Do You Still Play in MUDs?

MUDs have been around since well before the Internet and still thrive to this day. First created by Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle, these classic games allowed hundreds of people to login to one world at the same time back when connections between computers were very, very slow. These multi-user real-time virtual worlds were described to players entirely in text. At first, text was gray or green depending on users screens and later ASCI colors were added to allow people to navigate through the worlds easier.

Edit Note: The facts presented above were edited from the original article version thanks to clarification from Richard Bartle. The corrections were not made prior to the production of the episode of Daily PWN we produced, shown below.

Commands in muds generally included north, south, up, down, east, west, get all, wield sword, kill raccoon and so on. These commands were simple, and thanks to mud programs like Zmud by Zuggsoft, were usually hot mapped to a single key.

MUDs still exist today and are played by thousands of people thanks to their simplicity and accessibility. MUDs appear very ungame-like and this makes them a very popular gaming experience for the office. One of my favorites from over a decade ago is a mud called Arctic, based on the world of DragonLance described by authors like Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Arctic has been around since the early years of muds and relies on a code base called DIKU which has been heavily customized and modified. Currently, it still hosts between 30 and 100 simultaneous players at any given time.

So the question I make to you, Lockergnome readers, is whether or not you currently play on the MUDs. If so, which one(s) do you enjoy and which MUD in particular got you involved in the text-based adventure world?

Matt Ryan
The Frugal Geek