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  • noun Abbreviation for 'British Legends', the incarnation of MUD1 played on CompuServe from 1987 until 1999. It was actually a modification of the classic Essex MUD, to account for American tastes and CompuServe's idiosyncrasies. This meant that all American traps were removed, and certain programming constraints were imposed (most notably, it had a three-second sleep (formerly seven-second!) inserted between commands so as not to use up too much CPU capacity - at that rate, MUD2 players would probably have to endure delays of seven minutes!). Officially, BL was MUD version 3B.

    Historical note: CompuServe had DEC-10s, MUD1 ran on DEC-10s: the match was obvious. What MUSE didn't know when signing up, though, was the fact that CompuServe didn't actually like to run games - they did so only begrudgingly. Image was all important to them, and games didn't have the necessary appeal for a service which aimed to sell to business people (even if games contributed hugely disproportionate amounts to their profits). They therefore never advertised BL, not even on CompuServe itself, contenting themselves with their 88% share of the income the game generated (while occasionally attempting to increase it to 90% or more). Luckily, their reaction times were those of dinosaurs, and they didn't get around to stomping on non-graphical games entirely for years, although the crime of not fitting the image they thought they had eventually doomed BL in December, 1999. That said, the game had a very loyal band of players, and is expected to continue to enjoy a vibrant existence free of CompuServe's shackles. At the time of its demise, it was the longest-running MUA in the world.

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7th December 1999: bl.htm