A little levity: "computerized FRPG"

Scott Austin us21090 at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 5 10:53:52 CDT 2007


A few months ago, I came across Flying Buffalo ( http://www.flyingbuffalo.com ), an old PBM company founded in 1970 that is still running.  I contacted the owner who still had records of my account from 30 years ago!  He says I have 95 cents left in my account, though I didn't ask if that was in 1976 dollars.

Kinda pulling this back on-topic, when I played back in the late 1970's, every 2-weeks or so I would receive the new game status on yellow teletype paper! 

He says, ( http://www.flyingbuffalo.com/history.htm ) they first rented time on a CDC 3300, then later bought a Raytheon 704 minicomputer-  over $30,000 total. "Sigh. And it only had 4K of memory!".  From there they bought a Poly 88 computer kit, a North Star Horizon and then IBM clones. 

He also told of a letter from "The Avalon Hill Game Company saying they weren't going to print my ad
for "computer moderated pbm" in the classified ads of "The General" (a wargaming magazine)  until
I sent them a letter of permission from whoever owned the computer that
I was using(!)".  He also ran into trouble with the zoning inspector: "if you wanted to have a home business, you couldn't have anything that
a normal person wouldn't have in their home, and normal people didn't
have a computer in their living room."

Today he's still using older methods for game play (snail mail, email, fax) but says using the web for entering game play is the next step. 


----- Original Message ----
From: Zane H. Healy <healyzh at aracnet.com>
To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts <cctalk at classiccmp.org>
Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2007 9:51:15 PM
Subject: Re: A little levity: "computerized FRPG"
These sound more like the old PBM strategy games rather than a RPG. 
I think you'd send in your move for the turn, as would everyone else, 
and then you'd get the results back.  
I've no idea the state of such games, I suspect they're all dead.  How 
many people are going to spend a few dollars per turn, with what was 
probably a couple week, at least, turn around.  This would actually 
be an interesting area of study from both the gaming standpoint, and 
the classic computer standpoint.  I'd love to see some of the 
software that was used to control these games, however, I'd guess 
that most were written by the person running the game, and most of 
the software has been lost.

I do know that many gamers play online, either via email, or other solutions.

Pinpoint customers who are looking for what you sell. 

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