Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ten years of Break Into Chat!

Ten years ago, editors on Wikipedia began deleting articles about BBS door games. In response, I forked all the door game articles onto a brand-new website. I called it “Break Into Chat”.

My original goal was to preserve and expand the articles. They needed better sourcing, better writing, more screenshots. I researched and added references. But even in their heyday, BBS door games were never covered in depth.

There were so few detailed interviews or stories about BBS door games or the people who created them. I realized it was a gap I could help fill by tracking down the games’ creators and interviewing them, sharing my own memories, and collecting others’ thoughts.

So for 10 years, I’ve been writing and interviewing and exploring.

I hope BiC has brought you some joy over the years — and if it has, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Do you enjoy my retrocomputing stories on Break Into Chat? Please join my email list and stay in touch. 📬

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Thinking about Jadzia, C.G., and our ephemeral digital lives

Synchronet creator Rob Swindell recently shared some sad news: longtime BBSer C.G. Learn died earlier this month.

I didn’t know C.G. very well, but we interacted occasionally over the years on Dovenet, a message network for Synchronet BBSes. But I’ll never forget one kind gesture that C.G. extended to me after my daughter died in 2020, at a moment when I was trying to capture any fragments of memory, any evidence of her short time on earth.

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Remembering the S.O.S. — the Spoiler-Free Opinion Summary

This screenshot shows the S.O.S. homepage as it exists today.

Today, Sept. 24, is the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Spoiler-Free Opinion Summary. The S.O.S. was a crowd-sourced ratings database, born in the early 1990s, which deserves to be remembered. I wrote this blog post to celebrate the anniversary. Also, don’t miss my interview with Joe Reiss.

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Appreciating the physicality of floppies

As I continue imaging and curating a collection of Apple II software I received last year, I have an increased appreciation for the importance of preserving physical floppy disks.

Multiple labels and overwriting are visible in this scan of an old 5.25″ floppy disk.

I have a floppy which contains a copy of a game called “Nosh Kosh.” To preserve the game digitally, Keith Hacke created a “disk image”, which in this case is a .DSK file that can be played in Apple II emulators.

Hopefully these digital disk images will endure online and in archives long after the last magnetic particles have flaked off the original physical floppy.

But the floppy still has important physical artifacts, particularly the labels.

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“Creaks” scene 45: Goat glitch

This screenshot shows the player character on top of a glitched goat in Scene 45 of “Creaks.”

I have long loved playing games by Amanita Design with my kids, particularly “Machinarium.” They create such stellar worlds with interesting characters, without a single word of intelligible dialogue.

So it was like Christmas in January when I read on Twitter that Amanita had released a game called “Creaks” in 2020, and somehow I had missed the news.

I downloaded it and played through it with my son. It’s a wonderful game: eerie and detailed, with fun puzzles. I managed to solve all the puzzles myself except one.

The game has been out for quite a while, so I’m not going to review it, but I did want to share a glitch/bug that I came across while playing Scene 45.

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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.



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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