What Was The First Multiple Player Internet Game?
Answer: Multi-User Dungeon
Long before the advent of richly textured video games and massive online universes, there were text-based games. The 1970s gave rise to first of these text based adventures and the very first one to offer multiple players the chance to adventure together.
The first text-based game to gain widespread attention and play was Colossal Cave Adventure, designed by Will Crowther in 1975. Building on the success and fun of Colossal Cave Adventure, a group of students at MIT built Zork, which was then ported to FORTRAN with the name Dungeon. As fun as these games were, with their Dungeons & Dragons inspired hack and slash adventures, play was a solitary experience. It was you against the machine with no chance to romp with your friends in a virtual space.
No chance, that is until Roy Trubshaw, a student at Essex University, created a game much like Colossal Cave Adventure and Zork (which he knew as Dungeon) that allowed multiple players to go on adventures together and interact. In tribute to Dungeon, he named the game simply MUD (Multi-User Dungeon). The game was played on small networks until, in 1980, Essex University was connected to ARPANet. From the humble beginning as a student’s side project, the whole concept of MUDs took off. Through the 1980s and 1990s, MUDs (and variants like MUSHes and MOOes) were where you went if you wanted to play a fun and low-bandwidth friendly online game.
The original MUD, now known as MUD1 to denote it as the original MUD game, is still online and ready to dish out all the text-based adventure you can handle.