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Applying a MUDpack

by Chris Caines

Take a step back from what you do for a moment.. Have you ever really looked at the time you spend mudding and thought “What the hell am I doing?” Well, I did. I spent the best part of six years mudding, and it involved such extremities as running up £120 a month phone bills on my 2400 baud modem, dialed into the local university (of which I was not a student). At one point I was masquerading as a student and using their computer rooms to mud.
Bathing in a natural mud bath

Anyone for a mud bath?

I first logged into the Discworld mud on Wednesday April the 21st 1993 at 10:12:51; the year is now 1999. I have stopped mudding for pleasure and I never really adapted myself to coding. I spent so much time aspiring to be a creator that I forgot how to play. I ended up stepping back and looking at the people who play muds. Now do not get me wrong, I am not going to call everyone a bunch of geeks, because that is not true. Geeks are rapidly becoming cool because they are the ones who can fix the computers of all these loonies buying PCs at the local Spar (That is K-Mart to you Yanks). However, mudders are an odd bunch, almost fanatical in the way they treat their characters and the mud around them and are bested only by Role-players, which is another kettle of fish entirely. Now, consider Dilbert, or Userfriendly; Information Technology people understand these comics because they are appropriate. Show a Butcher Dilbert and he (or indeed, she) will not see the humor in it, however IT people do not see the humor in their job, until Scott Adams (Dilbert) takes them a step back and says “Hey, look. This is funny stuff!”

My long-winded point is simply, mudding is funny! It is funny for you because you know what a Womble is, or you know what it is like to be up at 3 AM because you have been killing a Rat for the last 4 hours and you are damned if you are going to give it up now. But do not forget it is also funny to other people, usually because they do not understand what a cabbage is for.

And so breeds the mudpack. A group of stereotypical mudders, so stereotypical that they would never be real, they would never be in the situations like you are in, in real life. You do not honestly think someone would have a trench coat, a stupid haircut and sit in front of a computer all day trying to kill everyone and attempting to get laid, do you? Hmmm? The mudpack is a (now) weekly, six-panel colour strip, which follows the lives of a group of mudders who spend every waking moment, somehow, in front of a terminal. Some have never met except through typing, some know each other face-to-face. They all have one thing in common, Telnet (and really bad hair).

I can log onto a mud and every day get material for the strip, mudding is entertaining, not only to the players, but also to the observers. It pains me I can not be back down that University sometimes, just watching people play..

Some people might take offense at the mudpack, but as Cheers should not be offensive to alcoholics who prop up late night bars and the Simpson’s should not be offensive to the typical dysfunctional American family, then the mudpack should not be offensive to you.

If Role-playing is the Godzilla of the rampant over-indulgence of an over enthusiastic imagination, then mudding is my Godzookie who generally looks cute and annoys the boat crew, but steals the show. So long as you guys are still bouncing all over the globe to use technology which would make Microsoft gawk at it’s antiquity, I am still going to keep writing the strips..

(Mental note: If I get TV rights to this thing, get Matthew Broderick to do the voices.)

Chris Caines plays (or used to play anyway) bunches of muds under the pseudo name Arzac. Now he write a comic making fun of himself, hmmmm.