Revivals of Old Online Services

This isn’t intended to be a big meaty article, but it’s worth noting that three online services from the 80s through early 2000s, the old Commodore 64 service QuantumLink, and both its successor America On-Line and AOL’s rival Prodigy, have experiences something of a revival in recent years.

The QuantumLink experience can be had with new servers using client software available from the QuantumLink Reloaded project. It provides software that can be used to interface with their servers running on either a real Commodore 64 (with PC software acting as an intermediary) or the VICE emulator.

Snazzy banner!

For AOL, the AOL Reloaded project (who, fittingly, has an announcement post on Livejournal) is still in the early days, but have managed to get the AOL 3.0 client interfacing with their server. And gaming and tech journalist Benj Edwards is helping with the Prodigy Reloaded project, which seeks to provide something for its old clients to talk to. If you’re interested on some of the details of how this worked, you should take a look at Prodigy Reloaded’s project page.

Image source: https://g.livejournal.com/10829.html
The brutal JPEG artifacts in this screenshot edit are all part of the aesthetic.

I must emphasize that none of these services are hosted by their original companies or any rights-holders. They are all fanwork, and because of the ridiculous extents of copyright in this era could easily be wiped off the map without even a lawsuit, with a simple Cease and Desist. But until that happens (if ever), please enjoy.

Sadly, there is no word of a similar revival for former online leader CompuServe, which was my own early online hangout. AOL bought them in the late 90s, and, bizarrely, still puppets a compuserve.com site, which it loads with generic news for people who have yet to figure out that a much wider internet exists.

Their About page reads, “CompuServe: The Value Leader in Cyberspace.”
I feel deeply sorry for whoever still loads this page on the regular.

In any event, none of these projects or sites can hold a candle to cyber1, which seeks to recreate the experience and the software of the old PLATO systems from the 1970s.

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