You're not gonna believe this, but apparently it's true.

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miller6
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You're not gonna believe this, but apparently it's true.

Post by miller6 »

After Eibon proposed a play-by-post game, I checked Wikipedia for RPG play-by-post games to see how far back they go. The article says PBP started in the mid to late 80's when BBS's became popular. That didn't sit right with me since I DMed a D&D play-by-post adventure on a BBS in Milwaukee back in 1983.

For those who like history, BBS's started in Milwaukee/Chicago. I was on some of the earliest public BBS's. I used a TRS-80 Color computer (the earliest model with 4K of RAM, a tape recorder for saving data and a 300 baud modem which you had to dial the phone then flip a switch to get online). My game was hosted on a "COCO" (COlor COmputer) compatible BBS running MS-Basic. The BBS was in Milwaukee (probably Execpc which went on to become the largest BBS in the world...I'm checking to find out for sure since I was on a few BBS's back then).

So, in 1983, I was given my own BBS message board and DMed B5 "Horror on the Hill" as the first PBP ever. After mine, other play-by-posts started up on other BBS's which led to internet PBPs.

Here's the article from Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_tex ... aying_game

And the gaming timeline from Wikipedia (but nothing about PBP's).
http://internetgames.about.com/od/gamin ... meline.htm

Despite fantasy video games being available before then, the possibility of an earlier PBP on a different BBS in a different city is ruled out since BBS's started in Milwaukee and I started PBP's there. Everything fits the timeframe. The computer type. The BBS's. The release date of B5 (which I bought right away and ran online since the gamers were teens and didn't have a ride to my house).

To my surprise, thus far, no one knows of a BBS-based PBP game to predate mine. I'm still checking around, but the evidence so far indicates I started the trend. Ironically, at 15 years old, I didn't think anything of it because I found a group of friends to play D&D with in person instead.

Now all I have to do is get the archives from the BBS for proof. Here's hoping they still have them. Otherwise, I'll remain the most famous person whose name nobody ever knew.
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Post by Ogden Twohorn »

Outstanding, this brings back fond memories of the BBS era...

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Post by Jynx »

Ahhhhh.... the COCO! How I loved my COCO!

And BBS ing too! MAN! What a blast from the past. The internet is cool, but in many ways, BBSing was sooo much more fun - even if it was slower!

Well... your story is quite possibly true. I don't doubt it one bit. CONGRATS on being a pioneer!

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Post by serleran »

I remember playing several real-time type games on my old C-64 2400 baud modem, followed by some Gophering and later, using HyperTerminal and Telnet to access BBSs. Those were the glory days of ASCII, my friends. Glory days.

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Post by Combat_Kyle »

Quote:
After Combat Kyle proposed a play-by-post game

Thanks for the credit but ebion deserves the nod for the pbp game. I am starting a play by chat though. This is strange, all of the grognards talking about computers with 4K of RAM? My cell phone has 64 megs. Did you shake the screen on those computers to erase a mistake? j/k I was born in 1981, if that counts?
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Post by miller6 »

Combat_Kyle wrote:
THis is strange, all of the grognards talking about computers with 4K of RAM? My cell phone has 64 megs. Did you shake the screen on those computers to erase a mistake? j/k

LOL.
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Post by serleran »

Yeah, I remember having an Etch-a-Sketch program for the TRS80, and having to program it to peek and poke, doing small pixel captures for sprite arrays. Ahhh, the good days, when you had a 5 and 1/4" disk, and you had to type Load "Basics.exe",8,1 on a perpetually blue screen or if you were lucky... you had a tape drive, and an external numberpad. Makes me want to hook my old crappies up!

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Post by miller6 »

serleran wrote:
Yeah, I remember having an Etch-a-Sketch program for the TRS80, and having to program it to peek and poke, doing small pixel captures for sprite arrays. Ahhh, the good days, when you had a 5 and 1/4" disk, and you had to type Load "Basics.exe",8,1 on a perpetually blue screen or if you were lucky... you had a tape drive, and an external numberpad. Makes me want to hook my old crappies up!

