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Taula rodona: Richard A. Bartle sobre el fang
Roundtable: Richard A. Bartle on MUD


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ABSTRACT A talk with the creator of the first online virtual world (MUD1) takes place inside his creation. A group of people are summoned to talk with Richard A. Bartle, writer and video game designer, at the shore of a swamp where thousands of players have been throwing magical objects since the late 1970s.

[Logging z00006472 on 01-APR-17, reset 80237]
Elizabethan tearoom.
This cosy, Tudor period room is where all MUD adventures start. Its exposed oak beams and soft, velvet-covered furniture provide it with the ideal atmosphere in which to relax before venturing out into that strange, timeless realm. A sense of decency and decorum prevails, and a feeling of kinship with those who, like you, seek their destiny in The Land. When you are suitably composed, you may enter that domain by stepping through an opening to the north; however, you are welcome to stay here for as long as you like, sipping tea and watching the world go by.
*go swampard
You are waylaid in a treacherous swamp.
Richard the arch-wizard is here.
Sabel is here.
Anp is here.
Tralala the protector is here.
Pol is here.
Tralala the protector says "could you explain a little bit what the swamp is?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "well it’s a set of rooms".
Elsanto the yeoman says "as far as I know, the swamp is the place where heroes drop their treasures and earn experience from them".
Richard the arch-wizard says "when you collect treasure in MUD, and you want to convert it into points, this is where you drop it".
Richard the arch-wizard says "it sinks to the bottom and doesn’t come out until the game resets".
Elsanto the yeoman says "then, Richard, until someone resets or cleans the swamp, the objects and treasures stay there, right?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "some minor treasures do reappear, for low-level characters".
Richard the arch-wizard says "but anything worth having is going to stay there".
Tralala the protector says "I like the idea that you have to destroy treasures to gain experience".
Elsanto the yeoman says "then, a witch or a wizard could go under the swamp and see how many treasures are there?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "they don't need to go there, they can just look".
Anp says "Why treasures instead just objects?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "well you can drop any object here, but you only score for treasure".
It has stopped raining.
Sabel says "it sounds a bit like a potlatch ritual to me, where destroying goods is the main driving force".
Sabel says "and the way to gain power within a group".
Sabel says "(potlatch is an indigenous ritual, by the way)".
Richard the arch-wizard says "yeah I know about potlatch".
Tralala the protector says "a ritual to show power, isnt it?".
Sabel says "kind of, I guess, but also an economy where profit is not the main thing".
Anp says "How does an object become a treasure?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "an object doesn't become treasure, it just is or isn't treasure, intrinsically".
Richard the arch-wizard says "the designer decides what's a treasure and what's not".
Sabel says "it's like art, then, where the artist decides what to call art".
Richard the arch-wizard says "artists can decide what is art by declaring it as such; in MUD I could do the same, but I wanted it to seem realistic".
Richard the arch-wizard says "so I made objects that 'should' be worth something be worth something".
Tralala the protector says "do all treasures have the same value?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "they have different values, depending on what they are".
Pol coughs.
Richard the arch-wizard says "I didn't make the swamp a centrepoint of a potlatch ceremony".
Richard the arch-wizard says "I wanted to have a way that treasure could be scored for only once per reset".
Richard the arch-wizard says "so I needed a way that would obviously destroy it".
Richard the arch-wizard says "and if you drop something in a swamp, that would do it".
Richard the arch-wizard says "hence, a swamp".
Richard the arch-wizard says "it has no ritual significance".
Elsanto the yeoman says "it is not something that was used in prior games like Dungeons & Dragons?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "swamping treasure wasn't used in D&D or prior games as far as I know, no".
Richard the arch-wizard says "it was used in a lot of MUDs, until they went with rolling resets instead of sudden reset".
Elsanto the yeoman says "but, although it wasn't a thing in any other roleplaying games, it appeared in other universes like The Lord of The Rings".
Elsanto the yeoman says "where they didn't have to drop a treasure into a swamp, but Frodo had to throw the ring into the volcano".
Richard the arch-wizard says "well Sam should have pushed Frodo into the volcano, the little pest...".
