Anecdotes, Set 1 Hat

Interesting Statistics #1

        In all MUDs, there is a possibility that you may find yourself unable to control your persona. Lag could prevent your commands from being executed in a timely manner, or you could even be disconnected completely. There is no way for the MUD to know whether lag actually occured, nor whether a disconnection was accidental or deliberate.
        In player-killing MUDs, players can lose their persona if they die in a fight.
        In a survey undertaken over the course of 3 months on one player-killing MUD, 92% of reported incidences of lag or disconnection occurred during a fight in which the player making the report was killed.

Interesting Statistics #2

        A survey of MUD-related magazine articles published between 1984 and 1992 reveals the following staggering variety of headlines which somehow endeavour to make an awful pun on the word "MUD":

  • Bathing in MUD
  • Fun with MUD
  • Get MUDdy
  • Glorious MUD
  • MUDdier
  • MUDdy waters
  • MUD hits the fan
  • MUD in your eye
  • MUD on the road
  • MUD on your screen
  • MUD slides
  • MUD slinging
  • MUD spreads
  • MUD's starting to fly
  • Playing with MUD
  • Problems in the MUD
  • Real live MUD
  • Stick in the MUD
  • Wallowing in the MUD
  • Your name is MUD

        Of these, Your name is MUD, Stick in the MUD, MUD spreads and MUD in your eye both appeared twice, and the rest once. Well, except for Glorious MUD, which manifested itself seven times and still makes regular appearances.
        It must be great to be a journalist...

Interesting Statistics #3

        Log files can stop modems from disconnecting. No, really! Here's the evidence.
        One dial-up MUD from the early days of MUDding used to have awful problems with its modems. People were always leaving indignant messages saying that a modem had disconnected them, and that therefore all the treasure they'd had on them was lost. The game administrators, being decent people, refunded the lost points.
        Over the course of a few weeks, the admins found they were giving out increasingly large numbers of points in compensation, despite calling in telecoms consultants to have their modems completely tested and overhauled. It got so bad that in one manic week 51% of all points gained were recompenses for carrier losses. But why? Could all 32 modems in the rack really be duds?
        The MUD's programmer, worried that his code might be causing the disconnections, flicked the switch that logged all games to disc. Sure, it would gobble up several hundred K (ie. most of the disc in those days), but he was desperate. The admins, though, found another use for the logs...
        Player: "I was just disconnected! I must have lost 900 points!"
        Admin: "I've looked at the logs and you were actully holding 137 points' worth of stuff."
        Player: "Really? Gee, it sure seemed like 900..."
        14 days later, and the incidence of modem failures had amazingly dropped to 0% per week.

Gender Differences

        As a means of attracting players, one early MUD printed sweatshirts which were designed to make people curious enough to try the game. The ploy was to have a solid block of text which people couldn't help but read (YOU try not reading someone's sweatshirt!). The text chosen was the description of the starting location for the game, which began:
        "You are stood on a narrow road between The Land and whence you came. To the north and south are the foothills of a pair of majestic mountains, with a large wall running around."
        Players from off-campus also ordered the sweatshirts. However, the one-and-only female player who did so asked for her money back. Apparently, the words "pair of majestic mountains" were positioned such that they stretched right across her ... majestic mountains.

You Can't be Too Careful

        The following set of guidelines has been developed to help players determine whether or not any given persona is played by a Real Female, or by a male masquerading as a female. Many male players feel embarrassed if they chat up someone they think is female but who turns out to be male; many female players feel embarrassed if they start telling their innermost secrets to a fellow female who turns out to be a fellow fellow. These 10 rules should help.

  1. With no evidence to the contrary, assume that the player is male.
  2. If the persona has a female name, the player is male.
  3. If the player claims to be female, they're still male.
  4. If the player claims real-life female intrusions, "darn, I chipped a nail on the tab key", they're still male.
  5. If the player successfully answers unexpected questions about female things, like the price of women's magazines or the names of 5 brands of pantyhose, they're still male.
  6. If you find the player playing incognito because you recognise their style of play, and they maintain under this "secret" persona that they're female, they're still male.
  7. If you've known the player for years, have never ever seen them slip up in their femininity, and they even get really ratty once every month, they're still male.
  8. If the player writes you long letters and sends photographs, they're still male.
  9. If you speak to the player on the phone, and they have a female voice, they're still male.
  10. If you meet the player face to face, and watch them MUDding over their shoulder, and they act precisely in the way that they always have done when you've watched them in the game, then they MAY be female, but be on your guard. You can't be too careful..!

You've Got It Bad

        You've been playing a MUD for the past 14 hours. You finally reach the point where you're going to have to get some sleep, so you quit. Hmm, better back up the ol' log files first, though, what did you call them? You type L, for LOOK, and DOS helpfully informs you that it's a bad command or file name.
        You've got it bad!
        Stories abound of people who have become so immersed in a MUD that they have to create small batch files so that eg. L.BAT will do a directory for them, GO.BAT does a directory change, and K.BAT performs file deletion.
        There are no recorded instances of people habitually typing DIR/W when they want to do a LOOK in their favourite MUD...

Copyright © Richard A. Bartle (
21st June :\webdes~1\ anec1.htm