Dead as dial-up?
February 20, 2008 6:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm jonesing for some old-school BBS action. Are there any worthwhile boards still around, with telnet access? I'd even settle for a social/builder MUD with good signal-to-noise ratio.
posted by sonofslim to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Sigh. I miss the good old days. But at least once a year I hop on Acad's World, which is really just a BBS for hosting LORD (Legend of the Red Dragon) games. The link to the web site is here and I think they even have Java telnet access into their BBS. Not sure if that's what you're looking for, but the games are still played by many on this BBS.
posted by twiki at 6:41 PM on February 20, 2008

Though I haven't been for a while, I was one of the first 50 users in 1990-- and it was always engaging, with a strong New York flavor.
posted by Maias at 6:43 PM on February 20, 2008

My husband (an 80s BBS afficiando) says that one of the most active boards is Roughnecks (telnet to

He says, if you're really old-skool, you might try TELNETing to a Commodore BBS. (Yes, such a thing really exists.) In fact, he's jumped on my account to tell you the following in his own words:

This is maintained (and is current) by a guy named Andrew Wiskow, who runs Cottonwood (on All American 128 BBS software, if that means anything to you):

telnet to

These are both original Commodore 64/128 hardware and emulators which are telnettable through various technical gymnastics.

Use a free terminal called cgterm for native PETSCII support (the Commodore boards mostly run BBS software from the 80s and 90s - the original stuff). It runs on most platforms.

Syncterm is a good client to use for x86 based boards - it supports ATASCII (for Atari 8 bit boards, which are hooked up to telnet similar to Commodore boards), as well as ANSI graphics and color, along with a bookmarking / address book system:

A fairly comprehensive and current telnet BBS list can be found here.
posted by parilous at 7:00 PM on February 20, 2008 [3 favorites]

I'd even settle for a social/builder MUD with good signal-to-noise ratio.
telnet 7777

posted by GuyZero at 7:28 PM on February 20, 2008

SDF has a unique ongoing MOO called thxmoo, plus the classic multiplayer games dopewar and hunt.

Additionally, they have a wide variety of classic Unix single-player titles including nethack, zork, and advent / Colossal Cave.

It's probably worth pointing out that SDF isn't a BBS per se, although it's old enough to have coexisted with them at their height. It's a Unix system offering free shell accounts, with a lot of software that accomplishes many of the same functions that a typical BBS might. But it also allows for a lot of stuff beyond that. You can get a limited account for free; for full access they ask for a nominal one-time donation.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:29 PM on February 20, 2008

Just a clarification: you can play all the games previously mentioned on SDF with a free account. Upgrading to a donor level would get you compilers, outbound Telnet, and a lot of other goodies, but it's not necessary if you just want to interact with the other members and play games. A breakdown of what's allowed is available here.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:33 PM on February 20, 2008

telnet to for majormud, which has a pretty rabid cult following. Still quite active on evenings and weekends.
posted by bluejayk at 10:01 PM on February 20, 2008

My BBS, Slumberland, has been up since 1991, and it is at (telnet -- you can also get there via a web browser, but if you do that, you get a crappy java client. Telnet with your preferred terminal software instead for the proper BBS experience).

It is a Citadel+ BBS. The interface may take some getting used to but the message rooms are actually not all that unlike MeFi's message format. There are no games, just posting/reading messages and now live chat.

Make sure you leave a message to the sysop that says you found us via AskMe. That always helps. :)
posted by litlnemo at 5:31 AM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Anybody know if any bbs with tradewars stil laround?
posted by majortom1981 at 9:55 AM on February 21, 2008

Majortom: If you go to the comprehensive BBS list (linked previously), you'll find hundreds of them -- they'll say so right in the description.
posted by parilous at 10:53 AM on February 21, 2008

Grex is still around, although pieces of it can be pretty Michigan-specific at times. Both web-based and telnet interfaces are available, at or in your preferred protocol. And, speaking of dialup, they've still got modems.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 10:32 PM on February 29, 2008

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