It's a Mud, Mud, Mud, Mud World - Exploring Online Reality

It's a Mud, Mud, Mud, Mud World
Exploring Online Reality

by Erik Davis
Originally appeared in The Village Voice, February 22, 1994

In our media-primed brains, the phrase "virtual reality" triggers off images of Robocop helmets, studded gloves, and 3D Nintendo. VR is seen as the scuba gear for the seas of simulation, a purely technological means of tricking the central nervous system into inhabiting a digitally concocted space.

But some netheads are coming to suspect that MUDs—which, depending on whom you talk to, stands for either Multi-User Dimension or Multi-User Dungeon—have already incarnated the spirit, if not the letter, of VR. Called into being by variety of different programming languages with greasy-kid-stuff names like MUD, MUCK, MUSH, and MOO, MUDs have sprouted up mostly on university computers hooked to the Internet. But no matter what their underlying code, these environments allow folks to simultaneously log on from any computer on the net, construct virtual characters, and then explore and even extend the landscape.

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