Here’s a little tidbit for you young’uns who might be tuning into this little blog o’ mine.
Did you know that there were online games before the Internet existed?
When I was a lad (old man joke, oh crumbs there goes the hip, we’re walking, we’re walking) there were these little dial-up places called Bulletin Board Systems, or BBSs. This was long before anything resembling DSL existed, to say nothing of cable or fiber optics running into people’s homes. So one would dial into the BBS’ on-site modem (and if you only had one phone line, someone would need the phone ten seconds after you try dialing) and look at postings of news, jobs and whatnot. BBS setups also had something called ‘doors’.
A ‘door’ was less a physical portal and more the launching point for an on-line game. Of the many that got started back in the late 80s, one in particular not only stands out in my mind but is also played to this day: Trade Wars.
Last year PC World called it one of the greatest PC games ever. I’m hard-pressed to disagree. With simple text displays and ASCII art, Trade Wars would unashamedly eat up hours of my time, with commodities trading, space combat and interaction with other players. You know, the sort of thing that happens in EVE Online but without having to mine asteroids (at least not that I remember). The fact that this sort of game structure has survived into the graphical MMOG era not just as EVE but also as online and hosted versions of the old Trade Wars engine itself is a testament to the longevity and appeal of its simplicity. It doesn’t get much simpler than “Buy stuff for cheap, shoot anybody trying to shoot you, sell stuff for profit, 40 goto 10”.
I might look into finding a way for Blue Ink Alchemy to play host for a Trade Wars game of its own.
If people would be interested in playing, that is.