Peek and poke, point, line, circle and arc...and you could even color them in and use timer to control the screen refresh rate...then upgrade your ram to 16k and watch it flicker like mad until you reconfigure the timing.
Remember "Pyramid"? (the COCO version of "Collosal Cave"). "Open cage"...the bird attacks and drives off the snake! Finally, I can go down the steps.
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Post by rabindranath72 »

miller6 wrote:
Peek and poke, point, line, circle and arc...and you could even color them in and use timer to control the screen refresh rate...then upgrade your ram to 16k and watch it flicker like mad until you reconfigure the timing.
Remember "Pyramid"? (the COCO version of "Collosal Cave"). "Open cage"...the bird attacks and drives off the snake! Finally, I can go down the steps.
Brian Miller

Point, line, circle and arc?! What a luxury! True Men used the v2 basic (VIC-20, C64) and used trigonometry and linear algebra to draw shapes
Cheers,

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Post by Omote »

Ahh, the TRS-80, now that brings back some memories...

.......................................Omote

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Post by Plaag »

Omote wrote:
Ahh, the TRS-80, now that brings back some memories...

.......................................Omote

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Any one then happen to remember this: http://www.acaeum.com/jg/Item0100.html

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Post by Ogden Twohorn »

They were requiring 16k of RAM?! How dare they! I never had a TRS-80 myself (I was an Apple ][+ guy), but a friend did, I don't recall him having that one though.

I used to dream about getting one of those Timex-Sinclair "computers", but even back then, 2k?!? Yikes! It was just so small and cute though...lol.[/quote]

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Post by Moorcrys »

I remember waiting for those cassettes to load...

I started on the old Atari 400.

You know, the one without the actual keys on the keyboard? It had a flat sheet of platic with the letters and numbers drawn on.

I loved it.
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Post by Rhuvein »

Combat_Kyle wrote:
Thanks for the credit but ebion deserves the nod for the pbp game. I am starting a play by chat though. This is strange, all of the grognards talking about computers with 4K of RAM? My cell phone has 64 megs. Did you shake the screen on those computers to erase a mistake? j/k I was born in 1981, if that counts?

Hehe, the screens were television sets, usually! Oh, and I bought my first computer in 1982!
Commodore VIC 20, with a 6502 processor (5K RAM, but only 3.5 of it was useable) and a cassette drive. I picked up a 300 baud modem and began my online existence. Bulletin boards and Compuserve were great ways to learn and get help with computing exactly like the internet is today. Heck you could order software online and send e-mails on Compuserve.

I'm remembering 2 guys that were big in the BBS world here in Chicago, Ward and Randy.

I later purchased a Commodore 128, with color monitor and floppy drive and began gaming which I still do today.
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Post by miller6 »

Plaag wrote:
Any one then happen to remember this: http://www.acaeum.com/jg/Item0100.html

ShaneG.

Played that a zillion times. In one version, I always liked finding the planet where you could beam down and it became a text-based adventure game.
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Post by miller6 »

Ogden Twohorn wrote:
They were requiring 16k of RAM?! How dare they! I never had a TRS-80 myself (I was an Apple ][+ guy), but a friend did, I don't recall him having that one though.

I used to dream about getting one of those Timex-Sinclair "computers", but even back then, 2k?!? Yikes! It was just so small and cute though...lol.
[/quote]

Was it grey? If so it was a COCO model 1 like the one I had. First ones were 4k...we upgraded to 16k later. After that, they changed them to white for the model 2 and upped the ram again...and added "extended basic" which provided more graphics capabilities.

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Post by gideon_thorne »

Quote:
I used to dream about getting one of those Timex-Sinclair "computers", but even back then, 2k?!? Yikes! It was just so small and cute though...lol.

Hey! I had one of those!
Talk about flash backs.
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Post by Mike Frank »

Rhuvein wrote:
..snip..

Commodore VIC 20, with a 6502 processor (5K RAM, but only 3.5 of it was useable) and a cassette drive. I picked up a 300 baud modem and began my online existence. Bulletin boards and Compuserve were great ways to learn and get help with computing exactly like the internet is today. Heck you could order software online and send e-mails on Compuserve.

..snip..

That was my first computer too. The first program I wrote was an AD&D character generator. It was really just a stats roller with an equipment pick list.

Things came full circle last winter when I designed a v6502 in VHDL.

I remember a game called aztek challenge that I liked a lot. Trek was also a favorite.

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Post by PeelSeel2 »

Combat_Kyle wrote:
Thanks for the credit but ebion deserves the nod for the pbp game. I am starting a play by chat though. This is strange, all of the grognards talking about computers with 4K of RAM? My cell phone has 64 megs. Did you shake the screen on those computers to erase a mistake? j/k I was born in 1981, if that counts?

