Blog 4

Blog assignment posts

Learning to LambdaMoo

I found LambdaMoo to be extremely frustrating at times. It was really hard to navigate through without someones else’s entry ruining your response or your own entries not being a route. But once I started to understand what the space was about I really enjoyed the freedom of it all.

I appreciate the exclusivity of it and the space being a kind of escape for many people on the Internet. I could definitely see myself going there just to free my mind or blow off steam because it is almost soothing to be able to navigate your way through a digital space.

I think what I loved most about LambdaMoo was the fact that there were no visuals. LambdaMoo opened my eyes to how limiting visuals can be, because you are given a description and then the photo paints a specific description that doesn’t allow your mind or imagination to perceive anything else. Because LambdaMoo was so open for interpretation i enjoyed reading the imagery or the different spaces and the unknown of it all. You are able to paint a vivid picture in your mind of what you think the scenery would look like based of of the detailed description they give you. I also really liked the whole aspect of being in charge of you own destiny. Which ever route you decided to go would then effect the rest of your journey, and so on. So you as the player has limitless options that could even take you to Paris or on an air balloon.

There’s something ironic about the old-school system with a innovative and creative concept that I don’t think new technology and games have today. I also think it’s funny that so many of us, who consider ourselves to be tech-savvy millennial’s who grew up with technology, were lost when it came to LambdaMoo because we are so used to modern technology and easy access. We aren’t used to the difficulty of navigating through a digital space because it comes so easy to us now– the computer does it for us.

The one thing I wasn’t so keen on was the anonymity of it all. I grew up watching my dad play final fantasy where he was able to communicate to different Xbox users with anonymous gamer names. Some of the peoples responses and interactions with my dad were inappropriate or just plain odd. I think spaces like these attract people who can be cruel and hateful using their anonymous persona to spite and express their cruelty to a larger group. Mentioned in Solove’s article “The Virtues of Anonymity,” this can create dangerous spaces of unwanted “hate mail” and can take away from the freedom and community aspect of spaces like LambdaMoo.


My LambdaMOO Experience

I visited LambdaMOO a few times. I was unable to attend class the day we were to visit it, therefore, I struggled with the initial steps to enter LambdaMOO. once I figured out the steps, I was very surprised.

The experience was so plain. There were no visuals other than text. It was like I was walking through a book but made my own decisions and didn’t know what exactly to expect next. I was happy about the help the program gave me. there were times that I didn’t know what to do, but the program, especially in the beginning, would tell me what commands would work.

There were many times when I would get stuck somewhere and type “go north” then “go south” then “go east” then “go west,” and I would finally be able to move. While it could be frustrating, it was also fun. I loved how descriptive everything was. For example: “This is a wooden deck behind the main house, facing southward across the pool to the lush gardens beyond.  To the west is the door into the living room and to the north is a sliding glass door into the master bedroom, with a door to a half bath in the western side of the north wall.  At the east end of the deck is a large hot tub.” One of my favorite parts of my experience was when I entered the garden. Overall, I liked LambdaMOO a lot. This is why I tried it out so many times. I am glad that I learned about it in class.

This is a space where a specific group of people comes together. People who are gifted with the ability to visualize and give color and depth to the words that they read really flourish in this environment. I think that it is also important to note that the people who take part in this community know about it. LambdaMOO is something that I had never heard of. It took a communications class for me to learn about what LambdaMOO is. If one is used to this environment, it becomes a part of their identity. Unlike me, they have the ability to easily more about the world of LambdaMOO. The community also nurtures curiosity. There are so many places and things to explore. Somehow, one student of our class was once able to go to Paris. One minute you are in a closet, the next you are somehow in Paris. That is pretty incredible.

According to research, they can even add to the environment. They put their time and effort into the world. It is a place that they dedicate knowledge, personality, and effort to. They, as well as others, can interact with what they have built.

LambdaMOO is an incredible environment. It is creative, interactive, and continues to grow. It hosts a community of creative and curious people.

Written by: Katya Seitz

You’re a Guest Here.

Logging into LambdaMoo made me feel like I was on a computer in an 80’s movie. As I watched the cursor blink, patiently awaiting my commands, I quickly realized that my “tech savvy” in the modern age did not translate here. I quickly reverted to the equivalent of my seven year old self when unsure how to win a video game: push buttons. Instead of buttons, I just kept typing directions until I found something interesting.

Ultimately it is a mindset like this that initially made me confused about LambdaMoo. I was thinking, “what are you going to do to entertain me?” when I really should have been pondering about how LambdaMoo could be used to as a conduit for entertainment.

