Way back in the 1980s and the early 1990s, before the internet reigned supreme, many PC owners dialed up Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes), which were other PCs running special software that allowed users to connect, and share messages, play games, or download files.
While few BBSes remain today compared to their height in the early-mid 1990s, one can still connect to a BBS using the internet. Thanks to the ancient text-only protocol called telnet, you can use a terminal emulator to start BBSing just like the glory days.
Why would you want to do that, you ask? Well, among my group of friends, we all have friends. We do it to share messages with a tight-knit group of people and have fun. If you're more libertarian-minded, you might even pursue BBSes as a way to gather on the 'Net outside the purview of the usual data-scarfing giants like Google or Facebook.
And about that whole net neutrality issue-well , I'm not going to even pretend that BBSes can replace the modern web, but they feel like a safe place for people who want out of the usual toxic online race.
So how do you do connect? I recommend using IBM PC color ANSI graphics. SyncTERM is a very nice BBS terminal program for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X that supports the traditional IBM PC fonts and ANSI graphics.
And if you're a vintage computer fan can even use a miraculous device called WiFi232, developed by Paul Rickards, to connect. WiFi232 simulates a modem but it does create a telnet connection, allowing you to use BBS on the internet with vintage machines like the Apple II or old IBM PCs.
With all that in mind, I thought it would be fun to create a list of neat modern BBSes for you to check out. I asked a handful of BBSing friends for recommendations, which are compiled below. To find even more, check out the Telnet BBS Guide. Have fun in BBS land!