The Lost Civilization of Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems

November 7th, 2016 by Benj Edwards

The Cave BBS Logoff ANSI by Nukemaster

Last Friday, The Atlantic published an article I wrote in which I explore modern-day dial-up BBSes.

Some of you may remember that I've visited this topic before — on this very blog — way back in 2006. In my recent virtual travels, I found it very interesting to see how things in the dial-up BBS space had changed over ten years, and I allude to that in my Atlantic article.

I've mentioned this many times before, but for those of you who are unfamiliar, I ran a dial-up BBS called "The Cave BBS" between 1992 and 1998. Since 2005, I have also run a telnet version of The Cave.

To read more about my BBS adventures, check out the "BBS History" category on VC&G.

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[ Retro Scan ] DWANGO Online Service

February 16th, 2016 by Benj Edwards

DWANGO Quake Doom Online FPS multiplayer online server Advertisement Scan - 1998Looks real to me

DWANGO, which stood for "Dial-up Wide-Area Network Game Operation," was an online matchmaking service that specialized in FPS games like Doom and Quake. It has a fascinating history that you can read about more in its Wikipedia article.

I believe I signed up for a free trial of DWANGO circa 1994 so I could play Doom with someone when I was bored, but I don't remember ever getting it working for some reason. Instead, I often played co-op Doom (and later Quake) modem-to-modem with friends who called my BBS.

[ From GamePro, May 1998, p.67 ]

Discussion Topic: When was the first time you played a FPS multiplayer online? How did you set it up? (i.e. modem-to-modem, TCP/IP, services like Dwango)

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Tiger Game.com $10 Rebate

November 30th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Tiger Game.com handheld game console $10 rebate coupon from back of cereal box - 1997-1998I need to start a historical coupon collection

Apparently I ripped this Tiger Game.com $10 rebate coupon off the back of some unknown cereal box around 1997 or 1998. I found it recently in the papers cleaned out from my childhood desk.

The Tiger Game.com seemed like a neat machine when I first read about it — with its touch screen and potential for "Internet access" — but it ended up being a major let-down.

I did eventually get a Game.Com — I could have sworn I got it on clearance at K-Mart or Toys'R'Us (but I didn't mention that in this earlier post)…or maybe it was a birthday present from my dad in 1998. Despite buying many Game.com games over the next few years on clearance, I pretty much only played the built-in Solitaire game on it. But that was fun enough.

I remember thinking something along the lines of "For the price I paid for it, it's a pretty good solitaire machine." So maybe I did get my first Game.com on clearance. It's sad that my memory is fading like this. I can typically remember how and when I got everything in my collection. I will have to look through my papers later and see if I have a receipt for it. That could shed some light on things.

See my previous Retro Scan posts about the Game.com (listed below) for more of my stories about this odd console. It's the only video game console I ever used to call a BBS. Now that's odd.

[ From a random cereal box, circa 1997-1998 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you buy a Tiger Game.Com in the 1990s? What did you think about it?


See Also:
Tiger Game.com (RSOTW, 2010)
Game.com Internet Module (RSOTW, 2012)

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Pro 200 Super Electronic Handheld Gaming System

February 24th, 2014 by Benj Edwards

Protech Pro 200 Super Electronic Handheld Gaming System Catalog Advertisement 1998Plays the 200 variations of Tetris that Pajitnov rejected.

I must admit that I wanted this "Pro 200 Super Electronic Handheld Gaming System" upon seeing it in 1998 — even through I knew it was almost certainly a piece of junk. Not to play it, per se, but to collect it and to admire its gloriously gimmicky nature.

If history is any guide, I'm guessing that the Protech Pro 200 didn't actually ship with 256 (or even 200) built in games. Rather, it likely contained 250 variations on a handful of distinct games — like most "1000-in-1″ cheap off-brand multicarts from back in the day.

16 years since its release, I have still never played the Pro 200, so I can't say if it had any play value. I did find this commercial on YouTube though.

Has anybody out there played one of these?

[ From Spilsbury Puzzle Co., Holiday 1998, rear cover]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What's the cheapest, crappiest piece of video game hardware you've ever bought (think peripherals too)?

