Roots of the Forum - the BBS
While perusing a Sacred 2: Fallen Angel board this morning, an odd déjà vus moment hit me. The year was 1991 and my warrior was getting
beat on like a rent-a-car in Conan the Cimmerian, a title released by Virgin Interactive. Back then the rage was all about Hint Lines –
a telephone number you could call to get assistance and tips for a respective game. But there was another option that was available to
frustrated gamers – the Bulletin Board System (BBS). This was basically the precursor to what we now know as
The BBS was developed in the late 1970s as a means to allow users to share information, data and to communicate with each other on their
mutually shared passion. Most of these were purely text generated graphical affairs requiring a modem to dial into the host and were not
widely supported in the early days of the internet. A long distance call was often required from your LAN line to connect to these hubs
(usually ran out of a dedicated server in some guy’s basement). You had to be quick – get in, post, get your info and log off.
Dawdling would result in your telephone bill skyrocketing beyond your fiscal means (at least for me). The foundation had been built for
the modern day Forum as we now know it.
Besides the sharing of information, creating communities has always been a goal of the internet. I did not embrace this aspect of the
BBS in its early days – I just wanted the info to defeat Saranj and his entourage of saber wielding bandits in the courtyard of Nanuck.
I was frugal with my discretionary financial resources, which were extremely limited at the time, to fully partake in this aspect of the BBS.
Thank goodness technology has evolved to allow resources like RF Generation, Digital Press, ASSEMblers and the like to provide this integral
goal to be provided for free.
The groundwork first established by the BBS has reemerged countless times during the development of the internet. From Facebook to
Twitter to our favorite bookmarked Forums, the legacy of the BBS still lives on and flourishes to this day. Only time will tell what new
incarnation of the BBS will surface down the road.
CTRL-X <terminating modem connection>