Like almost all bulletin boards, the HMVH Corporation BBS was ASCII text based.
Like most bulletin boards, the BBS featured a host of files available for download.
Like most system operators, the SysOp of the aforementioned BBS was a guy.
Like most guys, the SysOp liked pictures of cars and girls.
Like most male users of most any BBS, the SysOp amassed a sizeable collection of pictures. A large number of these pictures paid homage to the fine female form. The vast majority of these pictures were also made available for download to users of the BBS.
The BBS interface was all text; there were no such things as “previews” or “thumbnails”.
There’s no viewing images online such as on this very web page. If you wanted (to view) an image file, you would have to manually select (tag) it and then launch a protocol such as Z-Modem to download it. Afterwards, once you’ve downloaded the image, you’d have to log off the BBS, exit (or shell) your terminal program, and finally launch a viewer such as CompuShow in order to view your bounty.
And sometimes the bounty sucked. Shitty pics of ugly wimmin’ with flat boobies!
But why did the bounty suck? Why on earth would you download such epic suckage?
Because the file descriptions sucked. They were wrong, misleading, or vague.
And that’s because it was the SysOp’s job to provide some kind of file descriptions.
Images didn’t just come pre-packaged with embedded EXIF/metadata or FILE_ID.DIZ descriptions; it was entirely up to the SysOp or another appointed human to provide something which tells you what the picture is about.
When you did a file area listing you could easily get something like this:
FILENAME SIZE FILEDATE DL DESC. 1. AI-R-005.JPG 54kb 08-10-94 [ 1] Cute girl on chair. 2. AC103-1.JPG 36kb 08-10-94 [ 2] Woman in sexy stockings. 3. ALEXA.JPG 53kb 08-10-94 [ 1] Some topless woman. 4. AFN004.JPG 45kb 08-10-94 [ 2] Oriental babe with great body.
Not particularly descriptive or helpful, is it?
Or, how about this, to describe the following images?
5. ALLY.JPG 18kb 08-10-94 [ 1] Very pretty girl in wet T-shirt. 6. ADAIR.JPG 47kb 08-10-94 [ 1] Beach babe with incredible legs! 7. AI-R-050.JPG 32kb 08-10-94 [ 4] Breasts to be proud of. 8. ALISON41.JPG 54kb 18-07-98 [ 0] Perennial pretty girl lies n...
Users were entirely at the mercy of the SysOp’s opinion, taste, level of literacy, sense of humour, or current state of mind when he added new files to the BBS. It’s worse even when you consider that those users who contributed/uploaded files of their own usually provided puerile descriptions that seldom made it into the filebase.
And yes, the descriptions above are real; these phrases were genuinely used on the BBS, and these were picked as examples to ask the following question: In how many ways do you seriously think it is possible to describe the same mundane scene, especially when you’re dealing with thousands upon thousands of images where there are no real distinguishing or striking features?
How does one sell mediocrity? How do you make stock(-standard) photos interesting?
If you don’t, you’re likely to end up with generic phrases like “blonde girl in hot bikini on beach”, “hot brunette in yellow bikini”, “redhead in green bikini”, “pretty Asian babe in blue bikini”, or “topless blonde on beach”.
They’re still accurate and to the point. Succinct — but BORING!
But occasionally this SysOp had his bursts of crazed creativity, manic misogyny, or insane inspiration and came up with some nasty coffee-spurting descriptions.
Here’s a choice selection of the funniest. With thumbnails.
Images via the BBS archives, copyright (?) the original BBSes and photographers.