Learning Lambdamoo

The thing I noticed immediately about Lambdamoo was how complicated I found it. It was created a long time ago, and the idea of it is simple enough: gameplay that is purely text-based. However, I immediately found myself dazed and confused the second I ended up in that closet. Sadly enough, it took me nearly 10 minutes to realize all I had to do was type something along the lines of “open door” in order to escape. I think today’s media has a lot of influence on the fact that I had trouble catching on. We are so used to our games and media being complex- filled with inner workings of hashtags and hyperlinks, that we’re thrown for a loop when taken back to the basics. Even after I found my way outside of the closet, I still had trouble doing simple maneuvers throughout the space. Lambdamoo works off of text commands that are supposed to be obvious, but for some reason I couldn’t comprehend that right away. I’d try typing out full sentences, trying to get my character to move to no avail. At one point I found myself climbing a rose trellis on the outside of the house, and I soon realized I had no idea where to go from there. I couldn’t go north, south, east, or west, and none of the other commands I tried tying seemed to work. I’m sure I could’ve found my way out of this eventually, but I ended up closing the application and starting from the beginning out of sheer frustration. (Fortunately, soon after this, I discovered the wonders of typing “help” and receiving instructions on different commands.)

Something that the Internet truly introduced was a sense of connection and community to anyone, anywhere, at any time. I was previously unaware that there was such a way to connect with total strangers online before the creation of well known Internet forums and social media websites. Lambdamoo, being a terminal based application and not a social media website, seems even more anonymous than your typical twitter account.

The fact that anyone can sign into something like Lambdamoo and create friendships with someone else who is totally anonymous will always be a pretty amazing thing to me. Sharing experiences with someone draws you closer and often forms bonds, whether in real life or online. A lot of people don’t take this into consideration when on the web, and they think that online interactions are totally different. It’s true you don’t have to be yourself online, you don’t have to be friendly, you don’t have to be anything, but you don’t have to do these things in person either- except for fear of damaging your reputation. People use the anonymity of certain web spaces as a tool to act in a way they would never act in front of another human, and they forget the reality that the person on the receiving end of their behavior is not just a pixelated username: it’s a fellow human with a life as equally complex as theirs.

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One comment

  1. I definitely agree on the confusing-ness of LambdaMoo, I initially assumed it would be easy to work through but after going on it, I realized how hard such a simple game could be. I also agree on your reasoning for us being so confused by such a ‘basic’ and ‘simple’ online game. We are used to our games being so high-tech and competition driven that when we saw a game that just requires us to type simple phrases, our brains did not know what to do with it.

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