Over a year ago, I purchased BSS The Documentary. Actually, when I found out about it I joined up in the Adventurer club, which prebought the next documentary about text adventures and included a copy of BBS. I think because the DVDs are double layer, they don’t play right on my oldish DVD player. I tried to watch them and they’d pause in the same place every time. That was just enough of an issue to make me table them indefinitely.
Last week, I changed that and started watching them at work during my lunch hour. Wow, this is a good documentary! It helps that I too came up from the BBS tradition so I have a lot of a nostalgia trip invested when I watch. Even if I didn’t, I think it would still be a fun watch. I’m through 5 of the 8 episodes now, having just finished the “Artscene” episode. Because I was never in that scene, this was the least engaging to me. The episode so far that was most engaging to me was the “Make it Pay” one. What was amazing was the historical perspective it can bring to our present day concerns with making money in new media. The feelings that these BBS pioneers had about the commercial BBSes carpetbagging into their world and trying to make money from their community is the same way I feel today. I believe that because of the permissive CC license, I will do an episode of my podcast that plays back the soundtrack of that episode and do my own commentary on it. Also especially good was the “FidoNet” one, relating the sordid history of the first really broad userbase in computer networking systems. I loved it.
I’d urge everyone with any interest in this world to check out the documentary. You can buy it straight from Jason and help support one of our own doing the good work of documenting permanently aspects of our subculture. Step up, kids! I can’t wait until Get Lamp is ready.