Hey kiddies!
Commodore64 is back again to bring you some retro, and very close to home news. If you’ve been keeping up with the posts here on _AskTheAdmin_, you’ll see that we’ve mentioned a couple of things about the old school technology of Telnet and BBS’s. Since that article, and in the name of retro gaming, I’ve begun experimenting with whatever Telnet accessible BBSes left out there that are still running and I’ll be reviewing 2 Telnet Terminal emulators for the Windows Mobile 5 operating system using the Cingular 8125/HTC Wizard. I’ve found 1 BBS in particular that I’ll share with the rest of the AskTheAdmin world: The Colossus BBS, which is accessible thru your favorite Telnet app @ bbs.qzwx.com. What interests me the most about this BBS is that it runs off of an original Commodore 64 system, albeit tied in with a newer PC. Also, while doing this wirelessly thru GPRS, I get a good reminder of how dialup was back then, slow and unwieldly, which only adds to the novelty for me. This BBS has all the best games (doors) you can remember from the days of yesteryear. It also seems that this BBS was one of the last Dial-In capable BBS’s, and has just shut down its main phone line because it’s basically not trafficked, nor practical anymore. However everything from the Telnet side is still totally up and running, and although the BBS is practically a ghost town these days, its still fun to rummage around seeing bits and pieces of every memorable aspect of Dial-up BBSing from days of wayback. To add further to the realism of the experience, I’m logging in wirelessly, as stated, using an app written for Windows Mobile called zaTelnet, which is my favorite of the 2 I’ll be mentioning here, simply because of it’s ability to switch encoding, which allows me to correctly display most BBS’s. The light version of this software, which has enough features for the recreational BBSer, has the ability to save and load your various BBS’s allowing for quick retrieval and referencing. As stated, it also allows you to switch encoding, even on the fly, which is clutch simply because most BBS software is running on old platforms, built when there wasn’t really a standard encoding type. Some run on Ansi, some run on UTF-8. Colossus runs on UTF-8 and looks great in zaTelnet. This app also has a simple ping utility, allowing you to test a connection before you connect. The second app, called PocketPuTTYis a free, open source Telnet client for Pocket PC which is worth mentioning. Although it’s not as feature rich and verbose as zaTelnet, its worth mentioning because of the fact that it gives a scrollbar, which zaTelnet does not, and it works well enough, but it doesnt allow you to select the encoding type, therefore Colossus, for example, loads as garbage, like it used to when mom would pick up the phone during a dialup session :) .Pocketputty also supports SSH1 and SSH2 tunneling, though I’ve never tried it, nor do I know what it is. Comments are definitely welcome here.
This article also serves as an invitation. Some of the guys here at _AskTheAdmin_ have begun actively using Colossus, and playing the games. We’d like to invite all of our readers here to join us in some old-school, turn-based, game which i consider to be one of the first pioneering MMORPGS ever made, and I consider just as much fun (you might think I’m crazy) as Oblivion or World of Warcraft is. I’ve played heavily in both of those RPGs and I can safely say i have just as much fun playing the games on colossus. What would be AWESOME is if some of our readers here would join up on Colossus and start a real game of Intergalactic Trade Wars (we’re in Game A). It is also possible that if we get enough people to start using Colossus from our website, we might be able to get an account upgrade for everyone that comes from us. Who knows, my childhood dream of being the sysop of a bustling bulletin board might come true, although i would be totally satisfied being a co or sub-sysop. And if we truly have enough of a following, we’d even go as far as to host our own Bulletin Board System, which would be chock full of games, contests, prizes and you’d always be able to ask ANY tech question.
I’m aware that all these things can be done today in a colorful, Flashy way, but part of me thinks theres still some people out there that share a common past with myself. The late nights, the screechy sound on the phone, and the feeling of reaching out and touching something that can’t be touched, that’s intangible. Something that once was, and gave rise to, an entity much larger then ourselves… The collective…
Peace out peeps, I would love to see everyone whip out their favorite telnet client and relive a little yesteryear with us. Our user names on Colossus are Asktheadmin and Commodore64 respectively, and appropriately. Let’s Play!
I’m the one you used to play Bruce Lee on…
C64
PS watch for the new version of me coming soon to a store near you. And my old pal Amiga isn’t too far behind.
Peace