Tuesday, January 5, 2010

25 Years of World Devastation!

In order to put a few people in sheer apoplexy of seeing two posts in the same day on my blog, I thought I would just put out a couple of Random thoughts...

2010 is going to be the Chinese year of the Tiger... Hopefully no relation to Mr. Woods.

2010 is also going to be the 25th anniversary of the greatest band that never existed, World Devastation. So heres to Herb, S'car, Spike, TMC and the rest of the honorary members of the band World Devastation. Remember, "call-out for fall-out" and "us want nuclear!"

Update: Thanks to Max for sending in a picture of the "official tour T-Shirt." I think Motel West was one of the few (if not only) BBS in the nation to go this far with its true fandom... The link to the t-shirt back side with complete (as in completely bogus) concert dates is in the comments to this post. BTW, the numbers in the parenthesis is the population of the city (at that time).

The Perpetual Story

An interesting phenomena on a few BBS systems was called a perpetual or never-ending story. So how does this work? Picture a BBS message system similar to a blog or threaded discussion board today. The only real difference is that only one person can be on and read at a time. The person who is online reads the story, and chooses to whether or not to add to the story. The rules changed based on what BBS you were on. Typically most BBS's had the unwritten rule that you don't kill off any of the characters. Thankfully, the Motel West didn't have that rule.

What is the benefit of a perpetual story? Well if you have a lot of quality contributors it becomes a funny mish-mash of "how do I get the character out of this one?" You are basically put in a position where you write the next chapter of the story...for good or for evil. Every once in a while you would get a person who didn't care much about the story and would undoubtedly end it someting like this...

"And then Winefred pulled out a shotgun and killed everyone. The end."

Or another way some people tried to kill the story was...

"Mr. Coffee pulled out a nucluear device and pushed the button...BOOM! The End."

And the classic way to end a storyline in the 1980's was of course the "Dallas Method":

"...and then Frank Zelba rolled over and woke up. Looking around the room he in amazement he announces, 'It was all a dream!'"

It was a great way many of us armchair authors could chime in using our "mad writing skilz" and show the world that we are the next Heinlein, Herbert, or Adams! In that 20 or so minutes, we controlled the world...and the crazy antics of our friends...as we all ended up in the story in one part or another. As mentioned in earlier posts, our real life exploits frequently became subject fodder for our story board.

The real time / multi-user aspect of the internet makes this type of perpetual story more difficult to execute today. Plus, there would be many more literary assassins who would try to sabotage the story than in years past. Back then, we didn't need to worry about spambots posting about little blue pills, the next hot stock tip, or the latest weight loss craze.

Anyways, heres to those made up gems of old, were you could steal your friends girlfriend, his brothers cherry red convertible, and save the story all in the same post... :) Isn't that right? Frank? S'car? Lioness? Anybody?