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BBS ads: a tour of ASCII and ANSI art from the 80s and 90s - Part 4

Date/Time Permalink: 04/29/06 02:49:32 pm
Category: ANSI art


SinCity

A rainy Friday evening's entertainment may be had by downloading the BBS section tarball from textfiles.com. I found myself engrossed in the ASCII and ANSI art banners from these bulletin boards of yore. I decided to render some of them and make screenshots to post here, both in the interest of further preserving this bit of history, and to offer a highlight tour to those who lack the patience and resources to view them directly. Click on any thumbnail to see the fullsize image.


2000 AD


Eagles Nest


Babylon 4


Babylon 5


Flying Teapot


Mourning After 2


Pooh


Jacks Place


Dew Drop Inn

Less common are the places where one gets a respite from urban grime to find a board with an almost heartland atmosphere. These are just solid home folk, running a board as a hobby or perhaps as a means to reach out to the world with this wonderful new communication tool that was just discovered. A small range of miscellaneous interests are found here and there. Perhaps some people just ran a board to keep them company on nights when sleep is far away and the sound of crickets is near.

The whole ANSI-Art tour:
Can I play too?
Part 8
Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

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BBS ads: a tour of ASCII and ANSI art from the 80s and 90s - Part 3

Date/Time Permalink: 04/29/06 02:10:47 pm
Category: ANSI art


Heretic Assylum

A rainy Friday evening's entertainment may be had by downloading the BBS section tarball from textfiles.com. I found myself engrossed in the ASCII and ANSI art banners from these bulletin boards of yore. I decided to render some of them and make screenshots to post here, both in the interest of further preserving this bit of history, and to offer a highlight tour to those who lack the patience and resources to view them directly. Click on any thumbnail to see the fullsize image.


Haunted House


Akira 96


Flashback


Lost in Time


Risky Business


RTA


Urban XTC


Castle

Always there is the sense of being in the ghetto, or at least on the fringes of it. Instead of gangs, we have cracker/phreaker clubs and cyberpunks. They are quick to give a shout-out to their homies, and if the operator of one board is friendly with another, they let you know right away. Instead of drugs, there are "filez". Many of the more inscrutable ASCII fonts resemble the distorted (but styled!) lettering of urban gangland tags. There is the criminal "pride", bragging openly about what wanton lawbreakers they are and leaving taunting massages to dispirit the authorities. But there's the code of honor amongst theives, too: never steal without sharing your spoils with your peers, and never, ever leech. Much of the ASCII art resembles the kind of doodling you might see on the odd wall in the wrong end of town, and a small bit of it is of the same theme as one might find in a distressingly sordid men's restroom. And then, just like the kind of graffiti that qualifies as an urban mural, there are the big splashy masterpieces, left behind by some midnight artist whom you'll never know the real name of.

The whole ANSI-Art tour:
Can I play too?
Part 8
Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Follow me on Twitter for an update every time this blog gets a post.
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BBS ads: a tour of ASCII and ANSI art from the 80s and 90s - Part 2

Date/Time Permalink: 04/29/06 01:39:33 pm
Category: ANSI art


Cult Dead Cow

A rainy Friday evening's entertainment may be had by downloading the BBS section tarball from textfiles.com. I found myself engrossed in the ASCII and ANSI art banners from these bulletin boards of yore. I decided to render some of them and make screenshots to post here, both in the interest of further preserving this bit of history, and to offer a highlight tour to those who lack the patience and resources to view them directly. Click on any thumbnail to see the fullsize image.


Cracked Ice


High Times


Ruff Rider


The Fringe


Ware Express


The Void


Ghostship

Much can be told about this culture from the ads. Such as, that apparently as many places were hawking pirated software in the 80s as are pushing Viagra and porn today. And absolutely *everybody* who offered "warez" had the fastest system, the biggest archive of files, could not type a simple English sentence normally, and identified their board as "World Head Quarters" - this last so common that it is many times abbreviated to "WHQ".

The whole ANSI-Art tour:
Can I play too?
Part 8
Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Follow me on Twitter for an update every time this blog gets a post.
Stumble it Reddit this share on Facebook

BBS ads: a tour of ASCII and ANSI art from the 80s and 90s - Part 1

Date/Time Permalink: 04/29/06 01:13:37 pm
Category: ANSI art


Black Dog Towers

A rainy Friday evening's entertainment may be had by downloading the BBS section tarball from textfiles.com. I found myself engrossed in the ASCII and ANSI art banners from these bulletin boards of yore. I decided to render some of them and make screenshots to post here, both in the interest of further preserving this bit of history, and to offer a highlight tour to those who lack the patience and resources to view them directly. Click on any thumbnail to see the fullsize image.


Retaliators Place


Elite


Hackers Party


Coffeeshop Zombies


Turmoil

The experience of browsing the entirety of the BBS ads feels like exploring an abandoned urban city by night and viewing the graffiti by flashlight. The ads range from breathtaking works of art to truly horrible (and unreadable) scribble. Take the outlandish over-machoism of a trash-TV wrestling show and the innocent naivete of a child, and toss in a healthy dose of cyberpunk anarchism - and D0N'7 4GeT YoUr 13375p33k! - and you have the makings of many BBS ads. You wade through every imaginable variety of ugly ASCII font and endless braggadocio of 13-year-olds with delusions of grandeur, only to stumble upon an occasional buried treasure that leaves you gazing in wonder for many minutes. The fact that much of this was done with technology a decade or two more primitive than what we enjoy today makes this work doubly impressive.

The whole ANSI-Art tour:
Can I play too?
Part 8
Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Follow me on Twitter for an update every time this blog gets a post.
Stumble it Reddit this share on Facebook

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