MUDs: Is There A 'Happily Ever After'?
By Lorna Cowie
Like a lot of people, I enjoy happy endings. Not all the time, but most of it. In this article I will introduce you to two of my dearest friends, Ali (age 26) and Paul (age 27), who I have known for over ten years and yes, we all met in a MUD. After spending an extraordinary time in game and out of it in the 'real world' we formed a group of friends that even to this day meet up and have fun, even if some have drifted off from the path of the MUD whilst I stubbornly remained.
Recently Ali and Paul got married. MUDs have such a huge social aspect (when used properly) that thankfully this is not a unique story. Many people have found their true match through the world of gaming, though not all stories have a happy ending. This one, however, does! A transcript of our interview is below.
Lorna: Thank you both for agreeing to this interview! I know to us it isn't an odd topic, but believe it or not, there are still people out there who are skeptical over MUDs and what they are about. Firstly, if you both would, could I have a brief introduction of who you are and what you do? Just to let the readers out there know you are in fact 'normal' people!
Ali: I make a living as a freelance writer and writing coach - you can find me on my own blog Aliventures, and all over the internet.
Paul: I'm hoping to do a Masters in Politics, and then go on and do a Doctorate. I'm fairly sure that makes me something other than "normal".
Lorna: What is your background in gaming and when did you first start becoming interested in MUDs?
Ali: We both came to MUDs via Games Workshop games. I started playing in 2001, along with my brother.
Paul: My roommate at university had problems with his internet connection and he played on a MUD, so he used to borrow my computer when I was out drinking... one morning I was bored and felt like trying it.
Lorna: Now Ali, I know you played a male character and even so, you clearly met and fell in love with Paul. How did it come about? Was it unusual to let people know you were a female behind the character?
Ali: It was never a big secret - I think pretty much everyone knew I was female in real life. I don't think it was that unusual, either, though perhaps we had more men playing female characters than vice versa.
Paul: I used to play a female character.
Ali: In fact, that's the first time I remember meeting him in the game. He was playing a 12 year old girl at the time...
Lorna: How did you both handle sensitive issues like relationships and friendships in a MUD?
Ali: None of my characters were exactly heroic or friendly types - my main one was a thief. So I never took anything aimed at my characters at all personally.
Paul: Like Ali, none of my characters were at all like me. Well, at least, I'm not a mass murderer and several of my characters were.
Ali: Looking back, I think that when there were problems with relationships and friendships, it was probably to do with the text-based medium. Not everyone has a good grasp of nuance, and I've met plenty of perfectly nice players in real life who I struggled to get on with in the MUD.
Lorna: When it came to playing, how did you both control the amount of time you played in a MUD, if you did, and did it help any?
Ali: I actually managed real life fine - I got my A-levels and my degree while MUDding. I do regret not using my time a bit more productively, though -- if I started playing again, I'd try not to end up logged in for four hours every night.
Paul: My record was thirty six hours. I did manage to get a bit more balance in later years.
Lorna: Do you think playing MUDs has helped you with anything involving university or life in general through the years you have played them?
Ali: I wrote about MUDs (and other forms of digital fiction, like fanfiction and hypertexts) as part of my degree. More broadly, I learned loads about interacting online and about how online communities work - which really helps me in my freelancing today. I also learned to touch type! And for the past couple of years, I've been working on a novel which is set around a MUD and a group of players.
Paul: I did some work on online communities in my Politics degree. Plus, you know, I met my wife on a MUD.
Lorna: Through the years we have had many 'meets' relating and revolving around the MUDs we used to play, and they have evolved into just meeting up with friends. Do you have any advice for others who are trying to organize a get together with a group from a MUD?
Paul: Never organize anything. Always get someone else to do it.
Ali: I like organizing things, fortunately! I'd suggest setting a date well in advance, trying to find somewhere that's easy for most people to get to, staying in the same hotel/B&B/etc if you can... Also, cakes/cookies are always popular with MUD players!
Lorna: How did it feel meeting everyone for the first time?
Paul: I already knew a couple of people in real life, as it were, so it was fairly easy for me because I ended up just chatting and drinking with them...
Ali: I was really quiet and shy at the first meet I went to. Which is really unlike me, as anyone who knows me can attest. It was really fun, though! Some people looked totally different to how I'd expected - including a few who were blokes playing female characters, and so on...
Lorna: When people ask, how do you explain to them how you both first met?
Ali: We just tell them that we met in an online game. Sometimes they look puzzled. It seems to be getting a bit more normal now.
Lorna: Did the thought ever cross your mind to have a MUD themed wedding?
Paul: I wanted armour.
Ali: We had a book-themed wedding, which was the next best thing!
Lorna: Thank you both for the interview!
Forget eHarmony, give some text-based RPGs a try and find your true soulmate with zero stress and lots of text game fun along the way!
Lorna Cowie is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from http://www.IronRealms.com.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lorna_Cowie