My colleague, Gophur, is one of those who frequently questions the relevance that early-day folks like Richard Bartle have on today’s games. I hope a few of you spent, at the very least, a short time in MUD1.

If you have, it probably made you ask that same question. Chatting with Bloo, he’s made some salient observations of MUD1’s lackings as a game. There is nothing that really gives you a sense of areas or points you in directions you might go. His frustration at trying to conjur up the word sequence peculiar to a single scenario, like trying to do a crossword where none of the words overlap and you don’t know how many letters long any particular word box is…

MUD1 was, partly, motivated by a desire to get humans into an AI sandbox, using the ‘game’ aspect as a lure, and it shows, painfully. But its successor, MUD2, is far more clearly a game.

And its this quantum leap that, I believe, that gives MUD its relevance today. It is “multiplayer 101”.

So if you haven’t already, go play some free MUD1¬†and then go drop by one of the MUD2s. has a “happy hour” free-to-all 6pm-7pm UK time and is based in the UK (so may be a little laggier for US players than Euro players). It gets first mention because it’s run by my old friend, Foddy. is run by Viktor, who also runs the free MUD1.

They both allow you to wander around and do their newbie tours for free, but you can’t do much else without paying either an hourly fee (30p or 50c depending on exchange rate) or a monthly fee (five quid or $7.50 depending).

But I think either is well worth this unique insight into very early evolution of this genre. And I just find Richard’s style of MUD more aesthetically pleasing than LPmuds. I always felt that with most LPmuds the mechanics were always just barely concealled…

C’mon… Mush! Chop to it. I look forward to hearing your observations and thoughts. Although, you may want to spend a few minutes finding a client you are comfortable with. Two I recommend are Clio and Mud2pj.