Virtual Sysop was an early example of a meta-BBS game in which BBS users could simulate what it's like to be a sysop.
New players begin with the bare essentials: an 8 mhz PC XT computer and a 2400 baud modem. The goal of the Virtual Sysop is to attract callers to your virtual bulletin board, as well as find ways to earn money. Doing this requires advertising you board, upgrading your hardware, adding phone lines, answering emails, and more.
Players may have to deal with all sorts of problems, ranging from unhappy users to burglary, hacking and viruses.
Virtual Sysop is multi-player, so players compete against one another to build the best BBS. Players can sabotage each other by various covert actions.
Origins and influences
Virtual Sysop was created in 1991 by Casey Sprangel of the IFX Group. The game was developed specifically for TBBS bulletin boards, and required the TDBS database module. In Dec. 1993, IFX announced it had signed deals with Zone One and Bryant Software to distribute its software, including Virtual Sysop. In 1994, Virtual Sysop 2.0 was announced, priced at $130.
Virtual Sysop was marketed as way to help real-life sysops make money. Sprangel explained in Boardwatch magazine, that the game was designed to keep players "glued to the game", playing over a period of months or years, which could translate to increased subscription revenue for sysops.
In April 1996, Sprangel sold the rights and source code to Tom Faulkner of BBS Consultants, Inc.
Virtual Sysop III
Virtual Sysop III was an unauthorized port of Virual Sysop for non-TBBS systems. VS3 was written by Darryl Perry in 1999. In 2002, Michael Montague of Vagabond Software took over development of the game.
- Bryant, Alan D. (Nov 1994). "Virtual BBS Reality? Pretty Close". Boardwatch. Jack Rickard. p. 35. ISSN 1054-2760. Retrieved 12 Oct 2018.
Over the years, only the ubiquitous Trade Wars has attracted the type of attention normally reserved for more mainline fare, like BBS software itself. But lately, there’s been a great deal of hullabaloo generated over an interesting online game called VSysop, the virtual sysop simulation game.
- "IFX Group 1993 Web Log". IFX Group. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
- "IFX Group 1996 Web Log". IFX Group. Retrieved 12 October 2018.