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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Satisfy your craving for '80s PC fun

By Burt Lum

There was a time during the dawning of the personal computer era when doing anything on the PC was referred to as playing. I remember hearing phrases like "What are you playing on your computer?" more frequently than any work reference.

Back in the '80s, some marketing genius figured you could sell a lot more computers if they were associated with fun rather than work. I won't argue with that.

Twenty years later, all the fun stuff moved off the computer and onto game consoles like PlayStation and X-Box. The personal computer was relegated to its original — albeit boring — purpose as a desktop workhorse.

Well, that might be a gross generalization, but lately I find myself working at my computer rather than playing. That's until one of the Mac geeks at work turned me on to the Interlink BBS at ilbbs.com.

The experience was a bit nostalgic.

Back before the World Wide Web, there was something called a bulletin board service or BBS. Computer hobbyists equipped with BBS software and a modem pool ran the service from their home. You could do basic stuff like e-mail, post messages, share files and play games. The Interlink site is a throwback to those days.

First, launch your telnet window and connect to ilbbs.com. Then enter "guest" as your login name. From there you will see a list of basic services.

Tetris is one of them. If you've been around computers for a couple of decades then Tetris is no stranger — but playing it in a telnet session. istruly a bizarre experience.

Once you have satisfied your telnet fixation, go back to ilbbs.com and click on the games link. You'll connect to several Shockwave- and Java-based games that are sure to burn away some hours. Marbles is one of them.

After you've figured out the objective, it will tempt you with one game after another. You can then play God and let off frustration playing Wrath.

There's nothing like simple fun to bring joy back into computing. ;-)

Burt Lum is a click away at burt@brouhaha.net.