a kid and what my own children use now, or reflecting on 20 years of playing the Atari Jaguar.

I have also posted in-depth reminiscences of five BBS door games, accompanied by interviews with their authors. I’m grateful to Amit Patel (SRE), Joel Bergen (Global War), Austin Seraphin (Barneysplat!), Kevin MacFarland (Assassin) and Hollie Satterfield (Space Dynasty) for participating!

The research and interaction with BBSing folks has been fun. I have gotten a big kick out of it.

It’s hard for me to tell if my work is reaching an audience that cares about it. I think I reached some new folks with the recent Atari Jaguar blog post. It was cool to hear podcaster Hugues Johnson of The Retro League mention us on a recent podcast, saying “So there’s a site called that I’ve never heard about…”

Well, no matter how small the audience, I plan to continue producing new work, promoting it, and hoping people find it.

And the leads me to the future. What’s in store for Break Into Chat?

I am working on several ideas, like an exploration of BBS door game front-ends and the ways people tried to work around the limitations of BBS technology. Of course more interviews are in store.

And maybe this is the year I’ll finally get back some Atari computers. Who knows.

4 thoughts on “One year of Break Into Chat

Share your thoughts!