[ 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)

8 Responses to “[ Retro Scan ] DWANGO Online Service”

  1. Mat Says:

    At one point when I was about 7-8 my dad took me to work because school was out and I had no guardian or something. He was in the (Australian) RAAF. I saw two grown-ass men playing Doom in the lunch room on computers connected with null cables, with pressed business pants and blue button down shirts with medals/ribbons on them.

    My perception of adults changed that day, for the better.

  2. TNLongFellow Says:

    Duke Nukem over a null modem cable. Was awesome! I can also remember having to tweak modem strings to get my modem to work in DOS (thanks Windows 95) in order to play Quake over the phone lines. That was the Shareware version of course.

  3. SirFatty Says:


    At the time (1993 ish), the company I worked for was small company that did not have a network. I convinced the owner that we needed a network to share files, do a couple coworkers and I installed the 10b2 infrastructure for productivity reasons. In reality it was so we could play Doom, off hours of course. Still, the boss was not too happy about the ulterior motive..

    Also, Windows for Workgroups at the same time. Good times..

  4. V Says:

    Woohoo, new Retro Scan!

    First FPS I played online was Quake over a dial-up modem (28.8 I think). A program called GameSpy would search for servers, and you would choose one based on latency, current number of players, what mods & maps they were using, etc. Like most people playing Quake, I thought the Team Fortress mod was where it was at.

    I believe the first non-FPS game I played “online” (other than MUDs), or rather modem-to-modem was WarCraft II. I had an application that allowed one to customize maps so I built some for my friend and I to use. Because he always liked playing as Orcs and I liked Humans, I’d cheat and give Humans unlimited resources, instant builds, no fog of war, etc. Then I’d toy with him for hours, perfectly countering everything he did without actually destroying him. The next day in school he’d be mad as hell (though he didn’t know I was cheating, just on account of me always appearing one step ahead), and this went on for months. This friend and I ended up losing touch after high school so he never did find out.

  5. Multimedia Mike Says:

    First for me was playing Descent with modem dialup in 1995. It was just before I was heading off to college and a friend was eager to play in multiplayer before I left. So one of us set up host mode and then the other called in and that was my first experience with online multiplayer…

    … and I really haven’t done much with online multiplayer since. Kind of a lone gamer. 🙂

  6. Ant Says:

    I remember Kali and SirDOOM. 😀

  7. Rob Says:

    These are the days i remember fondly. 1993ish, only played single player but when Doom 2 came out, my whole world changed.

    At first I would join chat rooms on AOL and find people to play, sometimes long distance and would dial them. Then came Dwango. The 847 server was amzing and sometime would dial down to the Houston(I think ) one to play with teh big boys. I would play for hours and the Dwango WADs were always the best.

    When we switched over to a real internet provider(not aol) that allowed TCP/IP connections to outside sources, I printed out the 200ish page of Kali and went to work getting it installed and working. My family never understood why I spent so much time learning that and ignoring school work. Soon after I went off to college and we have our networks there but by that time I kind of fell off the multiplayer and bars/parties took over.

    I need to find an old Packard Bell with DOS and SB16. The 16 sounds so different than the 32 emulators.

  8. Organic_Marble Says:

    We also played Doom with a null modem. First game I played over the internet was Descent 2 using kali. That was a lot of fun, playing from Texas with my brother in Maryland.

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