Hovering before you is Eros, wearing a blindfold.
Eros pulls his bow and shoots Anp!
Eros pulls his bow and shoots Sabel!
Eros gives a satisfied smile, and flies away.
Sabel says "according to the game, I feel a strange longing for "Anp"".
Sabel says "(although she is here with us)".
Richard the arch-wizard says "they did drop the ring into the place where it was forged, but treasure isn't forged".
Richard the arch-wizard says "isn't forged in MUD".
Anp has given Sabel a great big kiss!
Richard the arch-wizard says "I did like the relationship between a swamp and mud, which is why I chose a swamp and not quicksand or the sea".
Anp says "Why build a score-based world?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "I built a score-based world because we didn't have enough computing power to make the non-score-based world rich enough in content".
You feel rather proud to have survived so long since leaving the Elizabethan Tearoom.
Elsanto the yeoman says "I wanted to show you something I made".
Elsanto the yeoman says "I tried to make a list, with the help of the current administrators of MUD2, to learn about all the objects that have been thrown into the swamp since the beginning of the game in 1978".
Elsanto the yeoman says "like an archaeological exercise inside MUD".
Elsanto the yeoman says "(you can read it here)".
Elsanto the yeoman says "the list is quite generic though (I don't know all the objects in the game)".
Tralala the protector says "I guess some objects have been left behind as the game has continued to develop, some have been kept, and new objects have been added?
".
Richard the arch-wizard says "we'll never know all the objects, because wizzes can create them from nothing if they want".
Elsanto the yeoman says "I see".
Richard the arch-wizard says "some of those created objects will have only been created and swamped once".
Elsanto the yeoman says "once in the whole history of MUD? you say?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "yes".
Tralala the protector says "could you give us an example?".
Tralala the protector says "of an object".
Tralala the protector says "that has been dropped only once".
Sabel says "I'd love a T-shirt that said "created and swamped once"".
Tralala the protector laughs.
Richard the arch-wizard says "if I could remember how to do it, I'd make one right now".
OK, Elsanto the yeoman grins.
Tralala the protector says "so an "excavation" of the swamp could tell us a lot of things about the history of the game".
Richard the arch-wizard says "an excavation of the swamp could tell us that, yes, but the earliest versions of the game didn't have a swamp".
Elsanto the yeoman says "another thing about archaeology in videogames, is not that it seeks to found a valid archaeological artifact".
Elsanto the yeoman says "but to be able to do archaeology inside a virtual world".
Anp scratches her face.
Elsanto the yeoman says "I mean, doing something that you usually do in Reality in another reality".
Lurking close by is a tall, thin thief.
The thief hurries off.
Tralala the protector says "I think a kind of archaeology is present in many games, at least a superficial kind of archaeology, and it’s represented in inventories of the numerous items the player collects, from clothes to magic potions to weapons to useless objects".
Pol coughs.
Elsanto the yeoman says "from what I know, there are research groups of archaeologists (from somewhere in the US) that they are doing proper archaeological expeditions in videogames like No Man's Sky and Elite Dangerous".
Elsanto the yeoman says "and they are doing this to learn about something useful about our Reality".
A suspicious-looking individual lurks nearby.
The thief smirks, and disappears into the background.
Tralala the protector says "yes, I've read about it, interesting indeed".
Richard the arch-wizard says "well they're learning about the procedural content generation".
Lurking close by is a tall, thin thief.
There is an anemone here.
The anemone sinks...
The thief disappears into the background.
Richard the arch-wizard says "as to what they're learning about Reality, that's the interpretation of Reality embodied in the content generation".
Clouds are gathering overhead.
Elsanto the yeoman says "I heard they do it to learn about non human material culture".
Sabel coughs.
Richard the arch-wizard asks "what makes it culture?".
Anp says "what do you mean by culture?".
Tralala the protector says "beyond what you can learn about Reality, I think doing a kind of "archaeology" in virtual worlds could be pleasurable in itself".
It has started to rain.
Richard the arch-wizard says "it depends what you want to learn".
