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History of ASCII art

Throughout decades of text-mode computing that utilized 7-bit ASCII (the American Standard Code for Information Interchange), which was proposed in 1963 by ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) and finalized in 1968, many intelligent, inventive, innovative people have created what seems like an endless variety of ASCII art making computer use more interesting for everyone.

ASCII art gained even more popularity when BBSes (electronic Bulletin Board Systems) thrived for at least another decade before the internet became common-place, and new ASCII art continues to be created even today; it's an art form we believe deserves to be celebrated, and hope will be enjoyed by historians many centuries from now.

Various additions have been made to ASCII by many different vendors over the years, most notably the Extended ASCII Character Set common on PCs operating in 8-bit ASCII text-mode, but ANSI art (another excellent form of art) created with it isn't as common as 7-bit ASCII art which has the advantage of being truly cross-platform.

Colours, which are more commonly used in ANSI art, are sometimes also used to enhance the appearance of ASCII art, yet the general preference seems to be to not use colours (possibly because there's a certain quaint challenge in working within a more restrictive set of limits that yields a far greater feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction).


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