Many moons ago I ran a somewhat successful bulletin board system (BBS) called Communication Breakdown. You remember BBS’s right?
For all you newbies out there, BBS’s were the precursor to today’s Internet. People ran computers out of their homes hooked up to their telephone lines, and people would call each other using slow telephone modems to post on message boards, download and upload files, and play games. Many of the good friendships I still have today were made on BBSes in the 1990′s. That was the key difference versus the Internet today: Because you had to use your phone and could easily rack up a huge phone bill, generally you called other boards that were local. Naturally meet ups would often occur and friends were made.
But I’m getting off-topic. One of the bright spots of calling and running boards were things called “door games“. These were simple, text-based (modems, remember!) games that often involved interactions with other people on the same board, playing the same game.
Remember, in the early-to-mid 1990s MMO games like World of Warcraft and Eve were not even possible. Yet, on a BBS people could play against each other on-line before any of us even knew what TCP/IP or a web browser was. Back then, this was pretty mind-blowing stuff.
One of the bright spots of the era was a game called TradeWars 2002. In every conceivable way, this is the great-grandfather to today’s Eve Online. Trading for profit, corporations, alien encounters and building up ships: Tradewars had it all years before Eve was even an idea. Better yet, it was free and you could play it as much as you wanted (unless you ran out of turns for the day!)
A casual discussion came up in the office regarding old BBS stuff, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Tradewars 2002 is still around. Not only is it still around, it’s undergoing active development and has a dedicated following! Of course I had to set it up and start playing it with a couple of my co-workers. It’s every bit as fun as I remember, too.
Give it a shot! Telnet to tradewars.thelinuxfix.com and start playing. We won’t blow you up… too much. You’ll need a terminal (like PuTTY) that can do proper ANSI emulation. I bet “ANSI” is another term you probably haven’t heard in a good 10 years, either!