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XBAND - Origin of online gaming and the web before the web

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For those who are unfamiliar with it, the XBAND was a modem device and service which was available for the 16-bit Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis consoles in 1994 and 1995 which allowed gamers to play against skill matched opponents from around the country via their phone lines and included the use of avatars, email, a news page containing the latest updates on gaming and entertainment (again, before the internet was really a thing that most humans were aware of) and tracked each player's stats/achievements and win/loss records (many features even XBOX Live lacked when it debuted years later).  It also allowed messaging between players before starting a match and provided an online multiplayer gaming experience to consoles allowing up to 4 players in 4 different locations around the country to play together in titles like NBA Jam which supported 4 players and of it allowed players of the most popular fighting games of the time to fight head-to-head against opponents from around the nation including the first 3 Mortal Kombat titles, Super Street Fighter 2, Primal Rage and even pioneered online FPS multiplayer with support for the SNES version of Doom for deathmatch between players.

XBAND was formed from a group of Apple employees with ambitious ideas and impressive technical skills and what they created was one of the first online gaming experiences that rivals modern online multiplayer experiences in many ways and with low enough latency for the experience to actually be fun at a time when dialup connections were the standard and gave the world a preview of what the future would have in store once the World Wide Web would arrive and with it, the online gaming revolution that has exploded the gaming industry.

This video is a documentary about XBAND with tons of interviews with many of the brilliant individuals who were there creating this dream and shaping it into a reality along with details about the history of the company, the device and service, as well as detailing why XBAND eventually failed for being too far ahead of its time:


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