What is a MUSH?

MUSH is the acronym for Multi-User Shared Hallucination (sometimes holodeck, habitat, and hack are substituted). This is, more accurately, a backronym applied to a text-based MMO, role-play focused, medium that originated out of telnet but has specific clients (applications) dedicated to the medium to make this a more friendly process. Or, more simply, its an application that gathers players to allow them to role-play on-line in a text based environment in a live fashion rather than through other on-line mediums such as Forums or even e-mail which can be slow in waiting for responses.

How do I MUSH?

Generally hosted on personal servers, group servers and even virtual machines, the typical protocol for accessing the environment is through directing the software (client or application) to a direct IP address and port, the port routes the connection to the server specifically to the MUSH/game in particular. So long as the address and port is put in correctly, the software returns a login screen similar to the one below.


From here, one simply needs to create a character, 'create John passw1234' or connect to John, 'connect John passw1234', to enter the virtual, text based environment. Sometimes it is overlooked or forgotten, these environments have existed for decades, but all the help files needed to interact with the system and other players is hard coded into the system itself. One simply types commands, hits enter and the system will respond. To get started, type the word 'help' at the first prompt after logging in, hit enter. This return the basic system help file and index for help files.


A few notes. One, there is a lot of text to read for anyone new to the MUSH environment as it is a text-based environment and utilized most often for text-based role-playing. Two, depending on your vision, the color of light text on dark background may not be suitable for you. This can be changed in your client or application generally and most prefer either dark (black) or light (white) background with inverse colored text. The traditional Telnet was light grey with black text.

The information and subsequent files from 'help getting started' are very useful for communicating with the global player base on a MUSH. Sparkline is PennMUSH based and uses a global 'public' channel that everyone is automatically added to for convenience. If one wants more direct help after connecting, they simply only need ask for help on this global channel; try 'pub I need help' and someone is sure to answer.

How do I get on one of these MUSH'es?

In the advent of social media such as Facebook and Instant Messengers, this may seem slightly archaic, but one either uses their computers built in telnet, downloads a direct client interface or, for phones and smart devices, they can download apps that allows connections and interface with a MUSH and the many players already on them.

We strongly advise against Telnet as this comes with more reading and learning, but for you traditionalists this is still achievable. In Windows, the feature for Telnet Client must be turned on before the cmd prompt is accessed. From the prompt one simply types 'telnet address:port' or in the example MUSH above, 'telnet' and hits enter. This leads to the login screen shown above.

Otherwise, you may download clients for your computer. Each comes equipped with an address book in which the address and port can be entered, and then can be utilized for quick connects to those sites.

For the PC, we recommend Potato Mush Client, mostly as it is still maintained and updated by its developer on a regular basis. Older PC clients include MUSH Client or SimpleMu. Neither has been updated in a while, SimpleMu no longer keeps its own site but is available for download, simple search and choose the best site for you.

For MAC, Atlantis is the best known client, the developer is still activity in the community much like that of Potato Mush Client, though they've been unable to keep up with the frequency of MAC system updates.

There are several choices for smart devices in both the Apple Store and Google Play for other devices. These would require experimenting with to see which is most suitable. They are all designed with MUDs in mind, a different code from MUSH and a different style of play experience.

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