MUD Bibliography

Compiled and annotated by Richard Bartle

Return to Bibliography index


MAGAZINES

Adams, S., An Adventure in Small Computer Game Simulation, Creative Computing, August 1979, pp 90-97.

In this early paper, Adams (author of many single-user adventures) describes how to go about writing such a game. His approach is essentially frame-based, but is very ad hoc and uses numeric, rather than symbollic, data; it is therefore quite hard to follow what is going on. As the paper is fairly technical, and is based on the concept of an adventure definition language, it's quite interesting (if hopelessly out-dated now). Comparison with the contemporary ZORK papers shows how far the latter was ahead of the field, though...

Ambushbug, Muggers Apply Here, Atari ST User, September 1991, pg 115.

A short comparison between MUDs and SUDs (or MUGs and SUGs, as the author has it). Naturally, MUDs come out best...

Andre, The Avalon MUA, Red Herring, October 1992, pp 34-37.

A review of the AVALON MUD, run on a semi-commercial basis in the UK. The article begins using the same kind of "you are there" voice employed by MUDs themself, and ends with a more external view of the game. As with most "Red Herring" reviews, this one is very fair, and points out deficiencies in the product as well as its strengths. If you want to find out about AVALON without actually playing it, read this article!

Historical note: Andre is Kirm's sister, hence the similarity of style between this review and those of Kirm.

Angela, My Life [and Death] in Multi-User Adventures, Red Herring, February 1992, pp 37-38.

A very good general introduction to MUDs, written for people who like SUDs but aren't blinkered on the subject.

Anonymous, You Haven't Lived..., Gamesman, issue 6, pg 24.

A potted history, followed by the usual review, of MUD2. One of the better ones, and it does mention other MUDs, but a lot of it comes almost verbatim out of the reviewers' notes supplied with journalists' MUD2 account IDs...

Anonymous, Modems and Mazes, Gamesman, issue 8, pp 16-17.

A review of MUD2 that is even more word-for-word identical to the reviewers' notes than the previous one. Only the order of sentences have been changed, and key words omitted, with the result that where it lapses into coherency it's merely garbled...

Anonymous, Fun in a Dungeon, The Home Computer Advanced Course, issue 20, pp 384-385.

"The Home Computer Advanced Course" was one of those "collect all the issues to make up an important reference work" magazines. In the 20th of the set was an "application" feature about MUD1. It's overly concerned with the technicalities of actually getting to play, but does have a lengthy section devoted to the game's commands, levels etc. The publishers, Orbis, seem to re-issue the maagzine series from time to time in different countries - I got a letter from India last year enquiring about MUD1, with a photocopy of the article enclosed for my reference.

Anonymous, Game with Cult Status, TeleLink, January 1985, pp 26-28.

An enthusiastic review of MUD1, similar in content to most of its contemporaries but without the (common at the time) impression that its author had been forced to write it having drawn the short straw in a contest among the staff writers. Mysteriously, the map which accompanies the text is upside-down, having south at the top edge instead of the more usual north.

Anonymous, Games News, Computer + Video Games, August 1985, pg 11.

A column describing the imminent arrival of MUNG, the Multi-User Network Game. This is the only time anyone ever heard of the game, so if you're tracking down early MUD systems, here's a nice, obscure lead for you...

Anonymous, How to get MUGged! A Wizard Tells All..., Zzap 64, April 1987, pp 72-73.

A snappy review of MUD2, with sample logs, boxes about commands and mobiles, and the usual basics of how to log in. It's actually quite informative, and gives a fair flavour of what playing a MUD can be like. Apparently, there were other articles on MUDs published in other issues of the same magazine, but I don't have copies of them.

Anonymous, On-line Porn is Freely Available to Youngsters, Popular Computing Weekly, 16th March 1989, pg 3.

An awful vision of the fate which awaits all MUDs. A screen shot for a MUD named THE (Erogenous) ZONE says it all.

Anonymous, Telephone Games: is their Number Up?, GMI, May 1991, pp 29-30.

