Video I Made Using Segments From "bbs The Documentary"

Around the same time I watched this documentary, while enjoying the music, I felt it would have been better served if there was a song that actually used actual modem connect negotiating sounds as instruments.

I created this song and took out some snippets from the movie and have certain information slides/anims that are shown with my song.

The link is at the bottom…

Wow - could I be any more of a dork? Perhaps, but read on…

Anyways the movie tells the history of bulletin board systems, before the modern day world wide web we have grown so accustomed to since the early to mid 90s.

The film also has sections on ANSI art and interviews prominent people who used to release art packs, hacking and phreaking and again figures from the scene, the individual who created FIDO net, xmodem, punter protocol, I mean just so much information.

It actually made me cry. A great part of my childhood was spent hanging out on boards. Getting pissed when I heard that busy signal and just kept trying to redial over and over until I could connect and see what I could add to the current flame war or see if anyone was beating me at my favorite door game.

For the older members here who remember these times from the very early 80s to the early 90s then you have to see this film.

c64 Messiah - 300 Reasons Video 24 megs

Damn, this library computer won’t play this avi because of codec. I did go to youtube though and found the bbs documentary. Cool documentary though, brings back memories. I liked how they even touched on the pronounciation of sysop hahaha
If you put your video you made on youtube or google video etc let me know

I uploaded it to youtube.

The only reason I didn’t share the youtube link is because youtube is awful in terms of how it limits audio and it’s very tough to hear the high pitched modem noises.

Here is the youtube link.

I appreciate your interest -

c64 Messiah

That was pretty nice. A soothing soundtrack to some nostalgic clips.

Where can I see the actual film? I ran a BBS with Fidonet (and other local message networks) back in the day.

I was “Vernarchy”

Orion BBS 14V32b B 57 85 10 59 BBBS 01

in 1995. :D

486sx-25 16mb ram 200mb HD running: dos/4dos/telex/bbbs

Wow nice video, nice soundtrack…

Thanks a lot for sharing the whole thing, it is very appreciated, I love it.

only one thing… the end of the song is f****ed up… you should have let the black screen just a bit longer… just to end the song corectly… or… was it wanted like that?

thanks for bringing my interest into this documentary.

Congratulations with your music video. Very nice!

Thank you! I was so amazed when Fido came out. This documentary is especially interesting because it discusses the evolution of Fido with a lot of commentary from the gentleman who started Fido and maintained the node list. He explains how daunting of a task it was when it became so massive.

It has guys who programmed the punter protocal and so many other interesting things.

Here is a link -

It might be floating around via p2p I would imagine as well.

I agree… I did f**k up the end. I should have let the black appear longer. I will eventually redit and reupload. Thank you for pointing this out.

Hehe, good one :) Enjoyed a journey back in time there! Simple but effective.

nice work trepain. i watched the entire BBS documentary a couple of years ago. a friend of mine dared me that i wouldn’t be able to watch the whole thing because it’s so long, but i had no problem sitting through it all, it was fascinating and brought back a lot of memories.

i usually get wistful about the BBS days about once or twice a year, DAMN YOU TREPAIN, YOU’VE BROUGHT IT ON EARLY THIS TIME !!!

haha! I really miss those days. We had quite a few bbses here in south florida. We would gather from time to time and have bbs picnics so we could actually meet up with one another.

Half the time there would be those few who would be in some kind of physical altercation. People took the message boards so seriously and would allow things to spill over in person. It was welcomed drama to me.

Ok, who is going to be boxing this weekend ;)

I had so many bbses. My first one was when I was really young. I am guessing 10-12. Most on the c64 and several using CNET on my various Amiga machines.

I remember as a little kid dialing up to a certain local bbs. At the name prompt I kept typing in really immature things while my cousin was watching me (hey remember I was a kid!)

I think it went along the lines of -

name: Shtbag
from: sh

So, like a moron, eventually I inputted my real name during this certain session along with my telephone number and the sysop called the number (the house phone) and was like “…uh…is this shtbag from shtville”?

I was like holy fu*k this guy is calling me!


I almost had a bowel movement on the spot.

Apparently logging onto a bbs and saying something is the same as saying it in person - according to this freak. I’ll never forget this. I was so afraid at the time as a kid. Lucky this guy didn’t run into me later :P

Anyone else have any amusing bbs memories?

oh yeah… i have plenty of good bbs memories. here are a few:

BBS’es were my first exposure to the demoscene and mod music. when we first got our 486 in 1993, it didn’t have a soundcard, so i had to listen to the mods using the pc speaker, which was on the bottom of the case. it was pretty hard to hear, so i would lay on the floor to listen to songs. my dad noticed me doing this a bunch of times, so he built a wooden platform for the computer to sit on, so the speaker would sound louder :) thanks dad!!

our local scene had regular picnics and meetings too, but i was too young to go to any of them (parents wouldn’t let me). by the time i was old enough, they had stopped doing them.

