A “door” used in the bulletin board system is just a connection between the bulletin board system and the external application the user is trying to run. Doors are most commonly used to play computer games such as TradeWars 2002, Food Fight, Solar Realms Elite, Space Dynasty, and many others.
How did playing games through a door actually work?
Before people had the automatic connection to the internet like we do today, PC users back in the 80’s and 90’s had to find another way to connect and play games. The way the internet worked back then was to use a modem connected to a landline phone jack which would direct the connection service through a bulletin board system within the user’s remote geographical location.
The term “door” was coined because the moment the user was connected to the bulletin board system, the games would have been analyzed and accessed through a proverbial doorway between the BBS and the separate-running game application. Things were so complicated back then, weren’t they? For the most part, these games were multiplayer games based on turns. This means that you were able to play a game with another user.
Game Playing and Socialization
BBS door games offered three different genres of games: strategy, role-playing, and board and card style games. Most door games took a turn-based approach, where multiple players each had a set number of turns available each day. Because users accessed a BBS by phone, they tended to call bulletin board systems within their own area code in order to avoid long-distance charges.
Since bandwidth was generally very low, the majority of door games could only support plain text graphics, thus emphasized gameplay around social interactions. The multiplayer nature of many BBS door games led to a great online social experience. Games such as Global War or Solar Realms Elite made this possible by offering communication platforms players could use to socialize during gameplay. Role-playing games like Legend of the Red Dragon made are possible for players to flirt and build relationships with other players. Such announcements were considered to be “big news” and were always posted on the public announcement board within the designated game board.
BBS door games were the best way for people to entertain themselves and maintain social interactions from the comfort of their homes. Most of the time, these games were completely free to access, which was a major plus.