It ate a lot of my youth; the only way you could log on if you weren't an Essex student was through nefarious means, through the UK's pre-Internet packet-switched-system. I spent a lot of Summer nights waiting for an open incoming slot. It was a fantastic environment to explore in the dead of night, by the glow of a 1200/75 modem. What was especially strange was reading lots of tech magazines and science fiction predicting that one day you'd be able to converse using your computer in a mystical, virtual environment -- and then at night, I'd go there.
Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.