Richard Bartle on MUDs and Multiplayer Online Gaming


Astute readers who have been paying attention may remember that name, Richard Bartle.  Why?  Because we’ve met him before on this blog a few times.  Dr. Bartle (PhD, Artificial Intelligence) was one of those early savants who had his toes firmly in both adventure gaming and roleplaying games as well as the very early days of widespread computers and networking.

This article in the Guardian:

Richard Bartle: we invented multiplayer games as a political gesture

describes Dr. Bartle’s early efforts pioneering multiple-user-dungeons online (called MUDS).  These were the true predecessors of Massively Multiplayer Online games such as DDO, Warcraft, and even Second Life.  I well remember playing the mostly text based MUDs back in the say– even well into the 1990s.  The connection and graphics were crude at best, but this is a minor concern in the face of the milestone that had been achieved: people who were geographically distant were getting online, together, simultaneously, and playing an adventure.  For the first time!

Of course, for me, Richard Bartle is the guy who invented Waving Hands, and always will be (Waving Hands is the basic engine behind “The Magi”, a spellcasting/dueling game I created not to long ago).

I’m glad to see the good doctor getting some credit!

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