Before LARP, there were other strange acronyms…

May 24, 2010

So it’s recently occurred to me that I really don’t use this blog space often enough, and I was thinking of doing a regular feature where I talk about some of my favorite role-playing games, both old and new. This won’t be a particularly journalistic review, just some of my random thoughts about games that I get excited about. Maybe if there are some games that you readers would like to hear me talk about, you can make suggestions in the comments and I’ll see what I can do. In fact, if you have an indie game that you’ve written that you’d like me to try out, or if you represent a gaming company and have new products that you’d like me to review, send me an email and we’ll work something out! I don’t have a lot of free time lately, but I’m always interested in checking out new things!

Today’s Topic: Before LARPS, there were other strange acronyms…

I got into gaming in sort of a strange order. Most people I LARP with tend to have picked up tabletop gaming back in high school and then worked their way into LARP through that. *I* went completely backwards. I got into tabletop gaming LAST, after Id’ been LARPing for nearly a year. And my first experience with roleplaying was not sitting around the gaming table on Friday night, but online.

But Alina, you say!! What sort of roleplaying games were online in the early 90’s??

Well, aside from the various chat room/#IRC/forum/bulletin board based games out there, there were MUSHes.Or MUDs. Or MUCKS or MOOs or whatever the room that you played on called itself. (There are differences between all of those terms, but sometimes said terms were used incorrectly. It was a confusing time.) Whatever the term you used, it all boiled down to text-based roleplaying.

I played on a variety of MUSHes long before I ever heard of pen-and-paper games. Some had character stats, automatic dice rollers, and complicated mathematics to crunch combat between two characters with a simple command. Others had no rules at all and relied wholly on the imaginations and politeness of its players to mediate any combats that arrived. There was a curious code of honor in these games, with any powergamers or twinks who would write another player’s actions FOR them being shunned by their nobler compatriots. It was wild, wacky, freeform roleplaying in the extreme.

It didn’t always work. Sometimes, you’d sit in a text-based room for hours, waiting for someone to log on. Sometimes, you’d be in the middle of an epic drama in your own private room, only to have someone else’s conversation about Star Wars suddenly break into your game. But I loved every moment of it…

***End Part I

(Part II to come!!)


Comic Storylines

Chapter 14