[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Online Gaming, 1992 Style

May 5th, 2008 by Benj Edwards

GEnie Online Gaming Service AdAn excellent source of FDA Certified non-GMO 100% organic, free-range people.

Tired of trouncing lifeless, boring computer chips in your games? Then you’ve come to the right place. Here at GEnie, our entire subscriber base is clinically insane and writes exclusively in crayon. Signing up is easy. Here’s how:

1. Set your modem for half duplex (local echo) at 300, 1200, or 2400 baud.

2. Dial toll free — 1-800-638-8369. Upon connection, enter HHH.

3. At the U # = prompt, enter XTX99316, VideoG92 then press RETURN.

4. Have a major credit card or your checking account number ready.

Make sure you get step #3 exactly right, or you might end up one kidney short after accidentally subscribing to Nigerian Cyber Exchange.

[ From Video Games and Computer Entertainment, November 1992 ]

Discussion topic of the week: When was the first time you played a computer game over a modem or computer network? Describe your experience.

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20 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Online Gaming, 1992 Style”

  1. Jay Says:

    Despite having had a computer since I was 6, I think my first actual experience with true online gaming was in college, 1997, courtesy of a little MMO space shooter which I’m pretty sure was called Subspace.

    I fondly remember logging on while working as a computer lab monitor, minutes after the Cleveland Indians had eliminated the Baltimore Orioles from the postseason on an extra-innings home run given up by O’s pitcher Armando Benitez. A few minutes after getting started, I was quickly blown up by someone going by the handle “ArmandoBenitezDie”.

    Ah, fond memories…

  2. Guyjin Says:

    I don’t remember exactly what game it was, but probably a BBS door game at my friend’s house in the early 90s (1994?)

    Legend Of the Red Dragon is the only one I actually remember now.

  3. logtar Says:

    It was back in 1996 when it was a little more advanced and the interwebs were beginning to catch fire. The game was Warcraft II and you could do the modem to modem gaming.

    Now that Xfire makes it super easy to jump into a multiplayer game we forget the exchange of IPs we had to do back in the day… oh the joys of NATS.

  4. Jim Ulrich Says:

    I was playing Command and Conquer via modem around ’96.

  5. Layne Says:

    2400 Baud modem hooked up to either a 386SX or a 286 8/12 switchable (why would I take it out of turbo mode?) — I don’t remember which. It was a lot of PCBoard and Silverlight(?) boards and various multiplayer games. I would have to guess it was in the early 90’s (I remember having an AOL 1.0 disk with the free month, no CC needed).


  6. Layne Says:

    Oh, and during my free month of AOL 1.0, I chatted with someone that was something like JennyTV…….I didn’t realize until a couple of years later that I was being flirted with by Jenny Transvestite (the actual name wasn’t Jenny, but the effect was the same)……I was living “To Catch a Predator” before it was as well known.


  7. Jim McBride Says:

    My first online gaming experiences were on a Commodore 64 BBS called Fred’s Funny Farm in my town. He had a few great games up there, one being a Risk clone. I remember being hated at some of those games because I trounced a lot of other players with my online nom-de-game Suspiria.

  8. Wardan Says:

    My first was LORD around 1990 or 91. The next was Meridian59. I still love to PK to this day.

  9. SirPaul Says:

    Ah, online gaming.. I think my first one was a MUD called Allanthya, back in 1994 or 1995. It was a good MUD, and I have yet to find one with as good an interface as it.

  10. Zoyous Says:

    I played a couple of BBS door games in the early 90s, but it wasn’t a very compelling experience for me. Later on around ’98 or so, I played Interstate ’76 online and it was a revelatory experience after having been out of gaming entirely for several years.

  11. Kitsunexus Says:

    Tom Hanks wants to rip my lungs out?

  12. Dylan Says:

    In 1992 my friday nights were spent trying to dial a BBS called Abandoned Land. I don’t remember any online games, but I do remember some crazy shareware games that you could download like DUI where you had o hit moving dots that represented pedestrians and Bouncing Babies where you had to bounce babies thrown from a burning building into an ambulance…I played that game for hours. Had I known about GEnie at the time, I’m pretty sure I would have stolen my parents credit card to gain access and dropped out of the seventh grade to pursue online gaming as a full time occupation. I could have been like the guy in the GEnie ad when I grew up… Where did I go wrong?

  13. Geoff V. Says:

    Duke Nukem 3D. Oh god. I remember putting 100 pipe bombs around the only health pack and blowing guys to kingdom come.

    My cellmate and I agree that violent video games have little to no impact on impressionable minds.

  14. Benj Edwards Says:

    Yeah, Kitsune. Tom Hanks.

  15. Captain Angry Says:

    Doom back in 94. “Try setting your modem to Hayes Compatable…”

    After that I played duke3d and Warcraft II with a buddy from my high school. He bought Diablo and didn’t like it and sold me the copy, I got on BattleNet and it was all downhill from there.

  16. Jim Ulrich Says:

    It looks like Colin Mochrie from Who’s Line is it Anyway.


  17. Benj Edwards Says:

    From now on, we should just call him “The GEnie Guy.” I wonder what he’s up to these days?

  18. Layne Says:

    I would have said that I’ve seen that guy before, but I think you have it spot on, Jim.

    Supporting Evidence:
    Has had the same hairline as “The GEnie Guy” – http://www.ukgameshows.com/atoz/programmes/w/whose_line/wliia3.jpg
    Dimples/mouth wrinkles/brow wrinkles are similar – http://www.freewebs.com/the_improv_zone/colin.jpeg
    His teeth even look similar – http://www.colinmochrie.com/index.cfm click on “Colin”, near the bottom, click View Colin Photos, look at row 2, number 3 for best view.

    The last link was his web page, doesn’t really say much about what he’s doing, but it’s touring (An evening with Colin and Brad).


  19. Ghazban Says:

    My first online game would have to have been P-51 Mustang on the Coco back in 1984-1985ish. No internet, no GEnie, no BBS – just modem-to-modem. It was totally awesome and completely expensive, what with all the long-distance charges.

    My dad still believes that somehow you can dial a computer number (local) and it will forward you to a different number (long distance) – somehow the phone company told him this!


  20. Dylan Says:

    I heard the GEnie guy died while playing Battle Tech, but before he drew his last breath, his soul was sucked into the bowels of his XT and he now lives on in a Tron-like environment where he still suffers from bitter beer face.

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