Tag Archives: bbs

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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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!

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?

“On The Media” revisits a BBS “ghost town”

As a journalist, I listen regularly to NPR’s On The Media program. Imagine my surprise and delight when a fellow journalist sent me a link to OTM’s TLDR podcast from yesterday in which one of the program’s producers revisits his old BBS stomping grounds.

The board was M-net, a large chat system that’s still running today — though nothing like it was in its heyday.

Please give this segment a listen, and be sure to let OTM know you appreciate their coverage of this important tech history topic!

Via OTM

Hollie Satterfield, creator of “Space Dynasty”

What does it take to get published? How about a deranged TRS-80 Model I that has taken over a lunar colony? That did the trick for Hollie Satterfield in 1983, when 80 Micro magazine published his computer program “Attack of the TRS-80.” Afterward, he embarked on a career as a programmer analyst — and along the way, he created a popular BBS door game: Space Dynasty.

I shared some thoughts about Space Dynasty yesterday. This interview was conducted by email Feb. 16 through Oct. 18, 2013.

You can follow Hollie Satterfield on Twitter: @thathollie

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Space Dynasty memories

They say first impressions are everything. That seems to have been true for teenage me when I tried Hollie Satterfield’s BBS door game Space Dynasty — and wrote it off.

But first impressions are often wrong.

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Birthday screens using GIF -> ANSI converters

Earlier this year I set up my very own Synchronet BBS. I had been a cosysop for many years as a kid, but I never had my own BBS on my own hardware.

My little BBS is a private one for me and my kids. My oldest daughter uses it the most.

As we got deeper into summer, I thought it would be fun to make some special ANSI birthday screens for my daughters to see when they logged in.

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Kevin MacFarland, creator of “Assassin”

From writing tic-tac-toe in BASIC as kid to creating the classic BBS door game Assassin, computer engineer Kevin MacFarland remembers his past life as the “C Monster.”

Assassin was of one my favorite role-playing games as a teen, so it was exciting to get in touch with MacFarland and discuss his game. This interview was conducted by email Mar. 2 through May 14, 2013.

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Assassin memories

Title screen of the PC version of 'Assassin.'

Title screen of the PC version of ‘Assassin.’

A man cloaked in black approaches thee …

“I see thou art new in these parts. Have ye come to join?” he asks.

“Yes,” I answer.

I watch as the man chants. Slowly the individual words flash on my screen: “Creare” … “an” … “vita” … “Irata!”

And so another assassin is born.

As a teen I thought this was a fun way to begin a game. The archaic grammar, the Latin spell, the medieval setting, everything. Many years later, I still find Assassin by Kevin MacFarland a great game to play.

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Visualizing 314: The directories, the data, and the caveats

This is the final part of a three-part series.

In this post I’m going to discuss Fire Escape’s BBS directory formats, the directory parser and the dataset; I’ll also give some caveats about this data.

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