Note: This website is no longer being updated with new posts.
Still, it documents an important time in our lives, so we're leaving it on the internet for posterity.

The Golden Age of BBSs

ASCIIAh, the heyday of the BBS. It was 1993, and I was living in Maine. Though I had seen online services like Prodigy and Compuserve a year or two earlier, the area we lived in had no local access phone numbers, so we were out of luck. I was consumed by 2600 magazine and the Cult of the Dead Cow text files, and spent much of my after school time alternating between wardialing, fiddling around with the Lexis-Nexis password I had found while dumpster diving, and making pipe bombs. This was all pre-Columbine, and so my black trenchcoat and sociopathic interests didn’t raise too many alarms, at the time. Through my dialing efforts, I managed to find my first BBS, and at last, I had a connection through my computer to the online world.

All of a sudden, from a rural bedroom with cows right outside the window, I had access to other kids like myself, all scrolling through Hyperterminal one line at a time. I could download games. I could share text files. I could talk to other people, and I could be anyone I wanted to be. I made friends. I downloaded my own BBS software, and spent countless hours setting it up, desperate to become SysOp of my own board.

My BBS never saw the light of day, though. As it turned out, the BBS I was dialing into WAS a long distance number, and the minute my parents got their first $1600 phone bill, my BBS and computer access was cut off.

That is, until the day I discovered that, through climbing through the drop-ceiling panels in the game room of the Samoset, a local hotel, I could access their internal phone lines. A laptop, some alligator clips, and a modified PCMCIA modem would grant me limited access to the BBS I loved, but it was certainly less convenient, and really gave me only enough time to say goodbye to the friends I had made.

Here is a collection of 1500+ ASCII load screens from the golden age of BBSing. Enjoy the memories.

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