Stupidity tends to expand to fill the time saved by technology.

BBS ads: a tour of ASCII and ANSI art from the 80s and 90s - Part 7

Date/Time Permalink: 04/30/06 03:38:22 pm
Category: ANSI art

Mourning After

A rainy Friday evening's entertainment may be had by downloading the BBS section tarball from 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.

Guru Heaven

Dream Phase

Soft Cell

Legends in KAOS

Aces High Mirage

Atlantis Power


Some of the art from the ANSI section was quite tricky to render. I used Linux's "screen" program in a console, or tetraview, or occasionally EMACS! Several times I had to size it to exactly 80 characters wide or the picture wouldn't display correctly. It was a puzzle figuring out the correct character encoding to use - who knows what dialect of characters the host's computer spoke? Best results so far have been with an old vga font I stumbled upon. I have to use something that looks like it kind of makes sense and hope for the best. In the case of the long banners, I had to render them a screenful at a time and paste them together end to end in the image. The result may well be the first time these long banner works have been seen whole on a single screen - perhaps even by the artists?

Hope you've all enjoyed this little tour. This is less than 10% of the banner ads in the archive, but these represent a good cross-sampling, with a bias towards work that IMHO especially deserved rendering.

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

suddenly the moon