An article which attempts to balance the conflicting views of people who think all phone-based games are inherently evil (eg. labour MP Terry Lewis) and people who think that legitimate trade is being restricted by officious, over-sensitive British Telecom (eg. Joe Dever, who writes them). Dever wins the argument, but Lewis is the one with all the clout.

Anonymous, Air Warrior, Advanced Computer Entertainment (date unknown), pp 40-41.

An article concerning, surprise surprise, AIR WARRIOR, however it links it to MUDs (specifically MUD2 and SHADES) and gives a very good explanation of why multi-player games are better than single-player ones. "Advanced Computer Entertainment" apparently have an early issue (number 4) devoted to future gaming technology, where games like AIR WARRIOR were predicted. However, I have been unable to obtain a copy of it.

Banner, A., It's a MUG's Game, Popular Computing Weekly, 13th July 1989, pp 21-22.

An interview with the people behind BLOODSTONE, a MUD with aggressive publicity that was letting the world know it existed at the time. A shame, as for the most part it didn't! Reading the review, it's not surprising: the game was described as having such detail that merely being able to represent it all would be worthy of a Nobel prize. Even the most wishful of players would perhaps find it a little suspicious that the screen shots of this marvellous game contained idiosyncratic grammatical errors, trivial computer-generated errors ("a blood"), and a total lack of word-wrapping. If you want a good, early example of the wildly optimistic claims that are often made for half-implemented MUDs, look no further than here!

Historical note: the 22nd February 1990 issue of the same magazine carries a news story announcing that BLOODSTONE has been launched. No-one appears to have heard anything about it since.

Bartle, R. A., AI and Computer Games, Personal Computing Today, December 1984, pp 56-58.

An introductory article about the AI things you can do in MUDs. Embarrassing, in that MUD1 (which it refers to extensively) wasn't written with much AI in mind, and hence all the AI technites cited were fitted retrospectively on what was regarded as at the time as a normal programming task. Still, the article does have merit, if you can actually find a copy of it...

Bartle, R. A., A Voice from the Dungeon, Practical Computing, December 1983, pp 126-130.

A general introduction to MUD1, describing what the game was, how it was played, what you could do in it, and so on. It's not technical, and is fairly anecdotal, but it does contain vaguely useful information lurking away beneath the surface. Most of the other articles on MUD1 don't say anything different to what's in this one except for where they're wrong, so if you're studying MUD history then this is probably the paper you ought to get hold of to capture that "hey, lookit this" feeling of the early days...

Historical note: this was the first article published on the subject of MUDs.

Bartle, R. A., Glorious MUD, Practical Computing, January 1985, pp 92-93.

The follow-up to the earlier "Practical Computing" article. This one is (happily) more practical, and deals with the subject of getting a MUD up and running. Editorial intervention cut the end of the article rather abruptly - the original was half as long again. Nevertheless, there is still useful material in there, especially if you're thinking of setting up a MUD yourself commercially.

Bartle, R. A., Stuck in the MUD, Your Commodore, March 1985, pp 86-87.

A mainly anecdotal article concerning the early days of MUD1, with a bit at the end explaining how you could actually play it (or, more likely, how you couldn't). The title, by the way, wasn't mine, and nor were most of the exclamation marks that are positioned liberally throughout.

Bartle, R. A., MUD, MUD, glorious MUD, Micro Adventurer, September 1984, pp 22-25.

The first of a series of 7 articles by me which appeared in "Micro Adventurer" until it closed after the March 1985 edition. This one is an introduction to MUD1, with some usable maps, but later ones covered the concept of the "wiz", combat, Christmas specials, logic puzzles/mazes, and had biographies of some of the prominent players (with photos - not that the one for Sue is correct). Whenever anyone writes to me asking for general information about MUD1, I usually send them photocopies of these articles. "Micro Adventurer" was, in fact, an all-round good magazine, greatly mourned when it died. If you can get hold of any copies, do so: there's bound to be something in them that you'll find interesting (unless you deliberately decide not to).

