questionsretro computer/bbs memories: what's your memory?


The current generation is nostalgic over such "classics" as Halo and Call of Duty. At least on the gaming side of things. I think in 10-15 years, those currently in the pre-teen/teen range will be nostalgic over Facebook.


What is my BBS memory? Very clear.

I ran a BBS called SuperNova. I had 6 phone lines in the house and networked all my computers together using Netware. Then, multiple people could call on different lines and compete against each other in "door" games like LORD, Drugwars, and Trade Wars.

I used BBS software called Renegade which was a recreated version of Telegard.


Punch cards...
I have a box of them kicking around someplace...


I fondly remember the Apple IIe my dad bought when I was little. It had the keyboard attached to the case and a black and white (actually more of a green and black) monitor. It took those big literally floppy disks (I think 5.3") and even the most basic games required several disks. I remember when I was a little older (high school) and getting into programming that I figured out a way to write basic code on it. I bet that thing would be worth some money today (although probably not much more than he paid for it in the mid-eighties).

I also remember being very impressed at the stick-figures animation my dad created for his work on it.


The first computer I used: Mainframe using teletype (instead of monitors) and punch tape.

First Comptuer owned: TRS80 Model III with 8K RAM, no floppy, no hard drive. Used casette tapes to load programs.

First Computer used in School: Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Translator).

Second Computer used in School: Apple II


My first 300 bps modem and no speaker in 1987 on the back of my c64. I had to pick up the phone to listen for the pick-up and carefully hang up.


I remember being the only kid in my programming class to insist on using a subroutine.

"We're not even there (yet)."
"It's more efficient."
"Okay, you can have extra credit."


Weird memories. I remember for a very short while using an acoustic coupler for the modem (The little squishy cups you'd shove the phone handset down into).

Using a BBS in Atlanta called The MaDhOuSe. Oddly, I still remember the guys name who ran it for some reason, Lanny Finch I believe.

Playing text games online thinking it was really cool.

Printing out lists of BBS names and phone numbers on the paper with the little holes all down the side.

Printing out ASCII Art pictures which half the time were barely recognizable blobs vaguely resembling naked women.

Most of all, for some utterly bizarre reason I still remember a random character password from one of those old BBS sites which is actually still my goto high security password for sensitive sites.


@bingo969: Since you actually used an acoustic coupler before, what did you think of the movie, "War Games"?

Remember the scene when he puts his phone's receiver into an acoustic coupler and then it autodials. If it didn't get a computer on the other end, it hung up and dialed the next number in the sequence?

How can you hang up the phone using an acoustic coupler?!?!?!? Not possible!


@no1: 64K of RAM was a lot of RAM back then. I started with 8K and upgraded the memory myself to 48K. Each 8K block required 8 individual chips to be inserted on the motherboard. So there were eight 1 bit 8K chips. to make 8K at 8 bits.

The TRS80 Model III supported a maximum of 48K so that was 6 rows of eight 1-bit chips or 48 memory chips total. It took the majority of the motherboard space.

I suppose the reason you couldn't go to 64K of RAM was because the Z80 addressing was only 16 bits and could address a total of 65536 bytes and the first 8K of that was ROM, screen memory, and keyboard buffers.

I believe the C64 used the 6510 chip which was also a 16bit addressable 8-bit CPU. However, it copied the ROM into RAM so you couldn't access the ROM directly leading people to believe you really had 64K of usable memory but you really didn't.nly 16 bits and could address a total of 65536 bytes and the first 8K of that was ROM, screen memory, and keyboard buffers.



I still tell my kids they are likely to be eaten by a grue.


My first computers were a Vic20 and the Commodore64, my uncle owned a computer store! So, we were actually allowed to own those.

My first gaming system was the original Nintendo, which I ironically still own, and even buy games for!

Ahhh, memories!


@cengland0: Had the Tandy as well. and the horrible "printer" if you want to call it that. I remember typing in the programs. Good times, good times.