Elsanto the yeoman says "maybe it's just to learn about yourself, as a player (both in Reality and within the game)".
Richard the arch-wizard says "archaeology tells us about the structures of the past, through which we can divine something about the people of the past".
Richard the arch-wizard says "if you want to learn something about yourself, rather than the people of the past, well I suppose that would work too".
Sabel says "well, you could also call it anthropology then (instead of archaeology)".
Richard the arch-wizard says "indeed, and you could call anthropology sociology".
Tralala the protector says "probably an archaeology of a videogame (MUD, for example) could tell us things about us as well".
Richard the arch-wizard says "you need different rules, though, because the world you're looking at is not the natural world, it's created by human beings".
Sabel says "I guess the point is to investigate, in an analytical way, a material culture that is not immediately transparent to "us"".
Tralala the protector says "yes, I mean, MUD has been in development for more than 20 years. The passing of time has indeed affected it".
Richard the arch-wizard says "this is its 39th year of existence".
Tralala the protector says "wow, how does it feel to have created something that has had so many players".
Tralala the protector says "enjoying it for so long?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "It feels frustrating, because we've only scratched the surface of what's possible here".
Elsanto the yeoman says "but the fact we could say (as you once told me) that this (‘The Land’, the world of MUD) is the first reality we know after Reality itself".
Elsanto the yeoman says "it's exciting enough to approach it both as an archaeological artefact and an archaeological site".
Elsanto the yeoman says "could we go back and learn a little bit more about the design of The Land?".
Pol coughs.
Elsanto the yeoman says "why did it have to be similar to our Reality?".
Elsanto the yeoman says "I mean, because it is".
Elsanto the yeoman says "kind of".
Richard the arch-wizard says "it had to be similar so that people could understand it".
It has stopped raining.
Elsanto the yeoman says "do you know of any game that didn't follow the structure of MUD (in this sense about the similarity to Reality)?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "well any abstract game has no connection to reality".
Richard the arch-wizard says "’noughts and crosses’ doesn't follow reality".
Sabel has just passed on.
Tralala the protector says "Sabel, are you ok?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "she just quit".
Elsanto the yeoman says "she'll be back in a moment, I hope".
Elsanto the yeoman says "Richard, could you tell us some of the decisions that made you create and design MUD the way it is now, and that have become standards in online playing games?".
Sabel has just arrived.
Sabel says "hello, I'm back here apparently!".
Tralala the protector says "welcome back".
Richard the arch-wizard says "well there are many, some implementational, some cultural".
Elsanto the yeoman says "could you give us some examples?".
Suddenly, you hear a blow, as Anp gives Tralala the protector a painful bite!
Richard the arch-wizard says "well combat is quite similar, points and levels are, communication is, ...".
Suddenly, you hear a blow, as Tralala the protector gives Anp a painful hit!
Auto-reset initiated, you have 120 seconds to finish up. No further warnings will be issued!
After the game has reset, you may re-enter; it should take under a minute.
Richard the arch-wizard says "OK so 2 minutes from now we'll be kicked out and have to re-enter".
Richard the arch-wizard says "then we're OK for another 2 hours".
Elsanto the yeoman says "they are cleaning the swamp".
Richard the arch-wizard says "and resurrecting dead animals, unflooding mines, reconstructing doors, unburning burnt things".
Elsanto the yeoman says "it really is an act of ecological compensation".
Sabel says "an evening by the swamp".
Tralala the protector laughs.
Sabel says "I wonder what you meant exactly, Richard, when you said that is frustrating to know that "we've only scratched the surface of what is possible" in the game".
Richard the arch-wizard says "when I said we'd only scratched the surface, I mean that today's worlds aren't anywhere near as sophisticated as I was hoping they'd be by now".
Something magical is happening.
[Stopped logging - database deinitialised]

[Logging z00006472 on 01-APR-17, reset 80238]
You are waylaid in a treacherous swamp.
It is raining.
*go swampward
You're already in the swamp, take a look you myopic dumbo.
Richard the arch-wizard has just arrived with a crash of thunder.
Anp has just arrived.
Tralala the protector has just arrived.