Historical note: the series of articles I wrote were combined, messed about with a bit, and published as (the more comprehendable) part of Duncan Howard's book, also listed in this bibliography.

Bartle, R. A., Richard Bartle's Pages, Member's Dossier 19, June 1987, Adventurers Club Ltd.

The first of a series of 15 articles I wrote on the subject of MUDs for the Adventurers Club. This first one was introductory, but the rest went on to cover combat, game management, room/player ratios, architectures for MUDs, ISLAND OF KESMAI, the death of Essex University's MUD1, core commands in all MUDs, problems attracting new players, gender issues, social structures, future goodies we can expect, and profiles of prominent MUD2 players of the day. The final article, in issue 39/40, began a technical discussion of exactly how to write your own MUD. Unfortunately, the Adventurers Club suspended operations for several months after this appeared, and when it was reincarnated the emphasis was switched from adventure games to all forms of computer role-playing. No further articles on MUDs have been published in it. That said, there are very meaty articles in most issues of the "Member's Dossier", and if your research extends to SUDs as well as MUDs, you might like to try get hold of some copies from the pre-reference book era to read.

Historical note: the Adventurers Club was, at the time, run by Henry Mueller, an arch-wiz on MUD2. He emigrated to Greece and is now hoping that the reported 10-year wait for phone installation there is grossly exagerated...

Bartle, R. A., Problems in the MUD, OASIS, December 1990, pp 2-3.

OASIS is the Organisation Against Sexism In Software. This article, which appeared in their quarterly magazine, was an attempt by me to find out whether MUD2's treatment of rape in the game was ethically responsible from the point of view of people who may be raped in real life. There were two replies in the next issue of OASIS (February 1991), plus a counter-reply to one of them (Paola Kathuria's) from me. I haven't heard anything from OASIS since then, though, despite writing and enclosing a SSAE, so either they folded or I unknowingly offended the editor..!

Bartle, R. A., Who Plays MUAs?, Comms Plus!, October 1990, pp 18-19.

A meaty article on MUDs! After spending some considerable time poring over the returns from a questionnaire sent to MUD2 wizzes, I categorised the type of playing style commonly seen in the game. It might actually provide some pointers to people interested in either the sociology or psychology of MUD-playing, or in assessing the differences between MUDs and other games.

Historical note: a version of this article is the standard "talk" I give when called upon at short notice to address an audience on the subject of MUDs.

Blank, M. S. & Galley, S. W., How to Fit a Large Program into a Small Machine, Creative Computing, July 1980, pp 80-87.

A description of what's involved in implementing an adventure game on a micro. Very badly out of date in places, particularly in its obsession with text-compression, but nevertheless eerily relevant elsewhere. It deals with the authors' efforts to run ZORK on a small computer. ZORK is translated into Z-code, which runs on a virtual machine. This machine is simulated by an interpreter, one of which can, in theory, be written for any target architecture. How to make the Z-code interpreter work on a micro when it's rather hoping for a thumping great big mainframe is the paper's main concern.

Bramble, B., Forbidden Realms, Comms Plus!, October 1989, pp. 8-11.

The first of a series of 7 articles by Blane Bramble looking at the MUD scene in the UK. All were chatty and informative, but covered mainly the Games on the IO World of Adventure (IOWA) system as that's where Bramble ran his own MUD, PARODY. His treatment of other MUDs, though well-meaning, often gave out-of-date information or information that was never in date in the first place! His columns do give some insight into the wide variety of MUDs outside of academia, and there are plenty of contact points mentioned for prospective players (although whether the data is correct or not...).

Historical note: "Comms Plus!" itself was a good, amateur magazine brought low by its professional aspirations; its flag is now carried by "The Message", run by the same people, in which Bramble's articles continue. Any issue of either of these magazines is likely to have something of interest to MUD students, but see especially the separate entry in this bibliography under Kathuria.

Bridge, T., Adventure Bridge, Popular Computing Weekly, 25th May 1989, pg 26.

