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It's always been difficult to get people to understand my addiction. When I first started mudding, my parents barely knew what the internet was, let alone an online RPG. My friends didn't own computers, and the most computer savvy friend I had at the time knew how to use a Word Processor.. and that's it.
So it's interesting now to see how the world has changed. If someone you meet doesn't know about the internet, they've probably been living in the far reaches of Africa.. for the last 10 years. The internet has boomed, and so have all the related trappings-- websites, porn, games, porn, chat rooms, porn, and most importantly: muds. And porn. Porn muds.
Working in a computer industry, you'll probably find at least one or two people in your office that know about muds. They probably played in college; stayed up all night trying to kill the black dragon for his gems. They may have fond memories of muds, or hate it for helping them flunk out (c'mon, you must know someone that has ;)), or they may be totally indifferent-- but at the very least, you will find someone that knows what the heck you're talking about.
I recently started working in a new office environment. The people there are very net savvy, so obviously had heard of muds. Termed "the word game", muds are mostly looked down on in favor of the more graphical Diablo II or similar graphical user interface. I tried to explain the superiority of a mud, but was generally teased and laughed at-- oh well, I know better!
But still, I expect general ridicule from anyone that I try to explain what a mud is. Most people laugh and go "you play a text game online??? freak!". Rarely do I dare explain what the draw is-- being totally anonymous, having no one judge you, and being able to kick the crap out of monsters and players.
It's important to me to be able to escape the day-to-day mundanity. I don't care if the person I party with, who says they're a 16 year old from Canada, is really a 34 year old from Kentucky- in the game, it doesn't matter.
Sure, it'd be nice if all the guys that play muds are as cute as the ones I work with (haha), but in all honesty, it's just a game, it's a way to relax and have fun within the safe confines of your own home. There's no danger except in the death of your character (unless you're foolish enough to meet them RL!), and there's no restrictions in who you can be.
It's nice to be able to escape, but sometimes it's nicer to have friends to escape with. Oh well, eventually I figure I'll convert them, all those guys in the office.. After all, the evil draw of muds has been known to suck in even the most innocent (and for the non-innocent, there's always porn muds!).
November 2000 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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