Tralala the protector says "that was fast".
Anp says "is it possible to fall in love in MUD?".
Looking rather shaken, Sabel has just arrived.
Tralala the protector says "im sure it is".
Richard the arch-wizard says "as players, yes; as characters, no".
Sabel says "I got lost, and I was talking to a parrot (I swear)".
Richard the arch-wizard says "we have many examples of people who met in MUD and married".
Richard the arch-wizard says "and many more of people who split because one of them played MUD too much".
Elsanto the yeoman says "would it be possible to meet in Reality and marry in MUD?".
Tralala the protector laughs.
Richard the arch-wizard says "not legally, but I've carried out some virtual marriage ceremonies here".
Anp says "Why there is no virtual love in Mud, then?".
A suspicious-looking individual lurks nearby.
The thief hurries off.
Sabel says "I might marry the thief".
Elsanto the yeoman says "I am wondering something...".
Elsanto the yeoman says "if it is possible to be active in MUD from Reality".
Elsanto the yeoman says "could it be possible to be active in Reality from MUD?".
A mist-swathed banshee floats nebulously before you.
The banshee emits an ear-piercing scream of such intensity that your head feels like it's split open.
Stamina=24/74.
It has stopped raining.
Rather groggily, the thief skulks off, a twisted smile on his face.
You have suddenly and magically regained your hearing!
Richard the arch-wizard says "it could be possible for our non-player characters to get a taste of Reality, if they were sufficiently intelligent".
Richard the arch-wizard says "only they're not, so it's a moot point".
Elsanto the yeoman says "no, but what I mean, for players, for example: could you do your job inside MUD and earn your money in Reality?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "if MUD were more of a commercial proposition, yes".
Richard the arch-wizard says "we have gold farmers in larger MMOs, but that wouldn't work in MUD".
Sabel has just collapsed, unconscious.
You feel unbearably giddy.
You collapse, unconscious.
Stamina=1/74.
You can't wake yourself up yet!
You have suddenly and magically regained your health!
The banshee violently disintegrates.
The banshee has just passed on.
Anp says "are you ok?".
Elsanto the yeoman says "thanks a lot for that!".
Tralala the protector dances.
Richard the arch-wizard says "this really isn't a great spot to be having a conversation".
Elsanto the yeoman says "we could go to Limbo now, if you want".
Tralala the protector says "i cant wait to go Limbo".
Richard the arch-wizard sighs.
Richard the arch-wizard says "OK".
Richard the arch-wizard has just disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Limbo.
Everything around you is a glowing white, and there are no walls you can focus on. You feel as if you are floating on air. You are.
Anp is here.
Tralala the protector is here.
Richard the arch-wizard is here.
Staggering wildly, Sabel has just arrived.
Tralala the protector says "so can you explain what Limbo is?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "Limbo is the room where we put players who are being a pain".
Anp says "my stamina is very low i need to sleep".
Sabel kicks the bucket.
Richard the arch-wizard says "you can't leave it"
Tralala the protector says "is Limbo in the Land, or is it a different dimension?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "it's a separate dimension, it's for trouble-makers to cool off in".
Elsanto the yeoman says "so, you have thought a lot about inmersion right, Richard?".
Elsanto the yeoman says "what does it mean to be a player in MUD and, at the same time, a human in Reality?".
Tralala the protector says "here we go with the ontological questions".
Tralala the protector laughs.
Richard the arch-wizard says "it means different things to different people, but when you're immersed it means the same thing".
Richard the arch-wizard says "that is, you're the same person in MUD as in Reality".
Richard the arch-wizard says "and vice versa".
Elsanto the yeoman says "is it like a process?".
Elsanto the yeoman says "or does it happen instantly?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "immersion is, yes, but once achieved you can do it instantly".
Elsanto the yeoman says "so it is like a skill".
Elsanto the yeoman says "you have to be skillful in inmersion".
Richard the arch-wizard says "no, not a skill".
Richard the arch-wizard says "OK, so there are two people involved: the player and the character".
Richard the arch-wizard says "the player is the real person, the character is the virtual person".
