LambdaMoo: Minimal, Interesting, and Very, Very Confusing.

By Anthony Rossi

For me, spending time on LambdaMoo was as confusing as it was interesting. At first I found it difficult to immerse myself in the online world because the format of the game was so different from what I am used to. The slow pacing of the single direction and response gameplay was odd because it felt as though I was speaking directly to the computer. As I tested out different commands and choices, I felt restricted by the lack of options. The fact that you have to structure your commands in a specific way for them to work threw me off. I was so frustrated that I barely wanted to continue playing, but eventually I started to figure out the gameplay and enjoy the experience of wandering around this online world. There were some strange moments (I got trapped in between barrels in the wine cellar for about twenty minutes) and some really cool ones (I played and won a text only version of Pac Man). The environments were described with such detail that I could picture everything that was going on even though I was only scrolling through text. At first I did not understand how to communicate, with other players in this environment, leading to some very awkward encounters. Most users seemed to ignore me if I did not approach them, but some reached out to me when they saw that I was logged in as a guest. Because the game is text based, it is up to each user to cultivate their own identity within the world and develop their own characters. It is clear that certain players take LambdaMoo very seriously, because their characters were detailed, believable, and well planned out. The users that wanted to chat with me were all very polite, which made it confusing how anything like our reading A Rape In Cyberspace occurred in this environment. I was expecting users to be much more abrasive because of the high level of anonymity provided by the text only game style. Without any photos or ways to track other users, it would be easy for trolls to log on simply to mess with people. Most of the other users I encountered, however, were just logging on to spend time exploring the environment, and interaction with other users seemed rather serious. Overall, I was impressed with the experience once I figured out what I was doing. I did not expect that such a basic style of gameplay could be so complicated and that it could create such a detailed virtual world.

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One comment

  1. It was so easy to get caught up in this game! Finding ways to talk with others, navigating your way around the house and beyond, and exploring LambdaMoo were all aspects that I wanted to achieve and succeed at. I was surprised with how entertaining it could be, too – once you get the swing of it.

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