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Online San Diego

From the April 25, 1997 ComputorEdge (Issue 1517)

By Jim Trageser

Fanciful Online

Say you're new to this computer stuff. You like the Web, but you're kind of burnt on it. And you're wondering what the grizzled old-timers are raving about when they talk about the golden age of bulletin boards. If any of that applies, you owe it to yourself to check out Fanciful Online, which is as good a board as ever was seen during the heyday. It's got tons of files, lots of conversation areas, and a slew of online games to entertain and keep you busy.

Fanciful runs one of the best BBS software packages, "Wildcat!" v. 5.0. Oh, did I mention Fanciful is a free, public-service BBS? All areas of the BBS are yours just for the logging on – as is free Internet e-mail (although the sysops do offer a subscription plan that seems to give you more online time per day and helps them meet their costs).

In addition to the ANSI graphics (which looked really sharp on my Atari), there is an html> interface for the BBS that will run on Windows machines and give it the look and feel of the Web (now, why you'd want to do this, I have no idea). That html> terminal program is freeware and can be downloaded from the board. Also, there is a Web site for the board –

So what's to do on Fanciful? Plenty. There are more than 100 active conversation subgroups, or subs. Thirty of them are local, but they tended to be very slow. As in mostly dead. More interesting and busier were the several dozen Wildnet conferences, with topics ranging from movies and music to MSDOS and Star Trek. There were 24 subs from the Politically Incorrect Net that had a fair amount of traffic – and great sub names, like "Damn Broads" and "Men Are Jerks." There were also 20 USENET feeds, with topics ranging from alt.bbs.doors to to Fanciful also offers special conversation areas for teens, seniors and women that this adult male didn't qualify for and so can't say if they were worthwhile or not.

The files area is pretty jampacked. There are four CD-ROMs online, plus a local hard drive. The CD-ROMs have more games, utilities and programs for PC clones than you can shake Bill Gates at. The hard drive had really current stuff, like the Microsoft Internet Explorer fix that keeps outsiders off your hard drive.

Finally, there are dozens of online games – including five ongoing games of Legend of the Red Dragon, or LORD. Other role-playing or strategy games include TradeWars 2002, The PIT and Galactic Overlord. There are also various gambling games (dice, poker, keno, etc.), solitaire and board game adaptions.

Fanciful Online has been around for going on two years and has more than 150 users. And it also features a callback verifier for full access on your first call. Being free, it's certainly worth a call.