Monday, November 5, 2012


MUD is the acronym for Multi-User Dungeon. They are online games that are played over a network using a simple text based interface. They are the precursors of modern graphical online games.

MUDs lack the flashy graphics and slick soundtracks that many have come to expect from online games, and some have dismissed them as a dieing breed. But MUDs continue to develop and to attract developers, writers and players. Most importantly players.

The Mud Connector currently lists over 973 games. The forums at Top Mud Sites Top Mud Sites claim over 160 thousand registered members. 

Are all these games playable? Are all these registered users active?

Nah. Many games are in development or closing down. Forum users come and go. And, the numbers don't compete with the million of players on the larger MMO (massively multiplayer online) games, but they aren't zero either.

I've played, wrote and developed for MUDs for over a decade. The amount of time I've spent on all graphical MMO is a small percentage of the time I've spent on my favorite MUDs in the past. I'd like to see MUDs continue to grow, and I encourage growth when I can.  Here are just a few of the things that I think make MUDs special.

  • MUDs are a TEXT based game. It is more like reading a book than watching a movie.
  • MUDs can be created by anyone. You could build your own with community provided tools or you could help others build theirs. Almost everyone who runs a MUD is looking for help.
  • MUDs provide a great opportunity to write. From interacting with other players to writing detailed description of dungeons or monsters. If you want to flex your writing muscles find a MUD that you like and ask them if they would like a builder. Builders are a special class of players who in some cases help run the game, but in all cases, they are the ones who build the game world. They write the descriptions, build the quests and help to tell the story.
  • MUDs don't have millions of players. A really successful game might have a few hundred players on line at a time. A typical successful game might have less than 30. Most have fewer than 10. The smaller games can feel more like a table top RPG if you find a group that you like to play with on a regular basis.
  • MUDs come in many flavors. There are medieval fantasy, science fiction, zombie apocalypse, and pretty much anything you can image from pop culture.
  • MUDS are free. Yep. Some games might charge something, but the majority of games don't and many can't because the license that applies for their game engine forbids them to charge for the service. Don't give in to the hype of the pay to play games. They aren't better because they charge.
  • MUDs can be played everywhere. MAC, PC, Linux worskstation, IOS or android device. A popular client for android phones is called BlowTorch

If you haven't played a MUD, then stop by one of the sites I listed above and give one a try. To get the best experience, download a client that is designed for MUDs. Sure, you could connect from the command line on a windows machine running telnet, by why do that when there are excellent, community supported clients that you can download and use for free. MUSHclient is the one I prefer.

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