Sunday, August 23, 2009

Me, Myself, and I

My interest in MUDs was born out of my interest in fantasy gaming. As a child I can remember many hours huddled in front of our Atari and eventually the original Nintendo. Zelda was one of my favorites. Our Nintendo had an annoying habit of erasing the saved file of a game when it was bumped while playing, so I got to know the game well before "beating" it.

I voraciously devored books in my youth and I quickly abandoned Judy Bloom for Madeline L'Engle, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien when I became exposed to fantasy novels. Movies such as Legend, Labrynth, Dark Crystal, and Neverending Story drew me into their worlds.

During high school I began playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) on a regular basis. In D&D I was able to create and imagine my own characters with their own histories. As we huddled around kitchen tables with our books and piles of multi-sided dice we were weaving our own fantasy story collectively. No longer was I just reading about heroic deeds, I was adopting a persona that was vanquishing evil and saving the day.

In college I actively sought out and tried a couple of D&D groups. But as I took my first steps into adulthood I found that with the extra responsibilities of more course work and part-time jobs to try to support myself, finding times to get together with a handful of people was becoming more difficult. Then I stumbled upon IRC (internet relay chat) and MUDs (Multi-user Dungeons) shortly there after.

MUDs. Suddenly I didn't need to coordinate with a small group. They were available 24 hours a day whenever I had time and inclination (which I'm sad to say was more than was good for my grades.) The first MUD I played was Ragnarok. The game world wasn't very consistent. (You could slaughter smurfs to your hearts content in one area.) But it was convenient and free. Solving puzzles in quests, battling monsters alone and in groups, interacting with others with the same passions as I... I was hooked.

I moved on from Ragnarok years ago and I've taken breaks from MUDing time and again, but I always come back for more. For over 17 years I've tromped around in the MUD. (Counting that made me feel old.) To this day I still play console and computer RPG games, read fantasy novels, watch fantasy movies, and play Dungeons and Dragons. But nothing has held my attention and transfixed me as much as the world of MUDing.

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