“Get off the line…..”

Are you old enough to remember the good old BBS days ? If so the title above would ring some bells.

I honestly cannot remember how old I was when I got into BBS’s, but had my Amiga 500+ with a USR Courier 14.4k modem, and loved it.

The ability to ring a (usually) local number and communicate with other users from all around the globe (via message networks) was fascinating to me, and after a few months of visiting a number of Auckland based BBS’s, I decided to start my own.

With the help from a local BBS sysop (Cannot remember his name, but the BBS was “Central Suburbs”, based in Onehunga IIRC), I got my own BBS up and running – from 3 floppy drives.

880k per disc.

Disc 1 was the main BBS and door games (door = plugin)

Disc 2 was the message base

Disc 3 was a few handy files for download

The name of the BBS : Syndicate X

Syndicate being one of my favorite Amiga games, and the “X” from my handle, “XPD” (which as you can tell, stuck).

I ran the BBS in the above form for about 3 months, and surprisingly, it was very popular. The message bases and door games were obviously the most active.

Eventually I was asked by users where I kept the real files – I was honest and said that was it.

But I soon obtained a Commodore A590 Hard drive unit with a 120MB SCSI drive and 1MB of Fast RAM. “Ooooooo, ahhhhh”

I now had the ability to put a real file system for the BBS into play.

Things progressed as time went by – more users, more calls = dedicated line for 24/7 operation. I upgraded to a GVP A530 hard drive and RAM unit, upping the speed and RAM of the system hugely. 33.6k modems came to an affordable price, so faster transfers were now possible. And eventually a 56k Dynalink modem an appearance.

I had the BBS running extremely well, with some great doors to add functionality to the system.

Then one day things started to change….

BBS call numbers started dropping, message networks started going quiet, and file transfers almost became non-existent .

The “consumer” internet had arrived.

I knew what the internet was, didn’t think it would take off the way it did.

IRC replaced chats, newsgroups/forums took over message nets, and files could be obtained anywhere.

So I tried to change with the times, got on the internet myself, and rebooted the BBS as Amiga Unlimited, with files from the internet being downloaded and made available locally, saving some users on time limited internet plans their internet time. I also put a CD ROM online with Aminet CD’s sourced from Amiga Auckland.

I had some dedicated users that still called every day, but more for a chat than anything.

I eventually pulled the plug on the BBS.

Even to this day, I still bump into some of the old users on various social media platforms, “hey did you run a BBS years ago ?”

At least I no longer get paged by new users….

“Hey, do you have warez……”

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