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The Grove Online is an old mid-1980's Bulletin Board System I've resurrected and brought online. You used to dial up to it using a modem, but nowadays you just use the Internet to access it. This is for Atari ST and old BBS enthusiasts ("nerds" :) to re-live the good old days!

LOGIN: bbs

The BBS has its own message bases, of course, but we're also hosting a web based message board for it, in case you wish to chat or ask questions via the web. Visit it here: The Grove Message Board

BBSes, or Bulletin Board Systems, were kings in their day. Users would dial up to them directly, using a modem. No internet and no ISP were involved, and the user took up the whole phone line. Other users would get a BUSY signal until the online user logged off and hung up. Single user was the norm until years later when multi-node BBSes started showing up -- the SysOp would have several machines networked, and each would have a modem. Expensive, but worthwhile. And all at 1200 or 2400 baud (120-240 characters per second.. as low as 30 chars per second to as high as 20k/second in the later days..)

What did you do a BBS once you got there? What value was in it?

  • Local interaction from the world -- Email, IRC, ICQ are all direct forms of communications, world scale. Usenet and web forums are not direct, and world-audience again. How do you get local interaction, world audience, in a friendly but passive way? A BBS - a group of users hannging out inthe same place, interacting personally on a small scale, but via localized email and message bases and games. With fidonet and gateways you are interacting with the world, but all through a personalized "portal". Its just a friendly medium that is all but vanished today...
  • Interact with the community -- the BBS was not a disjoint set of users like on the web. It was a group of people all dialing up and sharing a limited resource. Being a limited resource meant BBSes tended towards themes and topics of interest to the users. This meant it was more of a group or hang-out than a website will ever be. Many had face to face get-togethers as well.
  • Play games -- BBS games were fantastic. Usually head to head and team based. Play a turn each day in a space empire and combat the other users or teams. Build giant medievil empires, or send starships into the unknown for great trading missions.. these are a form of gaming descended from roleplaying and tabletop gaming and nearly gone from the earth. Play-by-email is similar but slower and less personal.
  • Read and Post in the Message Bases -- the heart of the BBS were its message bases. Much like usenet, but simpler and localized due to the dialup nature of the BBS, they tended to be personal and interesting and friendly. And full of the greatest flamewars ever to be seen. I believe they still fit into a niche today -- usenet is wide scale. IRC is immediate. Email is private. BBS Message Bases are public, yet personal and local, and more interactive then a website.
  • Play games -- did I say thhe games were great yet?
  • Network -- using FidoNet or Citanet or other proprietary inter-BBS means. Fidonet was by far the champion, and still exists in some form or another today
What is The Grove?

First, we must ask.. what was The Grove?
The Grove is a reincarnated BBS from the late-Eighties era, when Atari still walked (and ruled!) the earth.. when the Amiga was the great hacker machine, and PC's were still in their DOS infancy. The Assassin's Grove (as it was known then) was run originally on a single floppy drive based Atari 520ST computer (yes, 360k floppy, 512K of RAM). Later it moved to two single sided floppies, a single sided floppy and a double side floppy, 20MB hard drive, and then lastly to a 60MB hard drive based 1040ST (1MB of RAM) around 1992. It went essentially unchanged until about 1993 when she finally was laid to rest as the Internet became easily available and affordable.

What is The Grove?

Today, The Grove is the same old Atari ST software as I ran in 1992. Most of the games and support software (networking, etc) has long since been lost as the hard drive died around 1995, and the floppies have all gone bad (demagnatized, bitrot, whatever). But I was able to recover the software I used and loved back in the day. And since I've been working in emulation (mostly arcade, some game console) for many years (since 1997), I started working on an Atari ST emulator. Not a good one, but one with the sole purpose of running the old BBS software. Which it now does, and shall until the end of time, for everyone to use and enjoy. Sure, its not modem dialup.. but its still single user, still features message bases with a line based editor, and features fun games, with more to come (as I receover them, and/or write new ones!). So put on your Honeymoon Suite albums and telnet over to the new Grove 2.0!

Telnet to The Grove:
login "bbs" (without the quotes)
password "bbs" (without the quotes)

Send email to Jeff Mitchell at support@codejedi.com