The first online virtual worlds: MUD1

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We review the history of persistent worlds that recreated a fictional environment and a reality of their own.

The history of MMOs is rich and extremely exciting. If we look for the origin of its wake, we come across the 1970s, when the first online virtual world was established on a campus computer. To place ourselves in that era we must do an exercise of imagination and forget the Internet as we know it. The first precedent dates from the distant pre-internet era. We speak of a period in history where universities and government institutions were interconnected to the ARPANET. Through a computer, users could access a communication system never seen before. The door to a cyberspace where to share, consult and, of course, play.

In what today seem like monstrous antiquities, some student gaming enthusiasts experimented with programming languages. Thus small interactive experiments with great potential arose where the kids spent the afternoons. The creative engine of these young people was the wide universe of Dungeon & Dragons and the conversational adventures that swept through the 70s. The conjunction of its most characteristic elements planted the seed of the first virtual world.

But what defines a virtual world? Well, first of all, it is a fictional environment that simulates our reality. It can be set at any time and contains elements with which the player interacts. Second, the world is home to players represented by avatars who communicate in real time. Lastly, it is a persistent world. Everything we do inside will be recorded.

More than 40 years ago some players were able to be part of this crucial moment in the industry.


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