Experience the proto-internet running on an Apple IIgs in your web browser

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Back when the Apple IIgs was released in 1986, the Internet as we know it didn’t really exist. Instead, we had electronic bulletin boards, or BBSes: simple ASCII portals for email, games, file downloads, chatting, and — yes — even porn, that we all dialed into over phone lines.

Weren’t around to experience this for yourself? Don’t worry about it. You can now experience all the analog splendor of an old-school BBS for yourself, thanks to Level 29. And even better, it all runs in a web browser.

Running on an ancient Apple IIgs system, Level 29 is an old-school BBS running on a slow-as-molasses 300 baud modem that you can actually still dial into if you happen to have a modem handy. But if not, you can also Telnet into the BBS, connect via Raw Sockets, or even just access it using your web browser. Once you’re at Level 29, you can prowl their forums, set up an e-mail address — good, of course, only on Level 29 — and more.

On one hand, Level 29 is a fantastic reminder of how cool the technology of the era and the proto-Internet of yesteryear can be. On the other hand, though, it’s enough to make a lot of nostalgia for old-school BBSes go away… man, these things were slow.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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