The Sorcerer's Quarters BBS
Welcome to my tribute page for my BBS, and to an extent that BBS scene.
I was a relative late-comer to the BBS scene, all things considered. I had
toyed with one or two during the 80's (I recall The Magician's Fortress,
a C-64 based board, in particular), though I didn't really get into the
BBS community until probably around 1990. At that point I became addicted,
and got myself a 2400 baud modem.
On February 10, 1991, I started my BBS for the first time using the
software. For about the
first week or two, it was called "The Crypt". As was often the case with
BBS newbies, BBS names and personal handles tended to be uncreative or
cheezy. I quickly realized this, and renamed the board to something more
interesting. To do so, I called on memories of other things that were
meaningful to me. In this case, I remembered part of the presentation in
the haunted house I used to run every Halloween, and took the name from
that. A friend of mine, thinking on his feet, named part of the display
"the sorcerer's quarters", which I suspect might have been influenced
by part of a computer game called Castle Adventure that we had been
playing. Hence forth, the board was known as The Sorcerer's Quarters BBS.
(As a side note, it's a shame I didn't get more creative with my "handle".
I stuck with "Necromancer", I think the whole time. I was only one of several Necromancers in
the area, probably).
Initially, the board could only run for a few hours at a time, since it
was using the only phone line in the house, and was also using my only
computer, which is the 286 pictured to the right. It may have briefly
used the amber monitor pictured here at one time, but at the beginning,
running on my only computer, it was equipped with full-color VGA.
Before too long, the BBS had it's own phone line and it's own computer,
which was another 286. Soon after, it was migrated back to the hardware
pictured here, where it remained (facilitated by an upgrade of my desktop
to a 486). The BBS always benefitted from the hand-me-down parts from
the upgrades of my desktop machine, and had no other budget to speak of,
so it was never well-outfitted, just simply "average".
My board never became immensely popular. While most of the local systems seemed
to be 80-90% busy, mine was 80% idle (daily average, I think). However,
I didn't really mind this. It had a small close-knit group of regulars, who
found it as a safe haven from a lot of the nonsense, drama, and politics
common on other boards. And since the line was mostly open, it was easy
to get in when your other haunts were tied up.
Somewhere along the way, I had the idea to create something similar to
the UseNet Oracle,
and run it on my BBS. Because my BBS participated in multiple networks,
including the large WWIVnet, the Oracle was accessible all around the
country. Feel free to take a look at the
WWIVnet Oracle Archive.
The BBS ran for 4 years, administrated remotely more often than not while
I was in college. Finally, on Feb 10, 1995 (it's fourth birthday), I powered
down the system for
the last time. Later in the year, I discovered the web, and the rest is
history. I had used my internet access in school since '91, but not the
graphical web until '95.
Running a BBS was a wonderful learning experience for me. Not only was
it a good social outlet, but also an opportunity to learn to be a
community leader, to be a responsible system administrator, and to
perform remote management and code modification. I learned a lot about
people and about programming during this time.
The decision to turn it off did not come lightly. Those who were never
a part of the BBS scene can never fully comprehend what it meant to
those of us who were there. When I speak to other former Sysop's, I'm
never truly surprised when they nearly get a tear in their eye when they
mention the fateful day that their board went down for good. It's an
era that is gone, and one that we will miss dearly, as we look on towards
For more information on the history of the BBS world and the communities
it spawned, there is a wonderful DVD Documentary available.