Published Articles Hat

Published articles by me on MUDs. Most of these have been scanned from the magazines in which they appeared.
Mortar Board A Voice from the Dungeon
Practical Computing, pages 126 to 130,
December, 1983.
This was the first article on MUDs published anywhere, although I put it together almost a year beforehand in response to an earlier feature in Practical Computing which had hypothesised on the possibility of someday having multi-player adventures. The first third or so of what I wrote is irrelevent today (and wasn't especially interesting in 1983!), but it really picks up thereafter. I've changed all spellings of MUD from "Mud" to "MUD", since my original text capitalised it but the typesetter chose not to. I have, however, left in the results of my doing a late macro change on all occurrences of "adventure" to "Adventure" (sigh). The only other alteration is the correction of a typo (it had "fro" instead of "for"); I resisted the temptation to put <CITE>s around all the program names...
Mortar Board A letter in Micro Adventurer, referring to an article in their July issue.
Mortar Board Adventures on the magic network
Commodore Horizons, page 37,
February, 1985.
Commodore Horizons was a magazine from the Micro Adventurer stable, and since I was already writing articles for that publication, they asked me to squeeze out another. What I gave them was edited a little to jolly up the text, and extra stuff about CompuNet was inserted; however, it doesn't have any obvious errors. The limit of 12 external users was because of the number of dial-in modems hooked to the DEC-10 (including 4 which were paid for by a whip-round among the players themselves!).
The article comes with a map which is the same as the one in Micro Adventurer and a photograph of me in the Interactive Teaching Laboratory (ITL) at Essex University.
Your Commodore, pages 86 and 97,
March, 1985.
I wrote this because I was asked to by the people at Your Commodore. I did it in the semi-jokey style beloved of UK computer magazines then and now, although it was edited a little (I didn't start a sentence with the word "And", for certain!). The title and linear separators aren't mine, either. It's accurate, of course, except for the 1979 start date which should have been late 1978 (an error I was to repeat for many years until I actually thought about it!).
Acorn User, page 40,
June, 1987.
A letter I wrote in response to an earlier article comparing MUD2 with Shades.
Mortar Board Who Plays MUAs?
Comms Plus!, pages 18 and 19,
October/November, 1990.
Having spent some time putting together my summary a year earlier, I figured I may as well make something of it and send it off to be published. For the rest of the story, see the background to Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades.
OASIS Newsletter, pages 2 and 3,
December, 1990.
I joined the Organisation Against Sexism In Software (OASIS) when it began, more out of support than the expectation I would get anything out of it. After a while, though, I thought I may as well take the opportunity that membership afforded to pose a question which had been bothering me for some time (indeed, it still bothers me): what to do when someone types rape <player> at the game. My letter was printed as an article, and was followed in the next issue by a response from Paola Kathuria. Paola sent me her comments in advance, so I could prepare my own reply to them. Naturally, no sooner had this happened than OASIS immediately folded, and that was the end of that debate (sigh).
OASIS Newsletter, pages 5 and 6,
February, 1991.
This is my reply to Paola Kathuria's response to my earlier problem statement about the "rape" command in MUD. I believe Paola prepared a counter-reply, but OASIS went under before it could be printed.
Mortar Board Bad Ideas for Multi-Player Games
The Cursor, pages 10 and 11,
Summer/Fall, 1998.
I was "UK and Associate Editor" for The Cursor, although it didn't entail doing much except reading articles that had been submitted and commenting on them. I wrote a column too. This one was originally for a double-page article, but I was asked to cut it down to single-page size. It was then printed double-page, and padded out with (unrelated) artwork (sigh).
I used this piece as the basis for a talk I gave at Online Entertainment '97 (some 4 months before this issue (#2) of The Cursor finally made it off the presses..!).
As with many articles in The Cursor, this one comes with a short commentary from another author or guest reviewer; luckily for me, industry favourite Jessica Mulligan was the one to write it.
Mortar Board Even Movies Have Directors
Imaginary Realities,
December, 1998.
Imaginary Realities is one of the better online MUD magazines. They wrote to me asking for an article, and, pursuant to my belief that anything which promotes MUDs deserves all the help it can get, I wrote one. It's fairly short (probably too short!), but it does make a point.
Mortar Board A Wiz by Any Other Name
Admiral Bombow's Chronicles,
December, 1998.
Admiral Bombow's Chronicles is the house magazine for the incarnation of MUD2. This is an extract from a piece put together by Tethys where wizzes were asked to explain the origins of their persona names; although the article is therefore properly Tethys', I don't feel too guilty for claiming this particular bit as my own as I did actually contribute it. I had, at the time, been looking for an opportunity to explain some of the early social engineering that I did with MUD; I'd have much rather not had to do so as it makes me seem rather a manipulative person, but I felt it necessary to counter the popular notion among certain researchers that MUD1 was written by a couple of one-dimensional hackers whose only aim was to provide a medium for adolescent males to live out fantasies of bloodthirsty violence....
Mortar Board Avatar, Character, Persona.
Muddled Times,
August, 2001.
Muddled Times is another house magazine, this time for - and very good it is too. I wrote this short piece in 2000 for a different MUD2 site (, but if they ever published it then it wasn't linked to the outside world (or at least I never found it whenever I looked). I therefore sent it to Muddled Times as a token of my support.
Mortar Board Not Yet, You Fools!
Game Girl Advance,
July, 2003.
I was asked to write a provocative piece for Game Girl Advance about MMOs. I did just that, by criticising the increasing use of voice in MMORPGs. I knew it was a losing battle, but hey, provocative is provocative! Sadly, I was immediately dropped from a consultancy gig I was negotiating as a result; it turned out that they wanted to know my thoughts on using voice in MMORPGs...
Mortar Board The Next 20: What’s in Store for Videogames in the Coming Two Decades? (.PDF)
October, 2013.
For its 20th anniversary, Edge wanted an article that made predictions about what the next 20 years had in store for videogames. I'm not entirely sure why, but they asked me to write it. This is the result. It's the original version I submitted; the published version (which was credited to "Edge staff") had minor differences following edits by the, er, Edge staff.
Mortar Board We've Won: Get Over it (.PDF)
The Guardian,
28th April, 2008.
I was asked by the Guardian online team to write something provocative and controversial for them about how games are viewed by society. I was happy to oblige.

These are series of articles:
Mortar Board The Micro Adventurer articles, beginning September, 1984.
Mortar Board The Adventurers Club Ltd. Member's Dossier articles, beginning March, 1987.
Mortar Board The Edge Online columns, beginning October, 2000.

Copyright © Richard A. Bartle (
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