Forest of UNIX

ANSI and BBS art

ANSI/BBS art is an art style that emerged from Bulletin Board Systems. These were a precursor to the internet as we know it, these emerged in the early 1990's and allowed you to dial into a remote server via a terminal program. These often would be a place where you could chat and play games together (sometimes they would even allow you to upload files via FTP).

BBS owners used to make their BBS's standout by customizing the login and text menu's with colorful art. This art was nothing more than text characters organized and colored by ANSI terminal escape codes. This art would often have a hard limit of a character width of 80 lines (this was the set line width in the 'olden days). There was no limit on the height causing the art pieces to often have vertical compositions. Often the art would portray elements of nerd and geek culture (think of superheroes, fantasy, video games, graffiti (an outlier but still common), etc).

When the internet reared its head BBS's died out quickly. Whilst ASCII art is still a thing and often used for displaying a visual representation of something in an environment where you can only use text (like YouTube comments, Twitch chat, Steam reviews, etc). ANSI art had the big drawback of being dependent on ANSI escape codes which are often only supported by terminals (emulators).

In order to give this form of art a little bit of time in the limelight I will be sharing some links about ANSI and BBS art (more info Some people still host BBS's, all you need to connect to one, is the address and ssh or telnet. I also found a website that allows you to play nethack via SSH, to play just type ssh [email protected].