Tony Bridge used to write a regular (and, at the time, influential) column on adventure games, and this is the one where he reviewed FEDERATION II. Although primarily a player of SUDs, he liked it.

Brookland, A., What is AI? [And what has it got to do with me anyway?], Red Herring, August 1992, pp 42-43.

A good first-level discussion of how AI can help make adventure games more fun. MUDs are held up as a specific example of an area ripe for development. The author actually knows about both AI and MUDs, so what he says makes sense.

Cerv, V., PARRY Encounters the Doctor, Datamation, July 1973, pp 62-64.

A short paper which sets ELIZA against PARRY. Worth a look at just for fun, as an example of what we're up against...

Conroy, C., Here's How the Big Kids Play, CompuServe magazine, January 1990, pp 14-19.

A necessarily favourable, but nevertheless informative feature on multi-player games resident on CompuServe. The first one discussed, BRITISH LEGENDS, is what CompuServe renamed MUD1. Also reviewed are ISLAND OF KESMAI and SNIPER.

Cooke, S., Hotline to Fantasy, PC Plus, September 1987, pp 77-78.

A comparison between MUD2 and SHADES. As is normal with such pieces, nothing really dreadful is said about either. Unfortunately, in the case of SHADES, this leaves very little remaining... The conclusion is that SHADES is the more informal of the two, but MUD2 is the more enthralling.

Cordrey, P., Adventure 89 and MUGs Megameet, Confidential, December 1989, pg 22.

An overview, by the organiser, of the 1989 convention for UK players of MUDs. There'd been one annually for the previous 4 or 5 years, but this one was the last to date - the 1992 relaunch was called off at the last moment. Cordrey went on to write a regular column in "Confidential" from issue 10 to 16 (whereafter the magazine folded). The material presented in these is not the normal drab stuff you might see elsewhere: it ranges from challenging looks at what is involved in writing MUDs, to shallow plugs for particular half-baked ideas of Cordrey's own. The reviews are of games you don't normally see reviewed, and all in all it's a very informative series.

Historical note: "Confidential" was the magazine of the Official Secrets Club (an organisation that sells adventure/RPG games by mail), but was closed down in favour of making their catalogue bigger and glossier. There are high-quality articles in every issue, and it's a shame it had to go.

Croft, M., Muddy Waters, Popular Computing Weekly, 23rd May 1985, pg 11.

One for the historians only: an interview with Simon Dally, one of the founders of MUSE, where he explains how he got into the MUD scene.

Croft, M., Multi-Modem Games, Computer Games, August 1986, pp 50-52.

A good look at some of the games (well, MUD2 and STARNET) that you could play with other people over the phone at the time, although it's written more as publicity material than a strict review. It contains an interview with Level 9 Computing, a well-known adventure game writing company of the day, which was proposing to write a MUD called AVALON. They didn't, though: the AVALON MUD that's around today just happened to choose the same Arthurian name.

Dallas, K., Widening Net, MSX User, July 1985, pp 19-24.

An introductory article to comms, most of which won't be of interest to MUDders. The last two pages, though, are part 2 of a series of "buzz words", and one of the definitions is for MUD (ie. MUD1). The definition is factually incorrect in places, but it's the first time we made it to a lexicon.

Douglas, J., MUD in your Eye, Computer + Video Games, August 1986, pp 34-35.

A decent article on MUD2 from someone who sat down with an open mind to try and play it. The first half is anecdotal, describing what happened as if it were direct experience ("I regained consciousness and my eyes grew accustomed to the light"), and the second half is a more practical review. Quite influential: we got a fair number of players as a result of it.

Ellis, D., Kings of the Castle Walls, Practical Computing, March 1982, pp 89-93.

A fairly good history of adventure games. It outlines some of the principles involved, and gives some fairly far-sighted views on what the world holds for adventure games in the (then) future. Quite an interesting read, although MUD1 was already several years old when it was published, so many of the "predictions" had already been realised...

Erskine, C., MUD in your Eye, Popular Computing Weekly, 30th August 1984, pg. 12.

