It’s 2023, the year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of OtherSpace MUSH. It’s astonishing to think about how much the world has changed since the story began, but try this on for size. Back then:
- We didn’t have smartphones.
- Netflix was just starting out as a service shipping DVDs by mail.
- Blockbuster still had about 6,500 video stores.
- TV shows came on once a week, at a specific time on a certain day of the week, on one of several channels.
- When you sat down at a computer to surf the internet, you didn’t have many tabs open. No Twitter. No Facebook. No TikTok. No MySpace.
And when it came to computer games, when OtherSpace started, players mostly had single-player graphical game experiences but lots of home-brewed Telnet hack-and-slash MUDs (multi-user dimensions). We were a rarity: a story-focused roleplaying game with a series of arcs progressing over time. Everquest launched in 1999, but it wouldn’t be until 2004 and the rise of World of Warcraft that we really saw the first serious threat to text-focused games like ours. But the true Extinction-Level Event wasn’t WoW. It was the iPhone and the app store, combined with the expansion of social media platforms, that proved cataclysmic.
For a long time, I’ve tried different methods of helping OtherSpace persevere, from theme reboots to evolutionary offshoots making use of new technology, such as Slack and Discord, and new sites like AresMUSH (a descendant of PennMUSH that offers real-time MUSH environments and web-based play-by-post asynchronous scene opportunities) and World Anvil, which attracts thousands of enthusiasts to check out different creative worlds and has a tabletop-style interface for scenes.
All of these have been interesting prospects. But none of them have captured the immediacy and immersion of the classic Telnet client window.
Maybe we’re just past time for extinction. Maybe.
But we still have the old MUSH platform up and running at jointhesaga.com 1790. As we prepare for the big 25th anniversary, I can’t think of a more fitting gambit than going all in one last time on the tried and true MUSH, with all the benefits and challenges that come with it.
Looking for a client to connect while we get back to work setting everything up? Give MUDlet a try!
Have a great new year. I hope you can spend some time with us online!