History of Arcadia BBS

The story of Arcadia BBS begins back in 1989 with an old Tandy 1000 TX (a 286 8Mhz) and a 2400 baud modem. System Operator (SysOp), Michael Pedersen started the original incarnation of the BBS, Starport Alpha I while a sophomore in high school. At this point, the Internet was something that only a few select colleges and governmental agencies had access to.

The original BBS had a small file area, local messages, and typical online games. Tradewars 2000, Solar Realms Elite, Legend of the Red Dragon (LORD), LORD II, and Planets: TEOS were some of the most popular. At the time the focus of the BBS was geared toward the younger audience interested in playing online games.

After graduating from high school in 1993 Michael transitioned Starport Alpha I from a hobby project to a Commercial BBS. The BBS was renamed to “New England Online” and many upgrades happened at this time. Many of the popular door games were registered. The hardware was upgraded to a Pentium 100Mhz, a satellite dish was added. The satellite dish brought the entire Fidonet Backbone along with many Usenet Newsgroups to the region. During this period the BBS experienced approximately 200 calls per day and operated on four nodes. During this period Michael served as the Network Coordinator now-defunct NET 327 in Northeastern Connecticut.

In 1994 the BBS had migrated away from the text-based traditional BBS model to a new graphical UI and powered by the Excalibur BBS software. This software gave the BBS a more polished look similar to that of America Online but over this year many of our users gravitated away from BBS usage towards the Internet. The BBS was closed in June of 1995 due to a lack of interest locally.

After a brief one-year hiatus the BBS was reopened using the original Remote Access Software and operated for two additional years as a free hobby BBS. The BBS operated using 1 dial-up modem and three additional telnet nodes. Since the focus of the BBS was as a hobby system, the satellite dish was not used.

In 1998 I made the decision to permanently close the BBS as I began plans to start a new commercial Internet Service Business (ISP) business, which I named Westband Networks, Inc. Much of the hardware that was used for the BBS was originally used to start the ISP in its infancy including many of the modems, Digiboard, along with the computers which were repurposed as Linux servers. Westband was in operation for much of the early 2000s until 2011 when people really began moving away from dialup services.

It has been many years since I have operated a BBS of any kind and I happened across some of my old BBS folders and found many of my door registration codes and pondered setting up the BBS again and began a journey to see what (if any) software was available these days. I discovered Mystic BBS which was in it’s infancy when I closed the BBS down in the late 90’s was in fact still actively being developed and was available for modern OS’s. I downloaded and installed the 32-Bit Windows version and installed and registered many of my old doors using the original registration keys from 25 years ago.

Sadly one of my favorite games, Solar Realms Elite, which I have previously paid to register will work as it appears to have a Y2K bug which was not resolved because the original author has lost the code.

I hope you enjoyed this BBS history. If you would like to connect to the current BBS which operates on a 32-Bit version of Windows 2008 Server operating inside a Hyper-V virtual machine on a Dell Power Edge R710 server please connect with your favorite telnet program to telnet://telnet.arcadiabbs.com. Thank you for taking the time to read this.