Tag Archives: door games

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?

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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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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Austin Seraphin, creator of “Barneysplat!”

Austin Seraphin has been blind since birth and has loved computers since he got an Apple IIe at age 6. In 1993 he released Barneysplat!, one of the zaniest BBS door games ever conceived, in which players try to kill or intoxicate Barney the purple dinosaur and his cast of kids. Today Seraphin works as an accessibility consultant who specializes in making iOS apps more usable to the blind.

As a teen, anti-Barney humor definitely appealed to me and I definitely remember playing Barneysplat!. This interview was conducted by email Feb. 6 through May 6, 2013.

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Joel Bergen, creator of “Global War” and “Global Backgammon”

Joel Bergen learned to program using paper tape in high school, and he’s been fascinated by computers ever since. In 1989, Bergen began adapting popular tabletop games to create his BBS door games Global War and Global Backgammon — all while pursuing a career as a designer at Boeing.

I played Global War as a kid, and years later realized that in doing so I had also learned to play Risk. This interview was conducted by email Feb. 10 through Mar. 18, 2013.

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Global War memories

I was introduced to the board game Risk around 1999-2000 by good friends from my college newspaper, The Current. Most were excellent players, each with a favorite strategy and plan of attack.

Though I had never played the board game before, I discovered that I already knew, more or less, how to play. I had learned years earlier by playing a similar game for BBSes called Global War by Joel Bergen.

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Amit Patel, creator of “Solar Realms Elite”


In 1990, Amit Patel created the BBS door game Solar Realms Elite. In his other life he has worked with programming languages, scientific equipment, data analysis, visualization, geological exploration, simulation of complex systems, economic modeling, maps, trend analysis, artificial intelligence, and web software. He’s now working on interactive reference materials for game developers.

SRE was one of my all-time favorite games. It was my great pleasure, then, to interview Patel about SRE. The interview was conducted by email Jan. 3-27, 2013.

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