Anp says "now real people is quite virtual".
Richard the arch-wizard says "the player controls the character".
Richard the arch-wizard says "the character is like the player, but not the same - at least at the start".
Richard the arch-wizard says "the player is wearing the character like a mask".
Richard the arch-wizard says "using the character to explore parts of the player's own identity".
Richard the arch-wizard says "sometimes, the character feels a better fit, and the player adapts".
Richard the arch-wizard says "sometimes the character feels wrong and the player readjusts it".
Richard the arch-wizard says "both player and character are moving towards a point where they are one and the same".
Richard the arch-wizard says "the character allows the player to see his or her self as another person".
Richard the arch-wizard says "meaning that they can leave the self they have to wear in the real world behind".
Richard the arch-wizard says "and can become the person they really are".
Richard the arch-wizard says "you can become the real you by pretending to be someone else".
Richard the arch-wizard says "when player and character coalesce, that's immersion".
Elsanto the yeoman says "so, would that be the ultimate goal of virtual gaming?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "The goal of virtual worlds has always been about the freedom to be and become yourself".
Tralala the protector says "then the character becomes persona".
Richard the arch-wizard says "yes, persona is what I call an immersed player".
Anp says "yourself is a fiction".
Richard the arch-wizard says "no, you start off as a fiction but through play you find the truth".
Richard the arch-wizard says "so you end up being yourself".
Sabel says "the player also wears the character like a mask, that doesn't sound entirely different from "Reality"".
Sabel says "(away-from-keyboard "Reality", I mean)".
Richard the arch-wizard says "in Reality we wear masks, we bound ourselves in contextual frames, we can't be who we are because others won't let us be".
Tralala the protector says "so, in a way, you made MUD to do research on player's behaviour".
Richard the arch-wizard says "no, I didn't make MUD to research players' behaviour".
Richard the arch-wizard says "I made it because the real world sucked and I wanted a better world".
Tralala the protector looks glum.
Richard the arch-wizard says "where people weren't bound by the conventions and stifling oppression of the real world".
Richard the arch-wizard says "outside MUD, it's harder to be your real self because all your actions have lasting consequences".
Tralala the protector says "that sounds quite escapist".
Anp says "when I said that ‘yourself is a fiction’ I was talking outside MUD".
Richard the arch-wizard says "in MUD, or indeed any virtual world, you get to experiment with your identity".
Sabel says "but then, I know that you considered to have "permanent death" inside the game".
Sabel says "that would be perdurable consequences".
Richard the arch-wizard says "Permanent death forces you to become reborn, to reset your character, to start anew".
Tralala the protector coughs.
Elsanto the yeoman thinks.
Richard the arch-wizard says "but players really don't like it when it happens to them, so we don't see it in today's worlds".
Richard the arch-wizard says "which means they have to switch worlds if they want to start afresh".
Elsanto the yeoman says "is it because of economical issues?".
Elsanto the yeoman says "i mean, WoW players pay monthly, and I guess they don't like to be killed".
Elsanto the yeoman says "and lose all they gathered".
Richard the arch-wizard says "no, it's that it really, really hurts when it happens".
Richard the arch-wizard says "because it's like you've been killed yourself".
Richard the arch-wizard says "if you're close to immersion, and your character dies, it's like you've died yourself".
Richard the arch-wizard says "it's very traumatic - but it shows how close you are".
Elsanto the yeoman says "have you experienced this?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "no, I'm a designer, not a player".
Tralala the protector says "you haven’t lived until you’ve died in MUD they say".
Richard the arch-wizard smiles.
Tralala the protector says "you have written that virtual worlds are about the celebration of identity, that their purpose is the player's self-exploration, and that what a player wants is affirmation of identity. I truly enjoyed reading this. Did you follow Cambpell's ‘A Hero with a Thousand Faces’, or did you have it in mind, when designing MUD?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "I didn't know about the hero's journey when I started".
Richard the arch-wizard says "I know about it now, and indeed use it to give the theoretical underpinnings of why people play MMOs".
Richard the arch-wizard says "I can explain, but it would take me an hour or so".