one of the more classic occurrences: it was my freshman year in highschool, and there was this guy i went to school with whose alias was “Satan”. he epitomised the definition of a troll. his whole purpose was to go on the BBSes and say stupid shit and get on peoples’ nerves. he started a HUGE dispute with the sysops of Dark Castle BBS, who didn’t appreciate this. they were also a lot older than us (we were 14, they were in their 20’s) and big too. they ended up scheduling a fight between Buzzbomb, the co sysop of dark castle, and Satan. it was supposed to take place at high noon at the arcade at the mall. i showed up with my other BBS’ing friend, Vampire, so we could watch Satan get his ass kicked!!! Buzzbomb showed up, but Satan never showed up. after that, he was ridiculed even more and shunned by everyone. interestingly enough, we became friends later on in highschool and he happens to be one of my best friends to this day. strange, huh?

another of the more memorable occurrences: the only local BBS run on an Atari ST, “the shadow’s lair”, had a door called Space Empire Elite (similar to and apparently the inspiration for the more popular Barren Realms Elite). He had it set up for inter-BBS play (where each board is its own solar system, and you can fight against the other solar systems). a friend and i played it pretty regularly. one day, i was just browsing the usernames of people on other solar systems, when i noticed there was someone called “butt monkey” somewhere in like washington state, or somewhere up there. i randomly attacked him and mocked him for his name. the next day or so, like EVERYBODY on his entire BBS started attacking me. this led everyone else on my BBS to rally together, and we declared war on his entire solar system. it was going to be pretty sweet, the leaders were even planning on having a telephone conversation to work out some of the details… we called it “the butt monkey war” it was epic! (for a 14 year old kid :) ). unfortunately, while that was all only getting started, the sysop took the BBS down for good!!! nooo!! :(

for a while, a lot of people on some of the local BBS’es were typing the word “tthhhhhppppt”. i eventually gathered what it meant, but i didn’t really know how to “pronounce” it. i chose a very unfortunate occasion for my first attempt at ever pronouncing it. it was a highschool football game. i was in band, and we were walking onto the field to play. one of the bullies started making fun of me as i was walking by. and so i said “tthhhpppppt” to him! spit flew out of my mouth onto his face! he was pretty mad. and then, slowly, i realized “ohhh, this isn’t really a word, it’s just when you stick out your tongue at someone!!!”. HAHAHAH!

the first time i ever got onto the internet was 1994. some of my friends found the info to the county’s school system BBS, which had internet access for all of the teachers. unfortunately for them, each teacher’s account had a default password (abcdef1), so it was pretty easy to figure out their username and login. text based internet was pretty boring at the time though.

most of us got internet access around 1995. i remember for a while, the BBS’es and internet co-existed. it was a good time. you could call all your boards, get on the web for a while, call some more boards, etc. slowly they started dropping off between 1995-1997. you started getting a lot more busy signals, and some of the boards started having policies where they were only up during certain hours of the day.
there were a few holdouts into 1998, but that is the year i would say that BBS’ing officially died.
i think the main reason for their demise: the sysops wanted to get on the internet too of course, and nobody wanted to dedicate a phone line to it. that would mean having 3 phone lines for a lot of people. unaffordable.

it was a good era though, and part of what really sparked my interest in computers. i will always have fond memories of those times.

let me leave you with just a few more brief thoughts …

legend of the red dragon
runaway (apparently the guy who wrote this door lived near me)
playing modem-to-modem games of doom, descent, and hexen, with BBS buddies

good times. may they always live on in our memories

by the way, my alias was “The Abysmal Killer” (TaK for short). what was everyone else’s?

so uh, i guess nobody wants to talk about BBS’es then :)

I didn’t really know anybody when I started who had a pc. That was back in late 1983/1984. They were mostly trash-80, coco colors, and crapple users back then; and of naturally other commies like myself.
My first experience bbsing was with a commodore 64 and a volksmodem @ 300 baud.

That was really cool of your dad to do that. My dad did something to help me. My dad was thinking in terms of cooling solutioins well before they were mainstream. He grabbed an exhause fan and enclosure that would be found in a bathroom, put a tale on it, and you could plug it into a 120 outlet. Nice little way to keep my equipment cool.

My best friend had gotten a commodore 64. No disk drive or datasette; just the computer itself. He used to type in programs from the manual and I thought it was the coolest thing. I somehow convinced my dad into buying me a computer. We went to our local Zaires which has long since closed down. I recall first looking at the “Coleco Adam”. Looked pretty boxx. Sexy detachable keyboard. Dual datasette. I mean this thing looked like the real deal. But hey what the hell did I know? It even came with a printer.

