TMC Reviews: The X-Files MUCK

(Review Date: August 19, 2002)
TMC Reviewer: Nick Lacasse
Mud Theme

This MUD is based on the wildly popular "X-Files" from 20th Century Fox. There are normal characters (the majority of the players), paranormal characters, and feature characters that are played on the game. Besides the obvious characters (Skully, Doggett, Mulder, etc.) this game's theme focuses also on what it calls the "mythology" of the X-files, which tosses in a broader spectrum of characters and races. Everything in the game doesn't necessarily focus around Skully and Doggett's weekly adventures, however, some of the tiny-plots rely heavily on the episodes and drastic changes that would affect the entire x-files world should be RPed (from website/help files).

Just what is it that is going on in the background? As two fiendish alien races develop and enact plans to gradually take over the planet Earth, the US government must try to cover it up and at the same time, investigate it- along with various other Nefarious Schemes (genetically enhanced cyborgs, biochemical plague, etc. etc. etc.) This leads to your standard Men in Black effect, with a common sentiment being "What the heck was that?"

Mud Atmosphere

Hmm.. where to begin. First off, I suppose I should mention that the entire time I was on X-Files, I only saw one wizard at a time, who in most cases was at least 10 or 12 hours idle. Whenever I tried to page a wizard I was met with some rather insulting away-messages. However, to counterbalance the wizards' absense, there were always one or two players on, and while there was no public OOC channel that I could find these players were almost always helpful in answering my questions and tried to make sure that I was doing alright.

The news files tell me that the MUCK is fairly RP-intensive, though I never actually saw any roleplay. Initially I was not allowed to start any due to the MUCK's closed-chargen system, however, after being approved and spending many hours I was still unable to get an RP session going. While there was always at least one other person connected, they were generally ultra-idle and very rarely returned my pages, let alone consenting to RP with me. As such my experience with X-Files was limited mainly to walking around and looking at the pretty signs.

The "help" command returned a fairly generic table of MUCK help functions, which would be useful to the new MUCKer. 'News' gave me a fairly extensive bit of information about a few things, and I noticed that their "roleplay guidelines" section would be -very- good for newbies for any roleplay MU*. However, some of the news files are either missing or haven't been written yet, which I found annoying considering the MUCK has been around since 1998.

Mud World

X-Files takes place in metropolitan Washington D.C, and the rooms are laid out in this fashion. There is an incredibly large number of rooms for just one city, and a taxi system grants easy access to different areas of the city. This grants the player a variety of choices in finding a good spot to set up an RP event (there are clothing stores, pubs, restaurants, gun shops, dark alleys) just about anywhere that a normal human (or an aspiring invader) would find useful in ordinary life. The room descriptions are very detailed, yet small enough to be read quickly. In fact, I only found a couple of things not to my liking with the room system which stem from my unfamiliarity with TinyMUCK based muds. Coming from a PennMUSH background I found the room formats confusing with the contents appearing after the available exits, it slowed things down a bit for me but someone more familiar with TinyMUCK shouldn't have this problem. Another thing I did not like was the overuse of ansi color in the rooms, with everything but the description and exits being bright yellow or green. One thing to note is that you must now explicitly toggle ansi colors on before seeing them.

Summary

A seemingly well-put together game, if lacking in some areas. The playerbase is quite helpful, though, as I noted the admins didn't seem to be available or very helpful. I'm personally not a fan of the show and I haven't watched that much of it so I can't provide a fan's viewpoint of this game, however, I can say that this game didn't do much toward helping me understand the themes in the series and didn't make me any more interested in the series itself, as I was beforehand. For a non-fan, I'd say this might not be the game for you as much of it relies on the series and to keep up with the plots in the game you should watch the weekly episodes. Someone who is a fan of the show and is willing to put some time into the game could very well find this MUSH an exciting and stimulating roleplay-intensive environment. When it comes to a full and detailed environment this game delivers. Assuming you have more luck getting involved in a RP session than I did there are any number of unique places to roleplay, each with a different mood and style. The descriptions are all beautiful, simple and detailed, and short enough so as to be read on the fly. The help and news files, though incomplete, are very useful and easy to access. Overall; a strange theme set in a well-designed world, not very easy for non-fans, with a medium-sized, helpful playerbase and enough idle admins to dam the Mississippi.