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In the very beginning of text adventure games, there were three games you've probably heard of: Zork , Advent , and Dungen . The last two have funny names because they were developed on old Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) computers that only supported files with six characters in their names . Advent was really short for Adventure , and Dungen was short for Dungeon .
When Roy Trubshaw started working on making a multi-player game, he used the game Dungen as an inspiration, and ended up calling it, Multi- User Dungeon , or MUD for short.
So the fact that games in this genre are called Multi-User Dungeons is just an historical accident ; the name of the original game became the name of the entire genre!
Nowadays, some people refer to MUDs as Multi-User Dimensions , but not too many people really care about what MUD stands for.
To make things more complicated, various derivatives of the original MUD have also used acronyms for their names, such as MOO, MUD, Object Oriented , MUSH, and Multi-User Shared Hallucination . These terms have also come into the common vocabulary of MUD-like games, as well as a few oddball terms that don't even have meanings, such as MUCK and MUX .
You may come across people who vehemently argue that there are fundamental differences between all the genres, but quite honestly it really doesn't matter. MUD-like games have become complex since the early days, and more often than not share many of the same features of the original games in all those genres, so there's little point in differentiating them. It's not uncommon for people to refer to all MUD-like games as MU* s. Here the term MU* s means all multiuser games. The asterisk symbol (*) is a computer symbol that means "any string of characters", which is a reference to regular expressions, but that's a complicated topic in computer science, so don't worry about it.
To sum up, most people call the games MUDs.
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