TMC Reviews: Teenagers From Outer Space MUX (TFOS)

(Review Date: January 11, 2000)
TMC Reviewer: Sheryl Galchutt
Mud Theme

When I first saw it, I laughed. That pretty much describes going through this game, in a good way. The theme is one of humor: what if aliens were here, and better yet, attended your high school? What if you -dated- a not-so-nearly-human? Teenagers from Outer Space MUX puts you into the role of a teenager going through the trials and tribulations of just growing up, plus the added fun of dealing with half the galaxy seeming to show up for an education into Earth life. You play a teenager with skills and traits like 'Looks Cool In Shades' and 'Talks to Objects'. Parents, teachers and tests are regular worries, as are hanging out at the mall with friends of various species and battling the not-so-friendly from the heavens.

The action takes place in a seaside town of forty thousand called Pebble Beach, run by a Mayor Doubletalk. Aliens came in about 1995 and through events have become an accepted part of the community. Pebble Beach sports a number of places to hang out, from a Fake ID Shop to a haunted mansion for the braver. However, things must bow to the almighty time sucker: School. Through the various schools from elementary to high school. Besides doubling as MUD Admin, these teachers seek to make life interesting for the passle of students that make up the majority of the game's playerbase. Rumors abound about these slavemasters, most of which may or may not be true!

It's a fun theme, though I wasn't familiar with the RPG game by R. Talsorian Games company of the same name. It's definately light-hearted fun where anything goes.

Mud Atmosphere

I found the game to be a close-knit one, with players seeming to know each other well in a friendly, casual sort of way. It's a very small game, with no more than 10 on that I saw (though the game shows a record connect of 17).

Previous wandering of this game was fun. The mood is just fun, with very little technical stuff in the way, where if you have a basic memory of being a teenager (or are one, as the case may be), you get into it pretty easily. It's very much a story atmosphere, where less attention is paid to rules and the 'right way' of doing things and more concern for just having fun with the theme. Even if you're not familiar with the RPG system itself, the documentation on the MUSH is enough to give you a good idea, and it's easy to run with it from there.

Unfortunately, this time around I was waiting for my character to be approved for some three weeks without any notice on the hold-up, and was unable to try out the RP and events as they are now. @mail with simple questions went unanswered, as did pages to the Administrator I saw on at times. Players are warned that bugging admin about their approvals results in longer times, but even questions unrelated to the approval were met with silence, and after two weeks, I felt it was reasonable to ask if two weeks was normal.

Given the many bulletin boards, postings on events are old, so I couldn't tell what was going on. It seemed like the story and RP was a bit slower than I knew it in the past, but without gaining character approval and going out into it, hard to make a clear call on the MUD's activity level.

Mud World

The built world of the MUD is rather big and well documented on their website. The grid of the town of Pebble Beach has a large number of stores, malls, places to hang out, schools...everything a teenager could want. I remember it being an interesting place, with most of the RP occuring at the school or the mall.

They have an interesting system of items for characters that allows you to have coded objects like a backpack, a CD player, etc, that do things on command. This made it amusing to interact with the code. However, again, without gaining approval to go In Character, it's hard to say how things are now. I felt, after looking at @stats/all to see how many rooms, exits, things and players existed, there is a huge number of rooms for the number of players that exist, but if this affects RP by making things too spread out, I couldn't tell. Player comments seemed to indicate that roleplay was centered in two rooms, one of which being a classroom.

Additional Comments

I think I would have gotten a better idea of the game if I'd heard anything about being approved. Initially, the character generation process is easy and fun, but all characters must be approved to be able to roleplay, even if they have nothing odd requiring special permission. It was this process that left me in one room for 3-4 weeks. Whether this was from apathy or a lack of admin, not sure, but activity does seem to have gone down since I was last there.

Summary

TFOS seems to be a very light-hearted and fun place to be, but aside from about 10-12 regulars it's a small game. I would almost say this is a private MUD to have fun with a favorite theme of the admin, but the help files and docs say otherwise. I imagine the game could attract people who aren't fond of rules and like a little wimsy in their online gaming if the dedication of the admin staff were a little better.