An interview with Richard Bartle (ie. me) on the early days of MUD1. It may be of interest to people interested in the history of MUD, but if you intend to reproduce any of the comments then you might want to check with me first as a couple of names were wrongly reported.

Gerrard, M., Adventure, Commodore Computing International, April 1985, pp 34-38.

A very good history of adventure games, the fore-runners of MUDs, ending with a description of MUD1 itself. Gerrard was himself an accomplished SUD author, and it's clear from the text that he knows what he is talking about. If you're at all interested in SUDs, and MUDs' relationship to them, this is an excellent exposition on the subject.

Gold, S., Modem Living, Personal Computer World, September 1989, pp 4-6 in the FOCUS supplement.

A fairly good introduction to the comms scene in the UK at the time, although a lot of what it says is now out of date. A section of the article discusses MUDs, although it only mentions MUD2 and SHADES.

Historical note: Gold was accused along with Robert Schifreen of reading Prince Philip's email. See the note appended to the Schifreen entry later in this bibliography.

Gold, S., Comms for Beginners, Atari ST User, April 1990, pp 50-54.

A long feature on the UK comms scene and how to get into it. If you're used to having free access to Internet, but are aboiut to leave university, this might be worth getting hold of. MUD2, SHADES and TRASH get a decent mention, as do MUDs in general.

Note: the particular issue of "Atari ST User" in which this article appears is a "comms special", and there are therefore other articles in it which might be interesting, notably the one by Lenton that is also listed in this bibliography.

Gold, S., Comms Supplement, Popular Computing Weekly, 26th January 1989, pp 23-36

A monumental look at the UK comms scene, covering many areas, all of which are discussed in some depth. There's a good chunk devoted to MUDs (or "MUGs", as Gold calls them), plus BBSs, email networks, modems... The other articles by Gold listed in this bibliography are slightly updated retreads of material presented in this original article, which remains the best of the bunch.

Goodwins, R., Sounding Off, Personal Computer World, August 1991, pp 4-5.

An opinion-forming article, which argues that the current attempts by the government and industry to make computer users socially responsible is a bad thing, as it is founded on very conservative values that have no place in today's society. MUDs are cited as one area where the self-censorship is slipping, and a more liberal tide is detectably flowing. This is a really good article, its points appearing even more cogent because of the sheer surprise of seeing an article on the subject in a mainstream computer magazine at all!

Gore, B., Editorial, Popular Computing Weekly, 15th March 1984, pg 3.

A brief argument that were it not for the excessive cost of telephone calls in the UK, the comms market here would be in a lot better shape. MUD1 is used as the motivating example.

Historical note: the first recorded appearance of MUD1 in a magazine editorial.

Janda, D., Hackers' Heaven, What Micro?, December 1984, pp 86-87.

A run-of-the-mill piece on what MUDs are, how to access MUD1, and thanks to the following players for telling the author what to write. Contains extracts from games, the fight messages of which are still recognisable in some MUDs today. It's also accompanied by an inexplicable picture of a man pressing buttons on a tape drive.

Kate & Frobozz, MUD, Commodore Computing International, November 1986, pg 54.

The first of a series of articles by two MUD1 players. It is concerned primarily with MUD2, but is rather confrontational in style and somewhat sarcastic. It contains at the end a reproduction of the (once) famous Prestel "I'm not a MUD addict" spoof on the then-prevalent anti-drugs campaign being run by the government at the time.

Historical note: Frobozz was Ken Farnen, now chief systems programmer for Online Ltd, the publishers of FEDERATION II; he does most of the conversion work required when porting it to a new platform. Kate was Margaret Lawton.

Kate & Frobozz, The MUG Page",, Commodore Computing International, December 1986, pp 78-79.

A typical example of the manic writing style of these two MUD1 players. This article has news and views concerning MUD1, GODS and SHADES, and although it strives to be controversial it is, in fact, quite informative. Like the rest of the series, it's actually worthwhile digging a copy out of a cardboard box in the attic to re-read, but not the sort of thing you should request a copy from the British Library of unless you're writing a history of MUDs.

