In the days of IBM PC-Compatibles and CGA graphics, someone conceived of doing something useful with MIDI. It's a music protocol. I'm talking about something useful besides making music.

This is in the days when I ruled the roost with my dad's Atari/ST 520. My friends would come to my place to play the latest games, because all they had was ybaby and a really crappy version of Epyx's Summer Games. I had Gauntlet II and Battle Chess. Mad graphics and pretty decent sound. Better than Nintendo. 256 colors, or something.

This is in the days of BBSs and the 400-baud modem. The Atari/ST came equipped with not one, but two MIDI ports built into the side (the wrong side), ostensibly to facilitate electronic music. The often-forgotten cartridge port was on that side as well. The other side (the right side) had the joystick and mouse ports, plus (sometimes) the disk drive -- seeing as there was no hard drive, that was where you spent most of your time. But I digress.

This is in the days of Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt. Someone made a game called "MidiMaze". It closely resembled a later game for the Super Nintendo called "Faceball 2000". Floating faces, mazes. Some clever programmer had figured out how to hook up two Atari/STs with MIDI cables and transfer the game info in real time, pretty fast. Pseudo-3D (a la Doom). And this was in, like, 1988.

This is in the days before 3Com and and all that crap, and I had multiplayer gaming! Right in my own bedroom, with the Sesame Street bedspread and the Tinkertoys all over the place. In those days, I looked way down on PC tinkerers, because all the real action was on the Atari/ST, with back issues of Antics magazine and a lot of hacked games on floppies. We had a rogue port. And our ST didn't bother with those big flimsy black disks. To this day I've never owned a 5.25" floppy drive. MIDI was a whole world of floating happy faces and multiplayer carnage. That's how cool I was.

Then ten years later, I played a lot of Quake on a 28.8 kbps modem, with people who were actually downtown and in other towns, and I wasn't very cool anymore. Plus, one of my dumb friends hooked me up with ScreamTracker and I didn't think too much about MIDI after that.