A MUSH, commonly known as a "Multi-User Shared Hallucination", is a text-based online environment with its roots in Interactive Fiction. However, the title MUSH, like MUCK, is a pun on MUD (Multi-User Dungeon), and rather good backronyms suggested by The Other Wiki also include Multi-User Shared Hack, Habitat or Holodeck.
Progressing down the text-based online game 'system reliance' scale from MUCKs, MUSH games are usually perceived as having the least systems support for roleplay. Whereas a MUD will usually provide players with an entire game's worth of systems to play with, roleplay or otherwise, and MUCKs offer their players systems comparable to those of Pen&Paper RPGs, a MUSH will often merely be a series of rooms, and only enough systems to allow players to communicate with one another in various ways, along with the occasional currency system. In other words, MUSH games generally encourage and trust their players to create and manage their own roleplay.
Tropes common to MUSHes:
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Quite often, where non-original/feature characters are concerned.
- Just about everything on the Creator Standpoint Index applies to a MUSH at one point or another, whether you're talking about players and characters, or the staff and the MUSH itself.
- Crossover: Sometimes happens.
- Fan Fiction: Essentially, in the case of MUSHes without their own, original setting or that allow for elements from other settings.
- Original Character: MUSHes are usually divided between original settings (often requiring original characters) and settings based on pre-existing franchises (which often allow original characters, too).
- The Wiki Rule: In more modern times, this has increasingly become the norm for existing and startup MUSHes.
Notable MUSHes, past and present:
- Akashat: An original setting, adult-roleplay MUSH. Noteworthy due to its firm focus on continuity, in-depth roleplay and complex storylines. Does not allow non-original characters.
- Castle D'Image: Quite an old MUSH set in an original fantasy setting. Defunct.
- Champions MUSH: Uses the Champions system of developing and playing your own superhero.
- City of Hope: The largest Old World of Darkness MUSH, based on Revised edition.
- Eldritch: Set in the pacific Northwest, using the 2nd edition of New World of Darkness. Allows for mortals, psychics, Demons, Vampires and Werewolves.
- Elendor: The oldest, biggest, and longest-running Tolkien-themed MUSH, founded in 1991, set shortly before The Lord of the Rings. Had a huge membership when the movies came out, but has since dwindled.
- Equestrian Dawn: A MUSH based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- Endless City MUSH: A cross-genre superhero MUSH (which permits almost everything), set in The City, a location that exists outside of time and space, that's connected to every universe, and every time ever. Defunct.
- Fallcoast: A large MUX using the New World of Darkness system, allowing players to apply for almost all supernatural types in that system. Uses the 1e version of the NWoD.
- Heroes MUSH: Based on the Heroes TV series, with a similar approach to game-wide story arcs (Volumes), flashbacks and potential dystopian futures. Defunct.
- Let Freedom Ring: An Old World of Darkness MUSH based on 20th Anniversary edition.
- Mahou MUSH: A Magical Girl and Magical Girl Warrior-themed game which incorporates a number of series from that genre, as well as several player-created original themes, into a single cohesive setting.
- Mega Man MUSH: A rather long-standing MUSH based on the Mega Man games. Combines elements from almost all of the various series into one coherent setting, albeit by taking quite a few liberties with the canon time line.
- Multiverse Crisis MUSH: Huge crossover MUSH. Has all sorts of characters and themes crammed together more or less indiscriminately.
- OtherSpace: One of the longest-running MUSHes (online since 1998), OtherSpace is self-described as a space opera/science fantasy interactive saga. Notable for having had 17 game-wide story arcs (plus hundreds of more localized ones) and for being willing to completely alter the structure of the game in order to keep the story going. Has a wiki.
- Pokemorph MUSH: A place in the Pokémon world where Team Rocket experimented on fusing human genes to Pokemon. Most, if not all, of the results live on the island within the game. Notable for being the longest running and one of the largest Pokemon-based MUSH still active.
- Persona MUSH: This MUSH focuses on fusing the four main Persona games together in a coherent fashion, with occasional shout outs and injokes to other games in the Shin Megami Tensei series. Also has a wiki.
- Shangrila: An intensely pornographic multiverse fetish game and consistent chief contender for the largest MUSH still around, as of 2014. If you're not into extreme internet/BDSM kink culture and/or are under 18, you really should avoid this one. They don't mess around here. Due to the aforementioned pornographic content, we're not linking to it here. If you want to play it, Google it yourself.
- Super Robot Taisen MUSH: Based on the Super Robot Wars: Original Generation games with basically every mecha series they could think of integrated, from the typical fare of Gundam and Macross to BattleTech and Xabungle. Has a wiki. Defunct as of 2020.
- Super Robot Wars MUSH: Loosely based on the Super Robot Wars games, it set in a Post-Apocalyptic Earth where humanity is suppressed by stronger powers, is trying to restore its past glory. SRW:M more specifically integrates thematic elements from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Xabungle, ∀ Gundam, The Big O, GUN×SWORD and Getter Robo Armageddon, while still allowing for integration of other Mecha themes.
- Videoland MUSH: Defunct. In its prime was a (slightly) more-serious take on its source material, expanding the cast to eight (and eventually ten) Gamemasters instead of just one.
- Transformers 2005 MUSH: Longest-running and most successful Transformers-based game. Based on the original The Transformers: The Movie. Ran since Apr. 8, 1995 to April 2019. A wonderful 24 years. Rest in Peace, dear MUSH.
- Transformers Universe: A slightly different Transformers game, based on Season Two of The Transformers as well as G.I. Joe. Running since May of 1997.