Richard the arch-wizard says "but basically when players play MMOs, they follow a particular path through different things they find fun".
Richard the arch-wizard says "which map pretty well one to one to the Initiation phase of Hero1K".
Richard the arch-wizard says "and this happens whether they like it or not, and whether the designer likes it or not".
Richard the arch-wizard says "at the end, the player is self-actualised (or at least has found a better local maximum for their identity)".
Richard the arch-wizard says "this means that next time they play, they can swap right into their character, because now they ARE their character".
Richard the arch-wizard says "permadeath makes this a lot easier, though".
Sabel says "I want a T-shirt that says, "permadeath makes this a lot easier"".
Tralala the protector says "in that respect, do you think people play MMOs in similar ways as they did back in the 70-80s?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "people don't play MUDs the same way, no".
Richard the arch-wizard says "in the 70s, text was a much more acceptable interface".
Richard the arch-wizard says "nowadays, everything has to be graphical".
Richard the arch-wizard says "which is sad, because the pictures are better in text".
Richard the arch-wizard says "still, not much we can do about that".
Sabel says "it looks like the opposite to me, cell phones have become writing devices".
Sabel says "people text, never call".
Richard the arch-wizard says "games aren't though".
Richard the arch-wizard says "also, people have visited other worlds before, so in an MMO they're not going to see it as special in the way the first players did".
Richard the arch-wizard says "it's like visiting, say, Paris for the first time - it's magical! However, if you visit it when you're 10 years old first, then when you visit it as an adult it's not so magical".
Tralala the protector says "how do you think these differences affect playing as exploration of the self?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "the differences affect the exploration of the self because players aren't so open".
Richard the arch-wizard says "they think they've seen it all before, even if they haven't".
Elsanto the yeoman says "You said, sometimes, that text based worlds make immersion easier? right?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "text worlds do make immersion easier once you get over the interface".
Richard the arch-wizard says "because text speaks to the imagination".
Richard the arch-wizard says "graphics only speak to the senses".
Sabel says "regarding what you said before, "I'm the designer, not a player". I was joking to Elsanto a couple of days ago, about the idea that this thing here was like encountering God (the creator inside a creation)".
Richard the arch-wizard says "I'm one of two creators - Roy Trubshaw was the other. It wasn't just me".
Richard the arch-wizard says "and as for being a god, well yes, I'm a god of this reality, but obviously not of Reality".
Richard the arch-wizard says "I'm a god because I control the physics. That's what makes someone a god of a reality".
Anp says "so mud can have 2 gods instead one".
Anp says "Polytheistic societies are more fun".
It has started to rain.
Sabel says "can we throw something in the swamp?".
Sabel says "(even if it has no ritual meaning)".
Sabel says "(I will certainly give this a ritual meaning)".
Richard the arch-wizard says "not from here, no".
Anp says "we are stucked here".
Tralala the protector says "but you can change physics cant you?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "we can leave if you like".
Anp says "we can take a bath later".
Richard the arch-wizard has picked up Tralala the protector.
Richard the arch-wizard has picked up Anp.
Richard the arch-wizard has picked up Sabel.
Richard the arch-wizard has taken you from the place known as "Limbo".
Richard the arch-wizard has dropped you in the place known as "magical glade".
Elsanto the yeoman says "where are we?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "this isn't far from the swamp".
Richard the arch-wizard says "but it's part of the game world so you may see mobs and other players here".
Elsanto the yeoman says "has mob's artificial intelligence improved over the years in MUD?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "no, I made them more intelligent in the 1990s and the players got hurt too much so I dumbed them down".
Richard the arch-wizard says "I have a PhD in AI so was a bit disappointed".
Richard the arch-wizard says "some of them are smarter than others, though".
Richard the arch-wizard says "the old man is probably the smartest mob in the game".
Tralala the protector says "i find MUD's descriptions to be extremely rich, did you and Roy write them all?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "I wrote pretty well all of them".
Richard the arch-wizard says "Roy wrote the cottage and surroundings".
Richard the arch-wizard says "and the Italianate villa was written by a colleague, Simon Dally, who died 20 years or more ago".
