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Justin

The Story Of XBAND - The 16-Bit Multiplayer Network For Super Nintendo & Sega Genesis

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XBAND was a multiplayer network and modem for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis that was released all the way back in 1994! XBAND featured skill based matchmaking, the ability to send and receive email, instant message-like chatting, electronic newspapers, leaderboards, multiple gamer profiles, nationwide stats, and worked by adding network play to pre-existing games like Super Mario Kart, MK, Street Fighter, Madden, NBA JAM, and more! XBAND had more features than XBOX Live did at its launch, and it was all made possible in 1994 for SNES and Sega Genesis consoles (There’s a Saturn version too!). So what happened to XBAND and why wasn’t it a success?

This documentary features new and exclusive interviews with XBAND’s developers, its users, and the team that’s worked to bring XBAND modems back to life so that you can play your 16 bit consoles over the internet today. Join me as we look back at the true start of online console multiplayer networks. This is the Story Of XBAND!

 

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I owned the XBAND modem for the Genesis and it was a lot of fun for myself & my friends. We would play each other & other gamers nationwide on Madden NFL 95. We were usually in the Top 10 for wins every week; there was one week when there were three of us on the Top 10.

I start chatting with one Madden gamer who, it turned out, lived in Manhattan at the time. He figured I was into anime - my handle was Vegeta. (I'm glad I snagged it early because there were a lot of DBZ fans who wanted my handle.) We talked anime & football when he told me about an anime convention called AnimEast '95. It was held in NJ and he was planning on going to meet with a few other XBAND users. I took a NJ Transit bus to New Brunswick which turned out to be fortuitous as the bus stopped at the parking garage of the hotel where the convention was held. It made for a fun time meeting everyone in person & hanging out. We would then get together in NYC to shop for games and also play at a friend's apartment.

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