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DWANGO was the United States and Canada's first online service dedicated exclusively to DOS based multi-player gaming in the early 1990s.
DWANGO, the Dial Up Wide Area Network Games Operation (originally Doom Wide-Area Network Game Organization), was an early fee-based multiplayer server for Doom, Doom II and Heretic. It was created in early 1994 by Bob Huntley and Kee Kimbrell in Houston, Texas. The first version was released with the shareware release of Heretic by Id Software. It featured an ASCII interface requiring users to connect via dial-up modem. Once logged in, users could chat in a lobby with other gamers and create their own launchpad for the specific game of their choice. DWANGO was run through a MSDOS application which required you to boot up independent of Windows 3.1 into DOS mode because of hardware constraints of that era.
Since it predated widespread consumer access to the Internet, players had to dial long distance to Houston. Even so, it was wildly popular, and the creators reaped a healthy profit from the subscription fees. By early 1995, ten thousand subscribers were paying $9.95 a month, some calling from as far as Italy and Australia.
About this time, Huntley and Kimbrell decided they should expand, and began setting up a franchising system. They charged a flat fee of $35,000 to set up a server, and would let the franchisee keep the rest of the profits. In four months, they set up 22 servers across the country.
DWANGO, headquartered in New York and had offices in Houston and Dallas, and local servers in New York City, Austin (TX), Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Houston, Long Beach (CA), Miami, Minneapolis, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Shreveport (LA), St. Louis, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Montreal. Servers were represented by area code as during its original inception the only way to log onto DWANGO was via a dial up modem. Each city had their own local community of DWANGO enthusiasts.
DWANGO originally supported Id Software's games, and would later make alliances with leading game developers and publishers such as Blizzard Entertainment and 3drealms, to offer a variety of the most popular multi-player games to the consumer in an online environment.
With the advent of Quake came multiplayer across the Internet, and DWANGO, which had started to dwindle by late 1995, was all but dead after its release. It was formally shut down in 1998.
In the mid 1990s Silicon Valley DWANGO members, including gaming champion Dennis Fong known as "Thresh," began gathering for events called "FragFests" in which member computers were connected to an internal computer network for game play.
Games supported included the following:
- Big Red Racing
- Descent II
- Doom II: Hell on Earth
- Duke Nukem 3D
- Final Doom
- MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat
- Shadow Warrior
- Terminal Velocity
- The Ultimate Doom
- Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
- Quake II
- Total Annihilation
One of the widest reaching aspects of DWANGO were the semi-official DWANGO wads created by various authors. Compiled into collections by Lance Lancaster, a.k.a Aikman, an employee of IVS (the operators of DWANGO), they are still widely used amongst the Doom faithful.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 DWANGO Zone To Be Featured on Microsoft's Internet Gaming Zone. Retrieved on June 23, 2006.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 DWANGO Does Asia. Retrieved on June 23, 2006.
- ↑ FragFest history
- DWANGO website
- Japanese DWANGO website
- DWANGO United
- DWANGO Steam group for old acquaintances to meet up
- Deathmatch 95
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