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Arcade BBS turns 15

By Chris Williams. Published: 19th Jun 2005, 13:27:25 | Permalink | Printable

Respect your elders

Arcade BBS in a telnet terminalThe Arcade BBS celebrated its 15th birthday earlier this week, on June 11.

The BBS was most popular during the mid-Acorn era in the 1990s, as a virtual place where RISC OS users could gather online to chat, discuss problems and send and receive email. Powered by RISC OS 3.7 on a StrongARM RiscPC with a myriad of attached hard discs, the board also boasts a large filebase of software and resources, which can also be accessed via FTP.

The kit is run as a hobby by enthusiasts Dave Coleman and Dave Dade, who created Arcade after Archive magazine's BBS closed down. The software powering the board was mostly written by Hugo Fiennes, and updated by Dave Dade and others.

Dave D said earlier this week, "Arcade has been a bit stroppy on and off for most of its life, but on the whole, I suspect it's been much more reliable than many of its other-OS and other-hardware rivals. Long live Acorn. ...oh."

One user mused, "I was not one of the first but I think I joined Arcade not too long after it started so was part of the Arcade community when it really got going. It was pretty active back then. By about 1992 or '93 it was more-or-less a full time job keeping up with it.

"It was a case of starting a download then going off for a meal whilst your 1200 bps modem struggled to drag the last day's worth of messages over your telephone line. Rich people had 9600 bps modems, I could not afford one. It was fun back then."

Steeped in Fidonet history, the Arcade collective witnessed many moments of Acorn history including the RiscPC launch, the A30x0 launch at Planet Hollywood, the laptop we almost had, the break up of Acorn and the arrival of RISC OS 4 from the ashes. Flicking through the messages, you also come across various secrets and oddities associated with RISC OS: for example, try *FX 162,24,128, then shutdown and press control-break. The hidden screen you see next is part of the territory system so that users can load resources from disc before the OS has fully initialised. Click Menu to continue and *FX 162,24,0 to restore your start up to normal.

The age of the BBS ended towards the final days of the 1990s as the Internet and World Wide Web became more accessible to users and offered more than any one BBS could. You can still dialup into Arcade, if you have a modem kicking around, or you can telnet in instead.


Arcade BBS website

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I used to enjoy logging onto Arcade, before I had Internet access in fact. It was a busy Acorn community and had a good atmosphere as well as a huge database of useful resources.

I drifted away to all this new fangled technology on Drobe and the like. I guess most others did too.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 19/6/05 5:46PM
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Never tried a BBS before, it feels soo retro on my dialup connection. It seems very odd that they require you to send identification through the post to become a full member, though.

 is a RISC OS UserHertzsprung on 20/6/05 10:21AM
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I also used to enjoy logging onto Arcade. Around 1995, I got into BBSs and ended up with a very hefty phone bill! In 1996, I got on the Internet and regularly used Arcade BBS's telnet service (which I think is still arcade.demon.co.uk port 23). It's great that it's still being run 24/7 - good work Dave(s).

 is a RISC OS Usercocodude on 21/6/05 9:46AM
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Thanks for the appreciation. There are still a few dedicated users who do call in every day, and yes, you can log in via telnet as *cocodude* says. It still looks the same, with that quirky line editor that actually works very well once you get the hang of find-and-replace.

Arcade BBS's Demon Solo ADSL connection is due to be upgraded to 2Mbps soon, but only for *uploading by FTP* as far as BBS users will be concerned. However the standard ADSL 256kbps downstream speed via telnet appears about the same as a V34 modem, so it's just like old times when you click on [link]

David Dade and Dave Coleman

 is a RISC OS UserZZDave on 24/6/05 1:01AM
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