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Missing modality
It occurred to me the other day that once upon a time, before the public Internet, we actually ran some of our games over a BBS! You remember those, don't you? The original Bulletin Board Systems, back before web BB software took over the term?

Back then, with a few personal computers scattered around but no Internet to connect them, some of us would run our own (often purchased) software to let the computers talk directly to one another. The user's computer would call the BBS computer on the phone, using a modem (remember those, with all the funny beeps and whistles?). The BBS computer would answer the phone, ask for a login, and present the dial-in user with a text menu of his choices of things to do.

Back then we had private discussion forums and customized software for running various turn-based games, including old PBM games, wargames, role-playing games, and other fanciful stuff. It was the first step away from the original postal delivery of such games.

Anyhow, the whole concept of private BBS systems seems to have been missed throughout the descriptions hereabouts of the history of PBM gaming, and it deserves to be remembered.
Actually, computer bulletin board (BBS) systems have been mentioned before on the site, here:

Before sampling the lotus of the World Wide Web, in some cases, PBM's game moderators experimented with computer bulletin board systems, or BBSs as they became commonly known. The transition to html and php only worsened the addiction. Technology was the Savior. It would save them all.


I used to love playing VGA Planets as a BBS door game, back during the heyday of computer bulletin board systems. I first encountered the game on a BBS in California, and talked a local BBS Sysop into setting it up to run as a door game on his BBS, the first instance of VGA Planets running as a door game local to my area back in the day, to my knowledge.


I remember with amazement Peter Catling's old DinoWars program for players via email and BBS which gave you all the stats and reports you could possibly need on separate screens prior to submitting your orders. Loved that game.


I have never played Stars!, although I have looked at it multiple times over the years, considering whether to try it or not. I've heard good things about that game, even going back to when I used to play VGA Planets via local computer BBSs.


But yet we loved 'em - why? because they challenged us. They made us feel good when we succeeded and made us try harder when we failed. There were BBS's filled with the equivalent of tutorials - some players took on the role of being tutorials and were worth their weight in gold to the GM, whether they knew it or not.

Sorry, I haven't read the whole forum (and can't see any way to get time to, either), so I appreciate the insight. I was looking primarily at the main web pages, wiki, descriptions of our industry, etc., and didn't remember seeing anything mentioned there (for public consumption and edification).

We might still mention BBSes as part of our "public" historical descriptions of how we got from the old PBM games to the variety of modalities we have today.

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