Do you ever wonder where the MMORPG was born? If you said, “The internet, duh,” you’re technically correct but also a huge smartass. But it turns out that its birthplace can be narrowed down even further to the English county of Essex, according to a fascinating write-up over at gaming blog Later Levels. The post refers to psychologist-slash-games-researcher Dr. Pete Etchells’s new book Lost in a Good Game, in which Etchells traces the MMORPG’s lineage back to the University of Essex circa nearly four decades ago, where Computer Society members Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle created the text-based Multi-User Dungeon.
Hosted on “a giant DEC PDP-10 mainframe” at the university, MUD soon attracted the attention of “hobbyists and hackers” who caught wind of its existence and began connecting from outside the university. As word spread, MUD caught the attention of the press as well as other programmers, spawning an entire genre that bears its name. It’s a fascinating story that’s worth a read for any would-be MMO historian or anyone curious to know how the genre that is Massively OP’s raison d’être came to be. If that sounds up your alley, be sure to click on over to Later Levels and check it out.