Long before there was a commercial Internet, there were dial-up service providers, bulletin board systems, and the like. At one time, the largest among these was CompuServe, offering a comprehensive range of services including hundreds (if not thousands) of forums, online chat, downloads, and games. Indeed there was a time when no self-respecting computer company existed without a support forum on CompuServe.
I became a CompuServe subscriber in 1991 I believe. Soon after, I discovered a wonderful game hosted by CompuServe: Richard Bartle’s original Multi-User Dungeon, running under the name British Legends. Ten years ago, CompuServe discontinued British Legends using the bogus excuse that the game is not Y2K compatible; I have been running a faithfully ported version of this game on my server ever since.
But the CompuServe service remained. Under the brand name CompuServe Classic, the original service stayed in operation in all these years. Its value was greatly diminished, but it was still usable as a reliable international dial-up Internet service provider (indeed, this is the reason why I kept my CompuServe subscription active.) That is, until now.
A few months ago, they sent out an e-mail informing users that the Classic service will be discontinued on June 30.
Out of curiosity, I tried logging on to CompuServe moments ago. Yes, the old text-based services were still available until recently. But today, this is what I am greeted with:
$ telnet gateway.compuserve.com Trying 184.108.40.206... Connected to gateway.compuserve.com. Escape character is '^]'. User ID: 70674,3414 ?? LOGSTU - System BHC is temporarily unavailable
Well, what can I say? So long, and thanks for all the fun.