I remember waiting 8 minutes for a 74k sized adult themed image to download. When I was in High School all we had were private BBS or America Online (if you were desperate) for our adult themed JPEG and AVI files (Circa 1992). To add insult to injury, my computer at the time didn't have a hard drive so I had to save everything to floppies.

You kids are spoiled! We had to work for our pr0n


Back in the early 90s when I first started using the internet I had to call this number and for $20 they'd give me a code that I had to type in to their interface in order to be granted a certain amount of minutes online. I had to connect to a BBS in order to get online. I really can't remember how it worked but I was glad when I met an IT guy who taught me how to find a good internet provider.

I was addicted to playing a MUD called Genesis which was a text-based roleplaying game. No graphics, back then we had to use our imaginations, kids. ;)


I found an old IBM PC 5150 in my basement. It had an original Model F keyboard with it, so I looked up how to get it working with a modern PC and now I have a hacked up USB device that lets me use it again. The clickclackiness is wonderful.

The keyboard is older than I am, beeteedubs.


I remember playing around on a couple of MUDs before the days of the modern MMOGs.


My family's first computer was given to us in about 1997. I used it to play Sim City and Roller Coaster Tycoon and to come up with this terrible username that I will probably use til I die. My first computer I got when when I went off to college in 2003, it was an emachine that served me well for years and years to come til I realized you could replace these things.


I remember typing in BASIC code on my TI computer and recording that on a cassette tape, so I could play back my games. Nothing spectacular, but that was something that is tough to explain to kids today. Cassettes blows their mind, but TI as a manufacturer outside of a calculator is a weird concept.

I also remember my first "modern" computer had a Hyundai RAM board. That was odd to find.


Since this is all about retro stuff and someone already mentioned getting eaten by a Grue, many of you may appreciate this. Nerdcore song about old text games. Some of the lyrics are fantastically clever and I love the tune in general.

MC Frontalot - It Is Pitch Dark


I remember doing COBOL on CDC Cyber (hated it). I remember VMS. I remember being on Internet BBSes like Quartz and Mars Hotel for years before trying out local dialup BBSes. I remember tooling around with UNIX for years before ever touching an IBM clone (and wondering what this godawful braindead msdos was), and pranking friends with SMTP forgeries. I remember TI-99/4 (not 4A, original 4 with the horrible chiclet keyboard), Trash-80, Apple][+, C=64, Atari 400 & 800. I remember Eamon and Scott Adams adventures. I remember being in twisty little passages, all different. I remember LoD, Phrack, and the general pirate/phreaking scene. I remember Billy Idol's email address on The Well. I remember AOL first getting USENET, then full Internet access, and spam following soon after. Oh, and I remember SPUTUM


@cengland0: i may be misremembering (dismembering?), but iirc on the c64 there was a bit you could set to flip between addressing rom and ram in one of those 8k banks, so there did seem to be close to 65535 bytes of ram you could access. some of that was video ram, tho.

or it could be that senility has overtaken mah brane.

no1 no1

My first real computer was a Apple Mac Plus with its double-side disk drive and 1 megabyte RAM.

Best memory, I remember being so excited the day I got a 20 megabyte external hard disk.


My 1st cpu was a packard bell 286, 9600 bps modem and prodigy 1.0 installed!

I used to go on a local BBS that was based in Wallingford, CT. It had a ton of members,
the guy/girl member ration was something like 100 guys to every 1 girl.

Plus I remember that screach and bing bong noise the modem would make


The sound of the dial up. That beep buzz static beep the BAM! I'm on a BBS looking for turn based, text based games and message boards. Geez, I have such fond memories of that sound.


From the 80's, I remember that time I almost made it to the end of the Oregon Trail. On the map, I must have been about a fraction of a fraction of an inch from the end, but then I died.

I started going online around 1995-1996, which is when I came up with my username. I used to spend time in ESPN chat rooms, and I tried to come up with different names to use in each room. The one I used in the NBA chat room became my permanent username:

Jazz - Utah Jazz + Singer - one who sings the praises of = JazzSinger - one who sings the praises of the Utah Jazz