Richard the arch-wizard says "but I wrote the rest".
Tralala the protector says "that's impressive".
Tralala the protector says "had you written fiction before?".
Shinigami the necromancer has just arrived.
Richard the arch-wizard says "text allows the game to have its own personality".
Shinigami the necromancer waves.
Richard the arch-wizard waves.
Elsanto the yeoman waves.
Shinigami the necromancer grins.
Shinigami the necromancer has just left.
Tralala the protector says "but text could also be a kind of a barrier".
Richard the arch-wizard says "it is for people who don't want to read".
Richard the arch-wizard says "or who don't have an imagination".
Tralala the protector laughs.
Richard the arch-wizard says "but text is liberating if you're blind".
Anp says "text is a very good technology".
Tralala the protector says "i would say it’s different, but not better".
Clouds are gathering overhead.
Richard the arch-wizard says "text allows creations bespoke to the individual".
Richard the arch-wizard says "when the thief walks past, in your heads you each have your own visualisation of what the thief looks like".
Richard the arch-wizard says "that visualisation is particular to you".
Richard the arch-wizard says "it's made by you, it's perfect for you: it's the exact thief you want to see right now".
Richard the arch-wizard says "a graphical thief would look the same to all of you, and so be less meaningful".
Anp says "it is similar to hypnosis somehow".
Richard the arch-wizard says "it's nothing like hypnosis, thankfully, or I wouldn't have created it".
Anp says "i mean in the use of the text".
Richard the arch-wizard says "the text is just input, it's not going to put anyone into a trance".
Tralala the protector says "what about sound effects?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "sound effects can be heard, smells can be smelt, heat can be felt".
In the distance, you hear a wolf baying AAAOOOOOOHHHH.
A male voice in the distance howls.
In the distance, you hear a wolf whistle.
Anp says "i was speaking about hyponsis in the method not in the results".
Richard the arch-wizard says "well MUD isn't for neuro-linguistic programming, that way lies madness".
Richard the arch-wizard says "it's no more hypnotic than a book".
A male voice in the distance shouts "is there something special happening?".
Richard the arch-wizard shouts "no".
Sabel says "Grant Morrison would say that books are indeed hypnotic".
Richard the arch-wizard says "well I'm not Grant Morrison".
Sabel says "I want a T-shirt that says that too".
For your information: Shinigami the slightly demonic necromancer is worth 6,254 points if killed.
A male voice close by shouts "Go on Galadorm. You know you want to!".
Elsanto the yeoman says "in case you created MUD nowadays, would you still do it using text?".
Richard the arch-wizard says "whether I did MUD in text or graphics would depend on how much money I was given".
Elsanto the yeoman says "ok, I think is getting a little bit late".
It has stopped raining.
Elsanto the yeoman says "what do you think? could we go to the swamp and jump in it?".
Elsanto the yeoman says "just to say goodbye to The Land".
Elsanto the yeoman says "you don't have to do it if you don't want to".
Richard the arch-wizard says "you can do it if you want".
A T-shirt lies here, reading 'I am not Grant Morrison'.
Elsanto the yeoman laughs, a lot.
Sabel laughs.
Anp smiles.
Elsanto the yeoman says "ok, let's go to the swamp then".
*go swampward
You are waylaid in a treacherous swamp.
Richard the arch-wizard has just arrived with a crash of thunder.
Anp has just arrived.
Tralala the protector has just arrived.
Sabel has just arrived.
Sabel says "let's go".
*jump
As you move, the swamp enfolds about your body. Kicking and screaming as best you can, you can make but futile headway before the clammy marsh becomes too heavy and you are sucked to a terrible death by asphyxiation.
(Persona saved on -19 = 560).
Overall, you lost 19 points this game.
[Stopped logging]

Credits

Performed in 'ZOINKS!', curated by Sabel Gavaldón
Sant Andreu Contemporani, Barcelona. 2017

Speakers: Serafín Álvarez, Richard A. Bartle, Sonia Fernández Pan, Sabel Gavadón and Daniel Moreno Roldán
Translator: Pol Serrahima