| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (17)

Posted: Mar 13th 2012 1:23PM Wilhelm2451 said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
No mention of MegaWars III/Stellar Emperor? *sniff*

I have actual physical trophies from Kesmai for Stellar Emperor from 1986!

http://tagn.wordpress.com/2006/12/20/stellar-emperor-winning-the-game/

Posted: Mar 13th 2012 2:09PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Aww... actually I had MegaWars in one paragraph but replaced it with the title of another game. I just had to wound you somehow!

Posted: Mar 13th 2012 3:06PM Wilhelm2451 said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified) Hah!

And the spiritual successor to Air Warrior was really Aces High, which is still running today.
Reply

Posted: Mar 13th 2012 4:43PM ApathyCurve said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Good article. Haven't thought about some of those games in many years. I had forgotten Battletech multiplayer completely.

I never got to try the original Air Warrior, since it got up and running right as I joined the Marine Corps. Connectivity in the military was somewhat limited in the '80s and 90s -- to put it mildly. I had to "settle" for single-player in Larry Holland's awesome Their Finest Hour and the incomparable F-19 Stealth Fighter.

Desktop computers don't fit in seabags very well, but I did manage to cram an IBM PS/2 Model 25 into one and lug it around the Pacific Rim for several years so I could play my sims. Bulletproof, that computer was. Wish I still had it, (or at the very least the original Model M keyboard that came with it).

Posted: Mar 13th 2012 4:58PM Celtar said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Don't forget that Marc Jacobs also was in business before he started Mythic with a company that did DragonsGate on GEnie, a text based online multi-player rpg. A competitor of Simutronics Gemstone III, Dragonsrealms and of course Kesmai's text based multi-player rpg.

Kelton, John and the rest of Kesmai were some good people, fun to interact with and open to discussion on how to improve their games. My main interaction with them was via Mechwarrior from 1992 to 1997.

After that point I felt that they were in trouble and I sat back to see what would happen, with Murdock's group buying them I figured it was all over but for the ink to dry. My prediction sadly wasn''t wrong when they were sold to EA.

Fond memories of those days online, though I don't miss the 6.00 an hour charge plus 2.00 an hour Sprint Net charges to play. Btw you missed the part where if you logged in between 08:00 Est until 17:00 Est, GEnie charged you 12.00 an hour instead of 6.00!

Logging in during "prime time" as it was known was costly to move Mech units around at times. $500.00 to $1,000.00 monthly usage charges were not uncommon for many of us back then.

Posted: Mar 13th 2012 5:35PM Wilhelm2451 said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Celtar $18 an hour prime time for GEnie as I recall it. That was to keep you from using their resources during business hours when they were selling the processing time to corporate customers.
Reply

Posted: Mar 13th 2012 5:49PM Celtar said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Wilhelm2451

Yeah my memory is getting a bit fuzzy anymore, I only did it occasionally or when someone would call me and ask for a rescue of their corpse in Gemstone. Corpse runs were expensive during prime time.

Damn those corporate customers and their need for processing time! :>
Reply

Posted: Mar 13th 2012 5:54PM Celtar said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Wilhelm2451

Btw Wilhelm, gotta give you props for keeping such accurate info. I used to be more packrat like but after a while just got tired of keeping old hard drives, floppy disks and diskettes, files etc. Talking about your blog. :) Fun stuff there.
Reply

Posted: Mar 13th 2012 6:14PM Wilhelm2451 said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Celtar Actually, on reflection, I think it was $18 an hour when the off-peak hourly rate was $5, but they lowered it to $12 an hour when they boosted the off-peak to $6 an hour, because that was the kind of stand up guys they were at GEnie.

Or I might be completely wrong. Memories that exceed 20 years in age should be regarded with skepticism. Especially my own. But I did meet Bill Louden once. I have pictures.
Reply

Posted: Mar 14th 2012 1:20AM Space Cobra said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Wilhelm2451

It was always half the prime time rate during non-peak hours.

I think in the Twilight of their service, they changed it to one rate, but that was the years AOL became "Big Dog" and went with one rate all the time. But AOL wasn't initially geared to take advantage of Corporate clients. Of course, this would change but again, things moved on and people got out of the "easy" service that gated your internet usage a bit.
Reply

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 7:48PM Wilhelm2451 said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Space Cobra I have to call you on that SC. You are incorrect.

I dug out my old copies of GEnie LiveWire and found the one with the May 1, 1989 price changes.

Prices at that time for 300/1200/2400 bps were pegged at $5/$6/$10 per hour respectively at non-prime time, while prime time was $18 a hour.

It changed a lot over time, but the prices were not, as you said, always half prime time rate for off-peak.
Reply

Posted: Mar 13th 2012 6:53PM Celtar said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Heh, you met Bill? Was he an interesting guy? I've partied, gamed and hung out with a lot of Simutronics and Kesmai folks at one time or another. Btw I loved the Aladdin software that we used to use for reading the bbs, round tables etc. What a great utility that was. :)

Can't forget Federation and The Hundred Years War as well. :)



Reply

Posted: Mar 14th 2012 1:41AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Ah, EGA MultiPlayer BattleTech... my first foray into anything resembling an Online Role-Playing Game. I remember printing out a book's worth of pages on my dot-matrix printer... a "guide" of sorts on how my faction's player/rank structure was built and how to play my role as a company commander for House Davion's 1st Albion Training Cadre.

I still remember being frustrated with how MPBT:Solaris and MPBT:3025 didn't live up to expectations compared to the original EGA version of the game, especially b/c MW2 had already been released at that point.

With that said, I'm really excited for MW:O coming out this year. Not much has been said about how factions and territory/planet control will work (other than it will be in the game), but the core gameplay looks great.

Posted: Mar 14th 2012 5:27AM halfcaptain said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Great article! The Game Archaeologist is a great column, keep this shit upppp

Posted: Mar 14th 2012 2:52PM Taemys said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I started out in Air Warrior on AOL back in the day. Even after I started in UO, I never really thought about comparing the two. But AW was definitely the gateway to MMO's and it doesn't get enough credit as such.

Posted: Mar 14th 2012 5:01PM Grayeagle said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Nice Article :)
The AW 'world' was persistent ..servers initially could 'hold' up to 20 players at once! (Remembers Warhawk mission night when our CO, Fencedweeb, could not log in while the rest of us ran the mission, bombing deep in A-land that nite .. LOL)

Years later I was hired as Lead Artist for Air Warrior to drag it kickin an screamin into the 'Window's age. Used what I had learned in CAD Engineering to make a Mustang look like a Mustang ..Jonathan 'Blue' Baron commented that we actually managed to increase frame rates due to the low-poly modeling my team and I implemented. We *rocked* :) We built one of the first texture mapped 3d environments ..good times :)

-Frank P. 'Gray Eagle' WIlliamson
-Warhawk
-FUBAR (I still miss Hoppy an Pho)
-Damned (squad still flies in Aces High)

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 9:34PM NomadRip said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Still have friends today I met playing AW once it hit AOL. Thankfully I hadn't found it prior to that, because people were selling kidneys to pay for it at the hourly rate.

I still have the AW3D Master beta cd that Johnathan sent me in Nov 1997. I made a CD label from one of GrayEagle's gorgeous paintings of a silver P-38 over the clouds.

Great game and had the best of times playing it. AW really did open the doors wide for MMOs.

If you like Aviation artwork, you should Google the guy who posted above me ;-)

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW