Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Episode 141: MUDs

Mark Johnson hosts a discussion panel about Multi-User Dungeons alongside original MUD creator Richard Bartle; MUME developer and manager Pier Donini; and Cat Rambo, developer of Armageddon and president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

You can download the mp3 of the podcast, play it in the embedded player below, or you can follow us on iTunes.

Topics Discussed

  • Why MUDs—what drove Richard to create MUD, and what drives people to play MUDs.
  • The impact of MUDs on the field of video games.
  • How do MUDs survive—what drives a given MUD to long-term success, or to collapse and abandonment.
  • The essence of MUD—how MUDs survive as a largely text-only art form, and why text is key to their identity.
  • Storytelling in and outside of MUDs—how to encourage, player driven, in-game storytelling in MUDs; how those stories develop, and how they emerge outside the formal limits of the game.
  • The importance of suspension of disbelief and verisimilitude in MUDs and video-games as a whole, and how simulationism relates to those.
  • The dominance of Medieval Fantasy as a setting and genre in MUDs as an art form.
  • MUDs past, present, and future—how will MUDs survive and thrive in the modern-gaming landscape, and how the form may evolve with future technological advancement, looking a decade ahead.

Join us next time for upcoming episodes on AI and IRDC2017.


  1. Love it. What an honor to have such a cast on the show!

  2. Also check out Mudlet (http://mudlet.org), an app to play Muds with!

  3. Very nostalgic and classic. Well done, all of you.
    Administrator, www.ateraan.com

  4. Very very nice! It was great to hear them address the same issues we run into with our game (Ansalon - 21 years) about player retention, new players, about which parts of interaction are important (ie the Mush vs Mud approach they touched on with mechanics vs RP).
    - Ziv/Skol aka Dave on Ansalonmud

  5. Great episode, I can listen to Richard Bartle talk about gaming endlessly! He mentions that you may have heard him talk about the future of gaming and I have! On the Get Lamp documentary on Interactive Fiction!

    One comment I will make is that I wish you had spent a little more time on what a MUD actually is. I know that the audience on a Roguelike podcast will probably know, and there always is google. But as someone who knows what a MUD is, but only played them for a little bit and a long time ago I would have loved a refresher.

  6. Came here via a post on discworld mud, excellent listen, highly enjoyed it, thanks.