Category Archives: BBS

The Ad Game: Pre-Internet

Our ad today serves up an ad for a service that gave many people their first taste of electronic mass communication: CompuServe.  Back in the “good” old days, you had a couple of options if you wanted to go online: a local dial-up BBS, or a nationwide equivalent like CompuServe, one of the larger players in the forming market.  Here is the ad, from a 1985 issue of Compute’s Gazette:

The “videotex” mentioned in the copy was an early system to deliver interactive text to users.  It’s funny to me how the base uses of the Internet were all understood and ready to be delivered to a potential user base: news, banking, online shopping, email, games… all the concepts of what we do on the Internet today.  Of course, CompuServe has to couch things in a way people of the 80′s would understand, so they compare their chat service to a “multi-channel CB simulator”.  10-4 good buddy!  I’m also impressed by the image of a Zardoz-type video warrior armed with not only a hand blaster, but a light-sabre as well.  Guy’s ready for a fight!

The CompuServe service still lingers on today as a web portal, in a collaboration between it and another prehistoric Internet fossil: Netscape.