Kathuria, P., Behind the Words, Comms Plus!, October 1989, pp 11-12.

An article on the UK MUD scene from a woman's point of view. Kathuria makes interesting several observations, and the sheer dearth of female players means you have to take what she says seriously. There's more on the subject in issue 2 of "Comms Plus!", and she did a general piece on internet MUDs in issue 5.

Note: originally titled "A Woman Caught in the Net". See under Bramble for more about "Comms Plus!"

Kathuria, P., Multi-User Dungeon, The Message, Spring 1992, pp 13-14.

A monster of a review of MUD2, continued in the Summer issue. Very thorough - the best way to find out what the game is like short of playing it (and Kathuria played it for several months just to research for this article!).

Historical note: "The Message" is a supposedly quarterly magazine, the successor to "Comms Plus!". Its appearances have, however, been spasmodic, and its seems to be destined to go the same way (if it hasn't already).

Kirm, MUD II: the Multi-User Dungeon, Red Herring, April 1992, pp 43-44.

A good review of MUD2, surprisingly so because the author is a heavy addict of AIR WARRIOR. It's written mainly in the "virtual reality as reality" sense, eg. "Here I was, fighting an horrific Zombie, with no weapon", which gives it an immediacy many other reviews lack. "Red Herring" is an excellent magazine for people who like all forms of computer-mediated role-playing, and I thoroughly recommend it.

Kirm, Federation II, Red Herring, June 1992, pp 48-49.

A thoughtful review of FEDERATION II, up to Kirm's usual high standards. He likes it, but with reservations.

Lebling, P. D., ZORK and the Future of Computerised Fantasy Simulations, Byte, December 1980, pp 172-182.

Really just a shorter version of the IEEE paper by Lebling et al. This one goes into some detail regarding ZORK in play, but doesn't mention data structures, control or related issues: it's more of a functional description than an implementational one. It covers a lot of the basic concepts you're likely to want in any half-decent adventure game (and therefore in any MUD), and it does so in a clear and readable fashion.

Historical note: this is the first place MUDs were mentioned in print (although MUD1 only, as there weren't any others around at the time!).

Lenton, A., Foundation and Emire, Atari ST User, April 1990, pp 48-49.

An introductory article explaining FEDERATION II, written by the game's author. Jokey and anecdotal, while remaining interesting and informative. It's well worth a look at to get a feel for the "alternative" commercial MUDs around today.

Note: the article by Steve Gold following Lenton's in the same issue of "Atari ST User" is also in this bibliography.

Machin, D., MUD, MUD, Glorious MUD, Big K, October 1984, pg 56.

A self-consciously (poorly) humourous article on MUD1, illustrated by a photograph of some poor oik sitting at a computer accompanied by a couple of modems. There is sensible material embedded in the text, but the author's apparent need to say something to raise a smile every other sentence rather detracts from the overall effect.

Mama, B., Neverwinter Nights, Computer Games Strategy Plus, June 1992, pp 66-67.

A review of NEVERWINTER NIGHTS, a MUD with a graphical front-end available commercially on America Online. The graphics are pretty much the same as in the single-player RPG, POOL OF RADIANCE (of which it is a descendant), but the familiar MUD inter-player chatting goes on as well. The reviewer, "Big Mama", is very enthisatic, but this is due in no small part to her apparent unawareness that other games like this exist, and some are a lot better (who uses smiley faces in the modern MUD when they can just act out an emotion?). Still, if you want to know where MUDs are likely to go in the future (ie. downhill), look here.

Manchester, P. Z., Playing with MUD helps AI Research, Computing The Magazine, 22nd November 1984, pp 18-19.

The MUD1 story ostensibly from the standpoint of its being an AI research tool, but actually more concerned with the (un)likelihood of its commercial success.

Note: see also the newspaper article by the same author in "The Times". A good example of how the same material can be expressed in different ways to suit the market.

Manchester, P. Z., Meeting Over the Wires, Computer Weekly, 20th June 1985, pg. 22.

