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Video Game / Multi-User Dungeon

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The Trope Maker and Trope Namer for Multi-User Dungeon is an online multiplayer text-based Adventure Game and pseudo-Role-Playing Game, created in 1978-80 by Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle on a DEC PDP-10 at the University of Essex in Colchester, England. Despite its name, it's not a Dungeon Crawler; the name is a tribute to Dungeon, an early version of Zork. It has been through many incarnations over the years, and the two basic versions can still be played online at and


Players create a character simply by giving it a name and a gender, there are no stats or starting classes. They use text commands to explore The Land, solving puzzles, fighting other players or NPCs, and gathering Plunder. Defeating enemies or dropping loot in a place called the Swamp will score points, which will raise their Character Level. Scoring points and making level is the whole point of the game; there is no larger plot. The objective is to reach the highest level, Wiz (Wizard for males and Witch for females). Wiz is God Mode, and began as a debug feature before Bartle thought it would be great to make it the game's goal.

The game was very popular in the early years of the Internet, and is the ancestor of today's MMORPGs. Not only because people were inspired by it, but because Trubshaw and Bartle have remained active in the online multiplayer game community.


Multi-User Dungeon provides examples of:

  • God Mode: Achieved through Scoring Points rather than a cheat code. The object of the game.
  • Guide Dang It!: Especially when the guide is another player who's playing tricks on you...
  • Player Versus Player: Other players can turn in an instant from helping you to attacking you. Watch your back!