That was LambdaMoo’s point. It isn’t like a video game today, where we are a player in action. Rather, players receive the sensory stimulation (elaborate descriptions of every new room, tunnel, building, etc.) but overall it is simply the background to their interaction. This is their community.

As a guest, I felt like that girl who didn’t know anyone at the party. Actually, I felt like someone who knew no one at the party, who was also blindfolded, put in a closet in some random corner of the house, and trying to find her way towards anything friendly.

My attempts at communicating with other players were laughable, I rarely got responses, except one from what I suppose was a bot since he kept repeating the same three phrases. I kept going south, south, south, figuring keeping to one direction would get me somewhere strange. I ended up in a long tunnel, going down, down, down, until I had reached a fiery pit with some mysterious things happening. I noticed that the description kept growing as a phoenix was described dancing around with another mythical creature.

It took me a while of reading to realize this wasn’t pre-set data about my setting, but rather two players communicating amongst each other. Battling out via language out of a story book. ( Astoundingly intricate compared to my “emote smile”). That that is what I believe Lynn Cherny tries to describe in her article about speech complexity in MUDs. What outside players view as complex and strange ways of communicating are as fluid as a phoenix dancing among embers to these players.

While I felt no emotional connection to my guest player, I can see how attachments can form. People have built this place. An obvious Jerry Garcia fan has made a whole memorial dedicated to the musician, which I got lost in. There is a birthday machine outside the linen closet that reminds other players of upcoming birthdays, something that smaller communities can revel in. Everyone knows names. Maybe not their real names, but names. I think Rushkoff might be a bit strict on anonymity in this sense.

I do believe we bring ourselves online, whether it be our love for Jerry Garcia or mythical creatures, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is necessary to tack our name to it. It was strange to think of MOOmembers with names like “Skully” and “the wizards” were real people, but they are. Maybe they’re just enjoying a different facet of their own realities.

So I was a guest, a mildly uncomfortable one at that. However, I don’t mind, like any trip it was an experience. Everyone deserves their own community and whether it is IRL or not isn’t really any of my business.

Lambdamoo: Imagination and Anonymity

The first time I ever logged into Lambdamoo, I had the same expectation I had with any other video games: If it wasn’t Madden then it was not relevant. It was to my surprise that I actually found it to be enjoyable. You see, what sets Lambdamoo apart from most typical video or online games is that it is entirely text based. There are no images, no sounds, and no pre-determined arrangement of objectives that need to be completed. Lambdamoo works so that you are not given a set scene, but rather you get full creative control to envision the game in any way that you choose.

The game was pretty difficult at the start. It took me some time to figure out how to properly type in the commands, and figuring out how to exit the closet was an even trickier task. After about 20 minutes of frustration, I finally got out and started to feel my mind drift. The screen may have told me what was going on, but it was my imagination that truly painted the picture of what was going on in my head. The experience was truly different from the typical online or video game because there were no set guidelines or restraints. This is, while being frustrating at times, really helped to enhance the experience. The Anonymity of the game also expanded on the gaming experience.

Lambdamoo is allows you to communicate with others anonymously with no objective. In the modern age of gaming, through outlets such as Xbox Live or World Of War Craft, people are given the ability to play and communicate with friends or random people to complete a given task. Now, with Lambdamoo, there is no set task. People are just present and any interaction can be whatever we make them out to be. This can be both helpful and harmful.

The problem with Anonymity is that some people use this as a way to express a more crude and offensive side to their personality. According to Solove’s article The Virtues of Anonymity, we see how “people can be free to express unpopular ideas and be critical of people in power without risking retaliation or opprobrium.” This can lead to offensive things being said, which creates a harmful environment.

Now, Solove’s article also states that , “The loss of anonymity might make many people more civil, but it might also chill a lot of valuable expression.” While it is true that anonymity may cause problems, it also allows for this creative expression that we see in Lambdamoo, were two complete strangers being able to interact in any way they choose. The fact of the matter is that, as Solove states, we must find a balance between too much anonymity and not enough anonymity.


Does Lambdamoo provide us with enough Anonymity to be civil? Does it give to much anonymity, thus creating a harmful environment?

Do games such as Lambdamoo, that have a high level of Anonymity, provide users with a “better” gaming experience? Does it make the gaming experience “worse”? If so, why do you believe this to be true?