A look at the emergence of communities whose members interact principally over comms networks, although not as interesting as that makes it sound. Most of the predictions have either not come true, or have done but without the expected impact on the rest of society. There are a couple of paragraphs on MUD1 towards the end.

Manchester, P. Z., Academics Play with Dungeons and Dragons, Datalink, October 29, 1984.

A "fun" piece for the back page of the magazine, the intention of which was to raise a wry smile at what the folks in universities will get up to in the course of their research. Unfortunately, as MUD1 wasn't officially my research topic, the article rather dented my career prospects as a lecturer at Essex University - especially when the text, plus the cartoon from page 3 made it to the Computing Department's bulletin board. Groan...

Mansfield, S., MUD Hits the Fan, MSX Computing, October/November 1986, pp 14-16.

A fairly decent review of MUD1, written by someone who actually appears to have played it. Not very deep on detail, but perky enough. It includes a short list of other MUDs around at the time: GODS, SHADES, ISLAND ADVENTURE, IMAGE and MANCHESTER MUG. These last three had never been heard of before and have never been heard of since (rather like MSX computers, heh heh!).

Miah, R., It's a MUGs Game!, Complete Computer Entertainment Guide, Winter 1990, pp 57-59.

A brief history of MUDs, followed by a contact list for MUDs you could play by modem at the time in the UK: MUD2, SHADES, TRASH, TRITAN, MIRRORWORLD, QUEST 1, PARODY, EMPYRION, CHAOS WAR OF WIZARDS, GODS, ZONE, FUTURE LIFE, ABERMUG, THE VOID, AVALON, SPY. TRITAN is one that Miah helped write himself. ABERMUG is the name given to the commercial version of ABERMUD.

Miller, H. G., Games Masters and Players Match Wits Online, Online Today, February, 1989, pp 20-25.

CompuServe's in-house magazine generally has one games-related issue a year, and this particular one had a long piece on games that MUDders might find interesting. The article itself is written in that punchy, patronising style favoured by people who are trying to sell you something, but nevertheless it does have some interesting and (gasp!) different material to the norm. You could probably find out most of it yourself just by logging in to CompuServe and chatting to their players for a while, though... And no, I don't have a forehead quite that large in real life.

Mostellor, P., Genie and CompuServe Offer Die-Hard Adventure Fans Wide New On-line Worlds, PC Magazine, June 1990, pp 509-510.

A comparative review in a US magazine of GEMSTONE III and BRITISH LEGENDS (aka MUD1). The Reviewer's sense that MUDs are nothing more than multi-player text-only games rather dampens, rather thant whets, the appetite. Furthermore, he seems more impressed with those features that most closely resemble ones found in single-player games, eg. complexity of character generation, size of manual. He also seems to think that neither game is particularly original when compared to ADVENTURE. Sigh...

Peterson, C., Kesmai and Beyond, Dragon, September 1989, pp 42-45.

An extensive review of ISLAND OF KESMAI, honed to excite the tastebuds of AD&D players. I wish someone would write a similar article on MUD2 for such a widely-read hobby magazine! It's very descriptive and full of mysterious (but explained) jargon, but, strangely, it shows none of the graphics which make ISLAND OF KESMAI the game it is (or, some would say, isn't). December 1987's issue of "Dragon" also had an article on ISLAND OF KESMAI in it, but I don't have a copy.

Plamondon, R., Putting Adventure in Adventure Games, Creative Computing, August 1981, pp 70-76.

Describes a few of the dos and don'ts that make or break adventure games. It itemises some of them, and gives examples of where they crop up. All of it is fairly low-level and obvious, but if you're writing a paper on the subject and need some early references, it might help. It ends with a rather useless list of role-playing magazines you could buy at the time.

Quadile, A MUG's Game, GM, January 1989, pg. 67.

