Online MUDs: Combating Boredom in the Military With Text Games
By Tony Celetano
One of the great things about online text games is the opportunities they provide to meet some pretty cool folks. For example, my girlfriend and I, who met through gaming, recently sat down with Herenicus from Achaea. Herenicus is a 68W Army Combat Medic and has some amazing stories to share, but he's also a text game addict. I have friends in the military who are always complaining about the lack of online gaming options while deployed, but Herenicus was still active in Achaea while overseas. Of course, I wanted to get the nitty-gritty on his text game experiences while overseas, so we picked the location and had lunch - the famous Schmidt's Sausage Haus.
After a lengthy wait (hey, it's Schmidt's!) we were led to our table. We all decided on the buffet so Herenicus could save room for his cream puff (more on that later), and after piling delicious bratwurst and german potato salad onto our plates, we got around to chatting about text games. My first question was how often he was able to get online to play text games in the first place.
"Internet access varies greatly from larger operating bases to smaller outposts. For most of the deployment, we either had no Internet access, access only when visiting a larger base for supplies, or access in a public tent dedicated to phones and Internet service. I rarely did more than check messages and news once every other month until our outpost had a contractor arrive and set up a civilian wireless network charging between $50 and $100 per month for wireless internet."
I was a little shocked at those prices because that's the price range for cable in your home. A friend in Iraq told me that his internet was communal, so I asked Herenicus if he had the same.
"Once we got civilian Internet, pretty much everyone was using it when not on mission or sleeping. People kept up with family, but if you paid for higher bandwidth you could download music or movies. We had guys playing WoW - I went with the middle plan which probably wouldn't have supported that. It barely supported Achaea, and yes - outages were common."
I nodded and asked if he was able to do any PvP combat. "The Internet was slow and choppy. I still had access to my system, but the lag made combat largely suicidal."
When it was time to get seconds, I stacked food on my plate while Herenicus was already showing signs of fullness. With a little grin I wondered to myself if I was going to out-eat this big Army dude. We talked about the stupid things people sometimes do in text games, what we like best about them, before I asked if he applied any skills from the Army to online text games.
"My in-game faction maintains a martial atmosphere, so I would expect that it resembles the sort of working environment in the military. I also think that it becomes more challenging to be patient with individuals who consider experience points and text romance as serious concerns."
The waitress came around at this point and asked if we needed anything. I said I'd like the check, while Herenicus ordered Schmidt's famous cream puff. I came back from the buffet with my third plate just as the waitress was delivering Herenicus's creampuff - and let me tell you about Schmidt's cream puffs. Once featured on the television show Man vs Food, they're almost as large as your head and weigh one pound each. An entire pound of delicious, cream filled pastry.
"So, Herenicus, you play an evil character in the game. As a combat medic in real life, have you ever considered the Priest class?" I asked with a grin.
"As a Quaker in real life, I have a love-hate relationship with being a 'healer'. It is a religious calling, on the one hand, but on the other hand it pigeon-holes you in a supportive role." And then, with a face as serious as his response, he picked up the cream puff and inhaled it in two bites.
Be thankful for your internet and put it to use with some stellar online MUDs!
Tony Celentano is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from Iron Realms.
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