I was fondly reminiscing of Compunet last night whilst trying to get to sleep, thinking of duck shoot menus, M.U.D., large phone bills, the chunky old Commodore 64 and other such delights.
Back in the 80’s with films like War Games and TV shows such as Whiz Kids (am I the only one that remembers it?) there was a real buzz of excitement about being able to connect to the outside world.
My first experience of this was with a Teletype machine, an ASR-33 which sat with all its bulk in the office of our then maths and computer teacher. With my friend Mark in control we would connect to the local college with a 300 baud acoustic coupler, you actually manually dialed the phone number with a traditional phone and then placed the handset in the foam coupler.
Amazingly my friend and I were then able to play a game on this machine, which considering its only output was the printed page was quite an experience.
The game as I remember was called Shark Attack.
Compunet was just the most extraordinarily exciting experience for a nerdy 14 year old. Most of my Compunet hours were spent playing M.U.D. (Multi-user Dungeon) a text base adventure game where the goal was to progress through the ranks to reach immortality and Wizard status.
After many hours (at £1.75/hour, ouch) I achieved this goal and as Feanor the Wizard ran what might now be described as a M.U.D. blog called Feanor’s Mud Gossip within Compunet.
There was a strong social aspect to M.U.D. and many hours as a wizard were spent chatting whilst occasionally helping (annoying) new players. I’m trying to remember some names of other players, Zugger and Aiken the Wizards, JohnK and Roy the Arch Wizards and of course many more that I’ve forgotten.
The M.U.D. that I enjoyed can still be played here under the name British Legends which I believe was its title on Compuserve.
There is a list of other M.U.D. games here.