Here is what it looked like for the misinformed and youngins -

I explained my friend had a commodore 64 and that’s what I had my eye on and the sales men said it was popular, saw dollar signs, and went straight for my dads jugular convincing him to purchase -

  1. Commodore 64

  1. 1541 Disk Drive (this cost as much as the commodore 64) maybe a bit more.

  1. Okimate 10 thermal transfer color printer

When I brought it home another friend in the neighborhood came by and explained his older brother had a commodore 64 and he showed me some basics in terms of loading programs. His brother actually ran a warez bbs and cracked games evidently. More on this some other time…

I noticed the game Hard Hat Mac in a magazine and told my dad I wanted it and we went to Toys 'R Us (yes they used to sell tons of commodore software) and this guy noticed us looking around approached my dad and said how would you like all of these titles and more speech? He told my dad to buy a TON of blank 5 1/4 and a hole puncher (if you punched a hole on the adjacent side of a floppy it would allow one to flip the disk over and record on the opposite side (1541 only had a single head, thus only read native on time in the disks normal orientation).

So he came buy and at the end of the day he was given $50 and I had a huge collection of games that was the envy of all of my friends (they were naturally all SHAREWARE - COUGH).

This same guy also told us about the joys of bbsing and I had a 300 baud volksmodem. At first I thought it was fun to enter atdt - (wait… did the hayes dialing atdt command work back then?) and people would answer and just say hello and you could hear their response on the modems built in speaker. Thank god they couldn’t hear me cackling in the background. Did I mention I was just a little kid?

For some reason we had gotten a commodore brand 1650. Also slower than my ass at 300 baud. Back then it would take an incredible amount of time to transfer an entire floppies worth of information.

Lets put it this way… A 56k (56,000 baud) model sends compressed data at about 5 kilobytes per second. A 300 baud modem is rated at 0.3 kbit/s and is 185.6 TIMES SLOWER than a 56k modem.

Think about that next time you reflect on how slow your dialup 56k connection was before you had broadband. 56k is wonderful on a unix shell account, telnetting, gopher, etc. but sheeeeitttt

So I spend tons of time on bbses when I was little. Usually posting messages that were utterly unintelligible. As you can see nothing has really changed…

Bwhhahahahhaha that is so great! I can see the invitations posted… haha

What: A fight
Where: The arcade at the mall
Who: Satan v Buzzbomb
When: High Noon


That is really wild that you have kept in touch. We had a couple of trolls here like Satan. The most notorious was “Shadow”. What is with these “S” names? He used to always start crap. He always played devils argument in debates, but he would be a complete shitstain while doing so!

My best friend used to go by the handle Slippery Jim. I see him ever couple of days. We spent a lot of time driving around instigating bbs fights and partying at local bbs gatherings. A lot of fun times.

That is great! haha

That is really bad. Sounds like something I would do. I haven’t done that, but I did turn to face a kid who was talking to me while I was urinating. I was little. It was kindergarten. He asked me a question while we were both engaged in our business and instead of just turning my head to answer (now I know as a grown man you just simply answer - NOT TURN TOWARDS OR TURN YOUR HEAD!! HAHA) I turned my entire body and he was caught with the rest of my stream. He was a little pissed - literally!

:the first time i ever got onto the internet was 1994. some of my friends found the info to the county’s school :system BBS, which had internet access for all of the teachers. unfortunately for them, each teacher’s :account had a default password (abcdef1), so it was pretty easy to figure out their username and login. text :based internet was pretty boring at the time though.

Nice! I always thought about figuring this out, but never did this. NICE!

It was a very sad time really. I welcomed the internet. I remember I was dialing into a local bbs that the library ran called Seflin. It was really great. From Seflin you could connect to other library computers. I found one somewhere else in Florida that gave the option to connect to IRC, thus my first dealings with it. This was in the early 90s. I used to chat this was for a long time. I then signed up for a unix shell account with a company called cybergate and soon after paid to have ppp access.

I remember I had to purchase my first web browser. It was Netscape 1.2 personal edition. It was expensive too. Windows 95 didn’t natively have it’s own ppp dialer so I had to use the included shiva dialer to help get onto the net. Shortly after I begin dabbling in web design and soon I was making really crappy website and this phenomenon is still practiced today.

Doom was so fun multiplayer. Slipper Jim and I played it often. He only had a 386 and I was using a 75 mhz. I was killing him left and right. He kept saying Doom played like a slide show on his machine and I thought he was exaggerating. I went to his place one time and it was like a frame every couple of seconds. I used to laugh so hard having chain saw battles.

The original quake was also great. I think I remember when people started making bots that you could spawn while playing. Was “Reaper Bot” the cool one back in the day? We would spawn a bunch of them and use some *.wad file of this city. So much fun. Remember Duke Nukem 3d?


I was “The Slayer” - I think cornball would have sufficed.

Sorry it took so long to respond. I noticed your reply and couldn’t let all of your good text go to waste. I really enjoyed this period in my life and felt it absolutely necessary to respond.