How-To Geek

Relive the Early Days of the Internet at Telehack

Once upon at time before the age of HTML, the internet looked like a command prompt and a world of text. Telehack is a simulation site that recreates the early internet experience.

How exactly does it recreate the experience? From the Telehack FAQ file:

Telehack is a simulation of a stylized arpanet/usenet, circa 1985-1990. It is a full multi-user simulation, including 25,000 hosts and BBS’s the early net, thousands of files from the era, a collection of adventure and IF games, a working BASIC interpreter with a library of programs to run, simulated historical users, and more.

It’s a well fleshed out project that allows you to use commands, load games, navigate the network, interact with real users (currently logged in) and see significant historical users (simulated for posterity). You can access the project either via web interface or by firing up an actual telnet client and connecting in the old fashioned way. Hit up the link below to access the web portal and type telehack.txt at the prompt to read more about the project.


Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/18/11

Comments (6)

  1. Andi Meyer

    All I need now is an acoustic coupler.

  2. Devon

    Now wasn’t it a wonderful time? I often miss the gold old times :(

  3. Devon

    Well not gold.. but good… lol

  4. Nick

    go to telehack
    type “starwars”
    hit enter

  5. Nick

    go to telehack
    type zrun zork1
    hit enter

  6. Neil

    I used x25 “PAD” to connect to “Mist”, an early multiplayer adventure game, Essex University. A couple of bottles of Newkie Brown at one of the pubs on campus, and then up to the computer room for a night of gaming. People who came to the computer room early in the morning thought I was incredibly studious.

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