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GAME BOY CAMERAS SPAM TRY-POD MOUNTER DEVICES

April 2nd, 2013 by Ulaf Silchov

GAMEBOY CAMERA SPAM TRY-POD MOUNTER DEVICES (Game Boy Camera Tripod)

UPON ONE OF THOSE TIMES, ULAF CREATE TRY-POD MOUNT FOR THE GAME BOY COLORFUL UNIT, THE CAMERAS, WHICH THE MINDS OF NINTENDOGS CREATES SOMETIMES NEAR 1998 (WHAT A MINDS). WITH GREATEST OF THE SKILL, ULAF CARVE FOAM BETWEEN CANS OF THE SPAM (THE FAVORITE AMERICAN FOODS) HOLLOW, INTO HOLE FOR THE HOLDING OF THE GAME BOY CONSUL OF MY MIND.

WORKED WONDER FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHAGRAPHERS OF MY MIND:

GAMEBOY CAMERAS PHOTOGRAPHAGRAPHERS

ULAF PRINT ALL THOSE PHOTOGRAPHAGRAPHERS AND HUNG THEM UPON THE REFRIDGERATE OF ULAF.

BY THE WAYS, DID NOT THE GAME BOY GROWS INTO THE GAME MEN? WHERE DID THAT LITTLE BOY OF GAMING TIME GO? MATURATION AND PUBESCENCE, THAT IS WHERE. AND ABOVE ALL OF THE NOISES IT BECOME DEATH, DESTROYER OF WORLDS AND ATE MY MIND. AHHHHHH.

PERHAP ULAF EATS THE WRONG MUSHROOM.

JUST A QUICK NOTE FROM MY MIND. GO BACK TO LIFE NOW. UNTIL NEXT TIME THIS IS ULAF SAYING BE THE MASTER.

Ulaf Silchov is an expert in video games and computers. He also writes for "Svadlost Weekly" and "The Overachieving Underling Circular."

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Final Fantasy Tactics is 15

January 28th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Final Fantasy Tactics Playstation PS1 PSX Magazine advertisement GamePro May 1998"How to Start the Mother of All Wars"

Fifteen years ago today, Square released Final Fantasy Tactics in North America for the Sony PlayStation. (It's kinda crazy, because I was going to use this scan today anyway, just by chance.)

I remember being excited when this game came out. I'm sure I read a glowing review of it in EGM and recommended it to my brother, who promptly bought it and played it on and off for the next two years. I still have Final Fantasy Tactics' music stuck in my head just from hearing him play the game so much.

The game is a strategic masterpiece, and though I have not played it to completion myself, I appreciate its depth, its music, and I absolutely love its sprite-based graphics and spell effects. The sprite-based nature of FFT alone was something to cheer at a time when most new PSX games were plagued with choppy, low-res polygonal 3D graphics.

[ From GamePro, May 1998, p.70-71 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: In your words, what's so great about Final Fantasy Tactics?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Iggy's Reckin' Balls

October 15th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Iggy's Wreckin' Balls for Nintendo 64 N64 Ad - 1998Oh to travel by rolling over your face with your spherical body.

[ From GamePro, May 1998, rear cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite ball-themed video game? Any balls apply.

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Sex and Violence

June 18th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Deathtrap Dungeon Playstation PC CD-ROM ad -  1998I think they have it backwards.

Amid the recent media hullabaloo that modern video games are sexist and overly fixated on violence, I give you this ad for Deathtrap Dungeon from 1998. That is all.

[ From GamePro, May 1998, p.72 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Graphics quality aside, do you think today's video games are more sexist and violent than games from earlier eras?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Zelda: Ocarina of Time Merchandise

July 30th, 2007 by Benj Edwards
Zelda Ocarina of Time Merchandise
This mini-pamphlet came with my copy of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time back in 1998. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned up recently while going through some old papers. I love the action figures; they'd be worth having now. But what I want to know is, does anyone own the official Zelda pocket watch?

If you use this image on your site, please support "Retro Scan of the Week" by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.

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