BBS door

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A door in a bulletin board system is an interface between the BBS software and an external application.[1] The term is also used to refer to the external application, a computer program that runs outside of the main bulletin board program.

Sometimes called external programs or chains, doors have been described as "the 'apps' to the BBS platform."[2] A sysop could differentiate his BBS from others by adding add various doors: games, utilities, or other extensions.[3]

Door games

Main article: BBS door game

A major use of doors is for door games: computer games played on the BBS.[4] Some of the popular genres include:

Other door applications

While many of the most popular BBS doors have been games, numerous doors were utility applications [8] such as user opinion polls, ANSI art galleries, or the time bank, which permitted users to time-shift their rationed BBS use.

Frequently doors acted as a front-end to themed databases on subject such as astrology, numerology and fortune-telling, recipes, weather prediction, personal ads (sometimes with additional match-making functionality), classified ads and "for sale" listings (sometimes permitting auctions), BBS lists, and parting comments from the most recent BBS callers.


From the 1990s on, most BBS software had the capability to "drop to" doors. Several standards were developed for passing connection and user information to doors; this was usually done with "dropfiles", small binary or text files dropped into known locations in the BBS's file system. Most doors were responsible for operating the serial port or other communications device directly until returning control to the BBS. Later development of FOSSIL drivers have allowed both BBSes and their doors to communicate without being responsible for direct operation of the communications hardware.


  1. "A Glossary of BBS Terms". InfoWorld: 41. 15 Aug 1988. 
  2. Andrew Chen (26 Aug 2009). "BBS Door Games: Social Gaming Innovation from the 1980s". Inside Social Games. Retrieved 1 Feb 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wolf, Mark J P (2008). The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to PlayStation and Beyond. ABC-CLIO. p. 155.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "wolf" defined multiple times with different content
  4. "BBS Door games". Moby Games. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  5. Edwards, Benj. "The Internet's Forgotten Games". PC Magazine. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  6. Morrow, Blaine Victor (1996). Dial Up!: Gale's Bulletin Board Locator. Gale. 
  7. Tresca, Michael J (2010). The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games. McFarland. p. 93-94. 
  8. Werner, Ray (1995). BBS Secrets. IDG Books Worldwide, Inc. p. 597. ISBN 1-56884-491-3. 

External links

Door games on this wiki