The first article in a series meant to cover all the MUDs in the UK at that time, and therefore rather wasted as a general introduction to MUDs instead of being on MUD2, which is what it purported to be. Favourable, but rather weak - the author had free accounts on several MUDs and didn't tend to promote one at the expense of the others. The article contains some reference to other MUDs, particularly THE ZONE, SHADES and GUILDHALL. As is traditional in such mentions, one of the games (GUILDHALL in this instance) was unknown at the time and has remained so to this day.

Reynolds, C., True Confessions, Personal Computer World, March 1990, pp 182-190.

A fairly good summary of Margaret Shotton's book, for those who want to know more a little more about the subject without having to wade through all the academic stodge.

Rockman, S., Rockman Files, Games Computing, April 1984, pg 89.

One of the first articles on MUD1 written by a journalist who got addicted to it. Rockman made many contacts through the game, which was THE place for hackers (not crackers, hackers) to be seen at the time. This article captures some of the flavour of the early days, although, as is inevitable, the atmospheric things that happened to him didn't appear quite so amusing when isolated from context and read by non-players.

Round, E., Get Mugged, Advanced Computer Entertainment, July 1988, pp 97-99.

Comparative reviews of MUD2, SHADES, TRASH, THE ZONE, MIRRORWORLD, QUEST 1, GODS and WANDERLAND. Very good, but the reviews could have been longer. Nevertheless, one of the best articles of its kind.

Segre, N., MUD on your Screens, MSX User, October 1985, pp 18-19.

An article concerning MUD2's launch and history, but mainly just editorial padding to coax BT into placing adverts for the game (they didn't). The second half makes it sound so hard to play it's amazing that anyone ever bothered!

Schifreen, R., MUD, Computer + Video Games, July 1984, pp 144-145.45.

A strong article outlining the basics of MUD1, written by a comms guru. The no-nonsense style enables it to cover quite a lot of material, but mainly of the sort freely provided by the game anyway. Still, it gets you interested if you don't know what MUDs are.

Historical note: Schifreen, with Steve Gold, became a national figure when he was had up in court for breaking into Prince Philip's Prestel mailbox, but they escaped conviction due to the baleful inappropriateness of the law they were alleged to have broken.

Schifreen, R., The Happy Hacker, Commodore User, April 1985, pg 16.

One of a series of regular columns on comms-related subjects, this particular one is distinguished by being the first anywhere to confirm that MUD1 had been officially exported to other educational establishments from Essex University.

Smith, B. W., Fun With MUD, Computing Today, January 1985, pg 24.

A generic MUD1 article, although obviously written by a dedicated player blind to the huge expense which the text cheerily admits you can expect to incur. Interesting in its brief description of the way MUD1 was used as a "contact" point for computer journalists, hackers and other social misfits of the era.

Historical note: Smith is rumoured to be one "Paula the witch", a male player who successfully passed himself off as female until he finally cracked and tried to chat up (the also male-masquerading-as-female) Sue. Also, the player Thor mentioned at the end was Simon Rockman, whose own work on the subject appears in this bibliography.

Thomas, S., Real, Live MUD!, Personal Computer World, August 1984, pp 134-135.

The classic article on MUD1 which really made it well-known. It's actually quite a good introduction for people with no idea of what MUDs are, and it certainly whets the appetite! Being an early example of MUD1 articles, it is also fairly accurate, too (later ones tend to reproduce errors which crept into their predecessors, which says rather a lot about journalistic techniques in the mid-1980s...).

Historical note: "Susan Thomas" was actually a pseudonym adopted by a true MUD addict who lived in Wales (the one with the 3,000 pound phone bill that so many other articles refer to). It turned out she was actually male, and (s)he only stopped playing when arrested for defrauding a government transport agency of 60,000 pounds. The shock of finding out that Sue the arch-witch was actually Steve was unpleasant for all of us.

Voke, P., In it Together, Acorn User, April 1987, pp 148-151.

An excellent comparison between MUD2 and SHADES, and why they're both better than SUDs. This article is intelligent, well researched, and reasonably fair. If you want to see how two contrasting styles of MUD shape up to one another, you ought to find yourself a copy of this.

HTML conversion by Eddy Carroll (ecarroll@iol.ie)