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ANSI Art Collection from Old BBSs (textfiles.com)
84 points by FreakyT on Apr 18, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments

Brings back old memories of TheDraw in the DOS days. Made some ANSI art back for some pirate boards in the early 90s. Someone archived it and I was able to find one of the ones I did.


If your interested in looking at amazing ones, look for Jed from the ACID group (or others?) His stuff was amazing. I wonder what he is doing now.

http://sixteencolors.net/ is another great archive for ANSi art.

The art scene in the mid 90s was an interesting, vibrant, microcosm, moving from BBS's to IRC over the course of a few years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILNs1GChGDk and the longer http://www.bbsdocumentary.com/ are a good watches if youre interested.

Textfiles.com is awesome. It's one of Jason Scott's first creations. He's also involved in Archive.org's browser-playable DOS game archive at https://archive.org/details/softwarelibrary_msdos_games

And an all around good egg.

I remember when I switched from TheDraw to the amazing new technology of RIPScript, which was like some insanely convoluted svg precursor, but allowed for some pretty metal vector graphix loading screens. http://www.bbsdocumentary.com/library/PROGRAMS/GRAPHICS/RIPS...

Then about five years ago I started switching all my web development away from pngs and gifs to svgs. The more things change...

This is gold to my inner terminal nerd.

I made a simple terminal ANSI art viewer just for this: https://github.com/chjj/blessed/tree/master/example/ansi-vie...

Niice. Looks way better than `curl -si <url>`. Thanks!

Believe or not, telnet://ptt.cc , one of the bbs in Taiwan, is still highly active with more than 100k concurrent users normally.

it's crazy, isn't it lol. (I am Taiwanese, who is actively using PTT

I got confused because ANSI is not the same as ASCII. These are color and have more graphical symbols.

Interesting but different.

Hint: Click on the [?] next to each file, the ans file doesn't render happy in the browser.

In DOS you needed to load ANSI.SYS in your CONFIG.SYS file in order to see ANSI terminal codes. Later on PC Magazine or some other company made ANSI.COM that you could load at any time as a Terminate and Stay Resident program to see ANSI codes.

It basically uses the CGA 80x25 text 16 color screen on PC and PC clones.

I could be wrong, but I think the terminal codes were based on VT-100 or something with the IBM font added. When I had an Amiga 1000 I had to set my terminal to VT-100 and load a font that had the IBM PC character set in it, because the Amiga fonts had different character sets in them that didn't look right.

Modern terminal programs for BBSes are like this one: http://syncterm.bbsdev.net/

It fully support BBS ANSI codes. It also lets you connect to Internet based Telnet BBS systems.


I wrote a document trying to clarify the meaning of 'ANSI', which is a misnomer of sorts,


>This is purely an American misnomer, because early IBM PC and clones in the European nations did not ship with the IBM CP437 code page by default.

A Hungarian ANSI guy here. In Central/Eastern Europe we used the IBM CP852 which only tweaked some of the already accented characters to the language correct one. So we still had ANSI scene with the 8bit block characters.

These have ANSI terminal escape sequences in them:


I was gonna say - textfiles.com has some good examples of 'what is ANSI art?', but to really get down into 'What's the big deal?', people need to see the iCE, ACiD, and RELiC packs from circa 1993-94.

Glad someone's collected those.

Does that site seriously have no scrollbar while scrolling one line at a time or is my browser broken?

Why a native phone app? Isn't this a gallery of images? Am I missing something (other than just for the fun of it)?

In the early days of the web I remember seeing an ASCII art pheonix made of (if I remember correctly) AGCT dna-like sequences. It rendered really slowly in netscape. I'd love to know how today's browsers handle it but alas it is lost in time...

Need more ANSI from The Floating Pancreas, which was a rather unique BBS that served up a lot of textfiles back in the day. How could it be omitted?

If no one archived it, it's gone. If no one submitted it to an archive, it's hard to find. If someone saved it to a floppy disk, it's probably gone [1]

[1]: http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/3191

That article's a bit melodramatic -- I have Apple II floppies from the mid 1980s that still read fine. They just need to have been stored properly.

Wow! FpG mentioned on Hacker News. Whoda thunk?

Unique is one way to describe it. I have an archive of some (sadly, not all) of our stuff, but after looking through it just now there's a lot that isn't exactly, um, appropriate? I guess the whole point was to be shocking but, if I'm honest, the tables have turned. A lot of it offends and embarrasses /me/ now.

Older, wiser, less acid...

Were you a regular?

Lol! Less acid. I called frequently. I remember having a chat session with the sysop and was amazed that he could type rapidly in that funky mixed-case all the time. Maybe he had a foot pedal for a shift key?

Brings me back to the days when I had a 300baud modem on my C-64 and tied up the phone line for hours at a time.

Looking at some of those gave me a visceral impulse to play some door games.

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