This is almost verbatim from a webpage that a friend of mine had me write for a "BBS Memories" webpage. It's garbage. I know that.
It's all different now. All of it.
BBSing was my life, back then. All my friends were BBSers. I was 13, a geek, and the new kid in school. I had just moved here from another state, had moved there from another state, and before that had moved from another state. So, the fact that you could dial up a BBS, meet a bunch of people, and they were all "new kids" made for a perfect form of socialization for me.
Originally, I had thought that I would wait until I developed some clear thoughts before I would write this text file. You see, something this important should be written well. I tried to write before, but I always ended up wanting to rewrite my words. But, I can accept this text for the pile of shite that it is. See, if I don't write it down, I'll soon forget it.
My first modem was something I had looked forward to for ages. I had heard about them, but hadn't realized what all they could do. My dad picked it up for $10 or $30 or something like that. Something negligible to an adult, but out of my 12-13 year old pocket.
My dad's friend came over to help me get it working. I got it in the machine, but it was a non-"Hayes Compatible." It also turned out to be non-functional, so it was a big disappointment. My dad's friend had left behind a 313 BBS list (one of the earliest Horst Mann lists) which had almost a hundred BBSs. (In its heyday, the 313BBS??.LST had SEVERAL hundred BBS listed). Eventually, feeling pity, he returned with a working 1200 bps modem. (The 2400 had been out for a while, so this was the old modem that the man had upgraded from).
He got me connected to his BBS (don't remember what it was, anymore), had me enter my real name (real names only on his board), and showed me the basics. Eventually, he told me that I should try a local BBS, so I think we tried "The Nuthouse" or some other early BBS. When it asked me for a handle I picked "Glorfindle the Blue" with no deliberation or thought. My dad and his friend were convinced that I'd never remember it, but what they didn't know is that it was the main character from a story which I had been writing for the longest time.
I got caught up in the TAG clique, eventually. I became a Co-SysOp of a few boards, actually helped them out in a few cases. I got mildly elitist after I stopped being excluded from those cliques, myself. It was amazing. One of the guys that I met in those days is the same guy who got me my current job. And the boss at my first job had logged onto the BBS (The Quest for the Holy Grail) that I eventually set up. So did my wife's brother (Swifty), my wife's boyfriend at the time (Shadow), as well as a few others. When I discovered Telegard, and the fact that the author was wiling to add a feature that I suggested, I moved to Telegard for my own BBS. I pretended to know enough Pascal to be able to help with Telegard development... in fact, one of my small contributions to the source code is still in the Renegade BBS source code (The "wake up the user with lots of beeps" button - I was a chatty SysOp.)
When the history is compressed into a paragraph like that, though, it totally loses the feel of the length and depth of the whole BBS era for me. I can't BBS anymore, really. One of the BBSs that I logged onto in college is still running, to this day. Legion HQ (telnet to lhq.com) isn't the same as when I was an avid user. I even tried running a BBS out of my dorm room (and just never received phone calls) called The Peculiar Thirst (with a vampire theme). I can't accept that I've changed, since I still feel that community on the mud that I run, Vincent's Hollow (telnet to vhdev.com 1991). Something about the proximity of the users to each other. I mean, when you logged onto Web of Dreams and hung out there talking to people, you actually COULD meet these people face to face. We did all the time. We hung out at the pizza place, once in a while. Vito's eventually stopped serving us because so many people would show up at one time. And it wasn't ALL about meeting people, I still feel connected to a few BBSers that I've never met in person. It was just the promise of being able to meet them at some point in time, or the fact that some of you had met.
The Web can't reproduce the regionality of it all. Or at least, it hasn't reproduced it. The only reason the MUD that I log on has that same feeling is that so many people from it do meet up every Halloween. They trek out to Iowa and hang out for a Halloween party amidst the cornfields. A friend of mine ended up moving out to Iowa (Lesmorte). And my roommate (Mordock) is another mudder that we've met in person, from another mud.
Ask me, someday, use specific incidents. I can remember incidents. But, the whole feeling is pretty much gone. I don't have that sense of community anymore. Not anywhere.
I guess you can look at my web page, too.
The links in the post:
- My webpage: http://www.deathsdoor.com/sabby
- Vincent's Hollow: telnet://mud.vhdev.com:1991
- LHQ: telnet://lhq.com