Sorting through the MUSH…
May 31, 2010
MUSH musings, Part II – Why a MUSH?
So, last week, I reminisced about how I got into gaming via MUSHing. So why then, after so many years and so many different ways of roleplaying – pen and paper, forum RP, chat-based RP, and LARP – do I still have a special fondness for a good ol’ MUSH??
Part of it has to do with how immediate the play was. Unlike forum based play, which often requires days of waiting for replies, you and whoever you were playing with were both right there, right now, and could trade posts back and forth for as long as your keyboards held out. And unlike something like a weekly D&D game or LARP, you could log onto the MUSH whenever you had a spare hour or two (or five…) to kill.
This spontaneity led to some very interesting story twists! It also, I like to believe, sharpened my skills as a writer. Being forced to come up with a character’s reply on the spot was a really great writing exercise, as was having to convey something that you’d normally just do as a gesture in words. Let me say that during my MUSHing days, the thesaurus became a very good friend of mine!
Which isn’t to say that there weren’t downsides to MUSH as a media for roleplaying, because there most certainly were.
The biggest downside was that many times, you’d log into a game only to discover that everyone was either sitting around idle, or off sequestered on their own, likely writing some *ahem* rather private stories… While the game was always there, it didn’t necessarily mean that the players were always ready to play.
Also, because everyone posts in turns (ie, I go, then you go, then that other guy goes, then I go again… Rinse, repeat), as soon as you got more than five people in a room together, it seemed as though so long would pass between your turn that you might as well just be playing on a forum!
There are, I’m sure, far more problems than this, but these were the ones that I remember causing me the most grief. But on the whole, I still wish that I had the time to log onto a game every now and then and relive the glory of my MUSH client’s green text on a black background. Those were, indeed, good times. If only my old haunts were still around… But that’s a discussion I’ll save for Part III!
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