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Darkrealms is a Bulletin Board System (BBS) in Toronto Canada. It has been online since 1994 and is one of the world's oldest and last remaining systems running the MS-DOS based Renegade software... on the same configuration, same menu sets, same everything. From humble beginnings on a Tandy 1000 to multi-line glory days on an OS/2 486; it continues to remain online, now on a modern professional-grade server system. Darkrealms is also one of the very few systems left in the world that still has a dialup modem line.

But you don't really care about all that. You probably want to hear more about how Darkrealms came to be, or why anyone in the world would run a BBS... well, it started as an experiment that quickly turned into a local phenomenon.

Once upon a time in the mid 1990's, the system was a notorious "free for all"; growing from word-of-mouth to mention in local newspapers. Its dialup lines were constantly busy with legions of users calling for their daily "fix" of gaming, flame wars or general online havoc. Friendships, relationships and even a divorce were regular going-ons in the message forums. It was one of the first in the area which offered (at the time) blazing fast 28.8kbps downloads and one of the first in the area to offer Internet Email access via UUCP relay. Many users purchased computers with modems for the sole purpose of calling into Darkrealms and other boards in the area. When the Internet took off, the BBS scene died but was not forgotten. The "stubborn ones" chose to keep running these systems, adapting to change.

It was truly the best way for a teenager to learn all about system administration, hardware, Pascal programming and satisfying the demands of an eclectic (and often bizarre) range of users. Many late nights were spent maintaining the hardware and software to allow total strangers to interact with other strangers. Nowadays... a stranger can just hop on Facebook, computers have gigabytes of RAM, and object-oriented programming languages are the norm. At the time, being able to meet others "our age" interested in the same tech stuff was a bonus. Not many 16 year olds who can get multiple internal modems to play nice on a troublesome ISA motherboard with its COM ports and IRQ handles damn near full...

To experience Darkrealms for yourself, you can simply click the "BBS" link above, or telnet to bbs.darkrealms.ca, or dial +1-647-847-2083 with your modem. If you are using a terminal client, you need to make sure it supports at least 80x24 resolution and sends carriage-return only (CR), *not* carriage-return and line feeds (LF). It is recommended that you have a color terminal supporting Ansi graphics. Darkrealms also supports Avatar and VT-100 terminals.

Access is free of charge and you are entitled to a generous 3 hours a day of online time. Darkrealms has file downloads, message forums, and online games such as Legend of the Red Dragon (LORD), Tradewars and Usurper. In addition, it has a private Email system, real-time chat rooms (teleconferencing) and handles/aliases are allowed. Darkrealms belongs to the Fidonet amateur message network.

Copyright (c)1994-2016 Darkrealms BBS

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