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Old 05-24-2013, 06:22 PM
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Default The Sierra/ImagiNation Network


Is there anyone here who participated in Sierra's early foray into online multiplayer gaming, The Sierra Network? Later rebranded "The ImagiNation Network" after AT&T purchased it, and thereafter purchased again and mercy-killed by AOL. I just had one of my bouts of remembering that it existed, and poof, here's a thread.

Before the Web became a thing and I had any idea Usenet existed, this was the Internet for me. Sierra games were pretty much the purpose of a computer in my pre-adolescent years, and having a network that sped along at a killer 1200 baud and had the aesthetic of all of my favorite Sierra adventure games was just too fucking awesome (or would have been were I prone to using dirty words). The area for kids was called "SierraLand" and featured Red Baron, Stratego and top-down paintball. A lot of people were really into the MMO The Shadow of Yserbius, the sole component of "MedievaLand," but I myself spent a lot of time in the Clubhouse irritating older users trying to play social trivia games.

Looking back, a lot of the infrastructure is hilariously archaic. There was no e-mail, only a "post office" where you could only message other users if you purchased "Sierra Stamps." There were no set usernames, and multiple people could be logged in with the same name at once, resulting in at least 10 people named "Jim" being online at any given time, and impersonation of other users being easy as sin. And the cost was pretty outlandish (Sierra offered an unlimited plan that AT&T nixed, and it cost $120/mo, in 1992 dollars), but I guess the entire Internet was expensive at the time.

Forgive the nostalgic blather, but I'm legitimately curious if anyone else here is a TSN/INN expat. A project called INN Revival has restored the functionality of the program using DOSBox and an emulated server, but to my knowledge it's pretty rare to log on and actually find other people using it.
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:55 PM
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I had a ridiculous experience with ImagiNation Network when I was 14. I was spending the night at my friend's house, and I brought the free ImagiNation install disk with me. After his parents went to bed, we got his mom's credit card from her purse and used it to create an account. (IIRC, you were given a certain number of free hours to try it out, but you had to provide credit card info to get started). We tooled around for a bit, and eventually ended up in one of the chat areas. Somehow or another we started chatting with a guy who had us 100% convinced that he was Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins. Seriously. We weren't dumb kids, but holy crap does that sound profoundly moronic in hindsight. Anyhow, we stayed up all night talking to Billy C, and ended up surpassing our free trial. When the credit card bill came later that month, my friend had to fess up to his mom. She wasn't buying the Billy Corgan story, and I was never allowed to spend the night at his house again.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:05 PM
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Sierra tried its hand at the MMO genre with a game titled The Realm. I never bought in, but I spent a long time creating trial characters.

I never joined the Sierra Network, either, but I was aware of it at the time.
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:38 PM
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I remember The Sierra Network, but I never played on it. I was stuck at home with my standalone copy of Shadow of Yserbius/Fates of Twinion. I could only get to a certain level before the difficulty got too high, and I didn't understand why I couldn't play on The Sierra Network.
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:34 PM
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I used to look with great longing at the ads for Sierra Network/ImagiNation in the old Sierra rag, InterAction.

But my parents wouldn't spring for an AOL account, there was no way they were springing for Sierra's...

I've often thought of checking out the Revival but I'm sure I'd only be disappointed.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:30 PM
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There was this thread a few years back.
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