Tag Archives: tradewars

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.

TWTerm

TWTerm

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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A different way to play: front-ends

This is the first installment in my series “A different way to play” about front-end clients for BBS door games.

Silent. Simple. Social.

I think that’s how most people remember BBS door games. They think of quaint multiplayer, turn-based, text games. The games’ lack of sophisticated graphics, music, and sound effects are probably considered flaws. Their social aspect is remembered fondly — it was door games’ primary advantage and marketable difference over video games in the 1980s and 90s.

Today I’d like to dig deep and consider those “flaws.” How did the limitations of BBS technology shape door games? How did door game authors work around those limitations?

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Gary Martin, creator of “TradeWars 2002”

Gary Martin created TradeWars 2002, “the granddaddy of all BBS games” which has been played by tens of thousands of enthusiasts around the world.

Gary Martin

In this interview, Martin discusses rocking the University of Kansas campus as a DJ, founding Martech Software, and running one of the biggest bulletin board systems. He also describes two tantalizing projects that never came to fruition: “TradeWars 2112” and “Draconis”.

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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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BBS Documentary clip: TradeWars

Here’s a short segment from the BBS: The Documentary where folks discuss TradeWars (There’s also a mention of Legend of the Red Dragon).

I am a big fan of Jason Scott and of the documentary. It was very thorough on many topics, and included wonderful chapters about the artscene and Fidonet among other things. One thing I missed was more about the folks who created BBS door games.

I’m hoping to help add a little bit to that picture with a series of interviews on this blog. Stay tuned.