Stanford University have acquired the source code for the original MUD, will release it soon


By on May 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm

The Stanford University Libraries have acquired some interesting new source code – that of the planet’s first online virtual world, MUD1. MUDs, for those of you too young or too cool to have heard of them, were the predecessors to MMOs – text based adventures (what we now call Interactive Fiction) like Zork and the recently rereleased Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game where you typed in commands like ‘North’ or ‘Read Leaflet’ to progress through the game – but online, with other people. You solved puzzles, chatted and attacked other people – and as the genre grew in complexity, so did what you could do. By the time of MOOs you could create your own areas, populate them with monsters and build elaborate sky castles full of elaborate, text-based, traps and quests.

Created in 1978 by an Essex University students Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle, MUD1 became the first internet-based multiplayer online RPG in 1980, when Essex University connected to ARPAnet. Its popularity exploded in 1983, when Essex University allowed remote access to the DEC-10 MUD1 was running on. The donation of the source code for MUD1 follows the earlier donation of Dr. Bartle’s papers on the game and Stanford has obtained permission to provide online access to the source code in the near future.

In the meantime, if you’d like to see what all of the fuss was about, you can play a port of MUD1 via the British Legends Collection. For maximum authenticity though, I would suggest forgoing their Java client and connecting to the game via TELNET, like we used to.

14 comments (Leave your own)

I’d be keen to have a look at it.


Don’t confuse the kids. MUDs were Multi-User Dungeons, Zork was a singleplayer game, as was Hitchhiker’s. MUDs are like Zork if other players were in the world too. And you could murder them and take their stuff. :D



oh shit, I went to find the link for H2G2 and forgot what point I was making :S

edit: Ahaha now you look like a lunatic.


I miss MUDs, any good ones still operating?


I played a mud game on a dec20t when I was at uni, not sure which one it was but I think it was single player. It was kinda cool having the terminal talk back to you and pull you through an imaginary world, though I should have been writing fortran code rather than playing games… was good fun though :) I think I was able to print off a map of my travels at some point lol



I am pretty sure AVATAR MUD is still going (with thankfully no relation to either the movie or anime).


i used to play realms of despair back in my uni days, i should see if it still exists


brimlad: I played a mud

brimlad: it was single player.

MUD = Multi user dungeon doesn’t it ?
What you played was just a text based dungeon crawler.



maybe he literally meant a game about mud? He was exploring the imaginary world of a swamp.



You are standing in mud.
You are standing in mud.
You are standing in mud. You see a cave.
Enter Cave
It is pitch dark. You are still standing in mud.


^ could well have been mud, it certainly did feel dark and dank in a college terminal room staring at green type; but that was 30 years ago so hard to remember exactly what the game was, just that it was fun and soaked up a few good hours in the wee hours of the morning when I should have been studying/coding.


Liam Gilroy:
edit: Ahaha now you look like a lunatic.



Iron realms have some good MUDs. I still log onto my Aetolia character that I’ve had since 2002 now and then.


There is a free app for iPhone and iPad called Infocom which has Zork on it for free. Been playing it for some time now. Currently wandering a catacomb, hoping to run into the bastard thief that stole all my gear…

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