Clear as Mud
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The Independent Culture
MUDs (multi-user domains or dungeons) haven't had the same kind of publicity as, say, on-line travel or book-buying but they are still one of the Internet's biggest growth areas. Essentially they are on-line role-playing games of the "Dungeons and Dragons" ilk. In them you can interact with other players in a text-based adventure game, usually set in medieval or fantasy lands. Their lack of profile in mainstream media is odd because they have been around for a very long time; they were first created about 20 years ago on university mainframe computers. The Internet could have been made for this sort of thing, and there are a huge number of multi-user domains around but they don't receive that much coverage because they are still - even by computer terms - still considered rather nerdy.

Mudconnect, the best place to start looking at MUDs, is a central listing for multi-user domains. It has an index of currently active MUDs as well as a beginner's guide. Part of their problem is that they can be very user-unfriendly, and the number of domains that remain free are dropping rapidly. Also, with a range of games sporting jaw-dropping graphics readily available in the home, text-only interfaces find it hard to compete.