Bastard!!
Grognard?! ARRGGGHHHH I hate it when labels fit! Although I do not grumble......too much.....

The Vic 20!!
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Post by miller6 »

The longest PBP I ever ran was for a new gaming system I wrote called "Energy Wars". It ran for a year then I download the entire board which made a .doc 375 pages in length. I edited it down to a 220 page script, planning on turning it into a book, but never got around to finishing up the conversion.

I learned the hard way that PBP's convert poorly to book format (i.e. plot sequencing issues caused by players making enteries at different time intervals, lack of a single main character, changes in tense and from 1st to 3rd person point of view, differences in writing styles...not to mention all the typos and spelling errors).

Now, a movie script...that's much closer to the way a PBP is originally written (with the DM acting as narrator). There's probably hundreds out there that would've made a better script than the one they used for Dungeons and Dragons the movie.

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Post by Thulcondar »

Hey, my TRS-80 (aka the "Trash 80") had 16 k of RAM. I sprang for the extra box.

Although I must point out that PBM games have been around since significantly before 1983. I was playing Schubel & Son's "Starmaster" since 1982 at least, and went on to work for the company that ended up owning it, KSK Concepts. Before that, they were running a fantasy game called Tribes of somethingorother.

Can't speak to the BBS thing specifically; that flourished in a sweet niche before the Internet was able to blossom, back when Compu$erve was charging $12.50 an hour.

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Post by miller6 »

Indeed there is some confusion in the area of PBeMs...

Basically, the origin of PBeM (play-by-email games) which started in the mid to late 1980's is debatable. The first commercial PBeM was in 1989. The first amateur one is unknown.

Possibilitiy #1) PBeM rose from earlier postal-based PBM games, some of which tracked players moves by having someone enter everyone's decisions in a computer program. I never played a PBM so Thulcondar since you know the topic, your insight would be appeciated. My comment that PBP's led to PBMs shoud've read PBeMs. Thanks for noting the difference.

Possibility #2) PBeM games were originally BBS-based (see Wikipedia link) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_tex ... aying_game. No references to PBeM games prior to the mid 1980's.

Possibility #3) PBeM games were orginally ARPANET, USENET or FIDONET based.

ARPANET was started by the government and was the first network of remotely connected computers used for scientists at research institutes and universities to share access to software on more powerful mainframe computers across the nation. Transfer of information was common, but I've found nothing about PBPs or PBeMs from the 80's decade or earlier.

USENET started in 1979 but as of yet, I haven't found evidence of PBPs or PBeMs prior to the formation of a newsgroup in 1987 and even then the groups on the Usenet were more combined fiction authoring than actual play.

FIDONET (BBS's linked together) didn't exist until 1984 at which time it's likely that PBPs and PBeM's spread at a rapid rate.

Possibility #4) Commercial online services (i.e. Compuserve and others). Around in the early days, no evidence of PBPs or PBeMs prior to the BBSs. They were very expensive which made them more likely to be used for business purposes.

Since the origin of PBeM gaming is in question, I refine my claim to only include the first BBS PBP game. I removed the reference to PBMs in my original post (which should've read PBeM anyway), thus leaving it for others to decide whether PBPs led to PBeMs. Thus far I haven't heard about a PBeM prior to my PBP, but I'll keep checking for any new info I can find.

Thanks for bringing that up. The more details the better.
Brian Miller

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Post by serleran »

Anyone ever play one of those Play-by-Mail (this being before the advent of email) games, like the ones featured in Dragon Magazine? I never got a chance to, as I couldn't just ask my mom for stamps to send out "devil packages" (yeah, that's what she called 'em), nor could I receive them, since she'd open anything that came to me. Anyway... just curious.

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Post by alijoseph »

Very informative thread on nice cameras and hard disks.

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Re: You're not gonna believe this, but apparently it's true.

Post by Revturkey »

Hi, with all this talk of the TRS 80...

I wrote a piece of music (I sell tunes for licensed use) inspired by my memories of these old machines and the like.

I'm not in any way trying to sell it you or promoting my business but I just wanted to share it with you as it seemed relevant to this discussion. I'm new here so please don't get upset with me if I crossed a line here...I'm not spamming, I have my C&C books and started gaming in 1980 :)

https://youtu.be/bgEpTq1koh0

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