How are BBS's doing these days?

Back in the olden days, when the internet was just a gleam in the eyes of Senator Al (we’re talking midish 80’s to earliest 90’s), BBS’s were IT. Back in Dallas, I’d log into several local, privately run BBS’s a day for… well, for basically what the internet (exemplified best by this site) does now–only better. I’ve been living the middle of the desert away from any place that has even ever heard of a BBS for nearly a decade now…since I’ve left Dallas, the popular internet has boomed and left me wondering: how has this affected the old-style local BBS communities? Are there fewer now than there used to be? Have they converted into web sites? Are there a few old hard-rock-anarchy “Death Zone” style BBS sites still existing?

I’d try and call one of my old haunts… but it’s been eight or nine years and three computers later…

They’re dying a slow death.

The last of the single-line BBS’s I used to call is closing shop this week. I used to call 10-15 BBS’s on a regular basis, but they slowly disappeared when the sysops couldn’t afford to keep them up or the call volume was down to a trickle.

I think that maybe the X-rated BBS’s are going to stay operating, just in case porno on the net somehow gets regulated away.

The Internet has done to BBS’s what direct-dial long distance calling did to snail-mail letter writing.

Yeah, I used to hang out at some of the BBSes in Chicago, back in the day. I don’t think many are around – most either disappeared or became ISPs, losing their own content and chat areas in the process.

What I’d really like to find are some of the old games from the BBS days, like Barren Realms Elite or Earth. Somehow the hyped up super-graphics-weak-storylines of most games today just don’t satisfy me…

PS - There used to be a couple of guys who maintained a national database of BBS’s. It was up to several hundred the last time I got a ZIP package of theirs. But now, I can’t find anything from them not dated after 1993.

My old company used to make BBS software. When the web took off, it killed the industry. Killed my company, too. Caught me nappin’, it did.

My sales went from thousands per month to zero in less than a year.

Here in Minneapolis, my wife Gloria is the driving force behind the BBS Awareness Campaign, and I pitch in now and then. We work to maintain a current listing of all Twin Cities bulletin boards, and let people know they’re still available to call. Right now there are about 30 boards in the 612/651 local call area. (Not counting porn boards and a few private boards that aren’t open to the general public.)
There are also a respectable number of boards that are telnetted; I believe Gloria has a listing of them from Fidonet. And of course there are any number of sites on the Web that are basicly web-based boards, like this one!

Oh, P.S., on the BBS we run we still have most of the great old door games like Tradewars and Legend Of the Red Dragon.

Yeah, I’ve actually run into a few people on the net that I used to know from the good 'ole BBS days. It’s a small world-wide-web after all. These days most sysops have converted their BBS’s to websites. Either that or they maintain both, with the BBS serving as an extension, usually private, to the website.

“Websites killed the BBS stars”

There are big BBS’s. Most of the modem manf still use them.

I stopped BBSing completely about 2 years ago and haven’t done it seriously for maybe 4.

I guess one of the biggest reasons was not as much that nobody was doing it any more but that a lot of the interesting boards and people went over to the net.

I kind of like the idea that on a BBS the same people are on for a long time. An internet message board is hard to recognize after even 6 months.

Anyone remember the warez groups like INC and TDT? I met one of the members once by fluke.

Tradewars is still better than half the games around right now. Every once in a while I try to find an e-zine called Xcretion by Group Of The Week (GoTW) but haven’t had any luck yet. It used to get passed around BBSes a lot.




Sorry…just miss Legend of the Red Dragon… That game simply rocked…

Kinda miss Tradewars, too, but I was never as good a trader as I was a Thief/Mage/Death Knight.

‘They couldn’t hit an Elephant from this dist…!’

Last words of General John Sedgwick

Awwww, Tradewars… snif miss it. After I stopped operating my own pissant BBS back in Winnipeg, I kept playing Tradewars on my own computer sometimes.

Also, there was a period in the mid-80’s where BBS’s were still going strong, but the internet was still far larger than any BBS, so the BBS’s started providing certain internet services that you could access from various BBS “doors” (at least that’s what I recall them being called). Usenet, email, and ftp were popular ones.

I bet that for a fair number of non-engineer type folks, that was their first exposure to the internet. For us engineer-dweebs, a lot of us had access to the internet since the early 80’s if we worked at a large computer company (your IBM’s and DEC’s and Sun’s and so on). I actually know people who were on the net in the 70’s! I didn’t get here till the early 80’s, but it always annoys me when people say stuff like, “in 1991, before the internet…”, coz probably 85% of the people I know were on the net in the 80’s. Skewed sample, granted…

peas on earth

Don’t get annoyed; the comment was purposefully facetious.

Oh - just to clarify - I didn’t mean I was annoyed at you, although I can see how my comment could be read that way, so I appologize if it came across like that! It was aimed at the mass media.

peas on earth

I was a BBS’er too in the early '90s. One of the things I miss about the BBS idea is its locality. It’s wonderful to have the world at your fingertips through the internet, but it’s nice to be able to share in your own town.

I have good net friends I made in the BBS days whom I never “see” on the net anymore because it’s so big. We were able to chat about local things we experienced in real life in a meaningful way because we were all in the same city. For all the advantages of the net and the benefits of you exemplary folks on the SDMB, you can’t do that for me. Too bad.

Plunging like stones from a slingshot on Mars.

On that last subject, sort of, I’ve looked around and into some of the club and forum hosts on the Web. The geographically specific clubs appear to have very few members and have very few messages posted, as opposed to the topical groups. Several big cities are the only exceptions I’ve noticed. It makes sense to me to use web-based forums to cover local issues but that doesn’t seem to be a popular opinion at this time.

Have you looked into usenet groups? Many medium to large cities have a local usenet group or sometimes several. Some seem seem similar in size and scope to regional BBS system message boards.

Of course, if they get too big they tend to attract net.kooks, but some of 'em are OK.

peas on earth