It started out like the Amazing Race. We were all put into a coat closet and told to figure our way out, then from there explore the space we were exposed to. I was so confused I ended up just telling my virtual self to go north, south, east, or west. When discussing LamdaMoo in class I was thoroughly puzzled as to how this virtual world worked. No pictures, no video, just words? Didn’t seem like it was possible to be honest.

As I logged into the game I was astonished by how much text there was to explain where I was and what was going on. During the in-class portion of the experience I was overwhelmed due to the fact that so many people were logged into the game and that I could see their progress. This part of the game frustrated me because I couldn’t read the text describing my setting because updates kept moving the description out of my view. I was so flustered because I wanted to go to Paris or experience something beyond the confines of the house but never did. It was a competition between my fellow classmates and I.

As I tested out LambdaMoo at home I still didn’t experience much success. When it comes to reading lots of text I am the most impatient person. I resorted to doing the same thing I did in-class which is just tell my virtual self to go north, south, east, or west. I’m so glad that virtual games have updated because although LambdaMoo isn’t a difficult game to navigate I still found it too frustrating for me to want to try to comprehend. Basically, I find video or electronic games do not pique my interest in general, so the fact that this game didn’t have any visual aspect to it made it even harder for me to want to play it.

To summarize after testing it out I don’t think I would ever play the game again mainly due to the extensive reading it forces the player to deal with. If I play a game I want it to be mind numbing and easy enough for me to figure out.

A Game Without Reward

Logging into LambdaMoo for the first time I was not sure what to expect. I never understood gamers or how it is possible for a person to become connected to a game. Upon entering LambdaMoo I felt overwhelmed with the amount of reading. Everything was explained in great detail and as I spent more time in the game I found myself becoming impatient, just skimming everything not actually reading. Being just a guest in this elaborate cyber community I felt like a complete outsider, It frustrated me not knowing the proper commands, where to go or what I could interact with. We were told in class about all the cool places we could visit in the game but I struggled to get out of the house and into the drive way. Other classmates shared how they managed to find their way to Paris or had conversations with other players in such a short amount of time.

Getting back on later that day I was determined to have an adventure in Lambda Moo, I decided to explore the house more and eventually I was lead to a bar where there were various games to play like PacMoo. I spent 10 minutes playing this familiar game but in a whole new way, it was interesting to move around not being able to visually see where anything was and respond quickly to avoid being captured. After that I explored the outside of the house and climb into a tree house that contained a time machine that I tried to figure out how to use. After many failed attempts I gave up and continued to roam around.

Entering I expected it to be similar to playing the SIMS game but it ended up being completely different. It had no objective, I am use to playing games that are win or lose or have a reward for playing. Playing a game for the shear entertainment and enjoyment of interacting with this community didn’t and still doesn’t make sense to me. I experienced how easy it is to lose yourself in the game but don’t think it is something I would enjoy doing regularly.

Jestelle Irizarry


Screen shot 2014-11-02 at 9.09.44 PM

As I logged in to the virtual reality of LambdaMoo, I had two curiosities concerning the game. First, I questioned the likelihood of me actually enjoying this game; and, furthermore, I wondered how someone could find a text-based video game entertaining enough to play for long periods of time. For a little over an hour I explored the many different corners of the mansion, became trapped in a void of space, and found myself on a drawbridge to a medieval castle. To say the least, I had been naive to the endless possibilities of LambdaMoo. When first starting out I was often impatient; however, as I became familiar with the tools in the “help” portion I was able to more quickly move about in the space. Overall, my experience dealt with a great amount of frustration, often left me confused, and somehow I still found it enjoyable.

Screen shot 2014-11-02 at 9.08.55 PMIt wasn’t until I encountered the Rube Goldberg contraption, about fifteen minutes into the game, that I began to wonder what else this virtual reality offered. There were some points in the game when I found it difficult to communicate actions due to the fact that there were so many other characters typing away. The aspect of communication was odd to me because the conversations I would have with others often did not extend passed a simple “hello”. However, there was one instance, which I wandered into a hair salon, and for about ten minutes I communicated back and forth with someone about hairstyles. Soon enough, my hair was cut and colored purple. After going from watching a Rube Goldberg contraption to getting my hair styled, I began to realize the diverse amount of actions one can witness and perform in this virtual world. From the readings this week regarding the Bungle Affair, this realization was both exciting and somewhat frightening at the same time.

Eventually, I found myself stuck in a loop, walking around the same places and unable to find anyone to talk to. I have never been one to play video games for hours on end, and this game was no different. However, I was able to recognize the different ways LambdaMoo can be considered entertaining, even without any visual depictions.