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An extract of MAD's connection log from 1986, showing the frequency of connections, and their worldwide origin.

MAD ("Multi Access Dungeon") was a global MUD, similar to MUD1,[1] which ran on "FREMP11", the BITNET node operated by the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris. The MUD was developed by Bruno Chabrier and Vincent Lextrait, two students at the school, and began operating in 1984.


MAD was text-based and entirely written in REXX, a scripting language running on a IBM 4341 using the VM/370 mainframe operating system at the École des Mines de Paris. It made use of a listening utility called "wakeup" developed by one of BITNET aficionados. It initially consisted of one (and later, several) multi-storey labyrinths populated by mobiles and communicating robots (NPCs - Non-player characters). These bots irreverently wore ENSMP professor names (which was highly appreciated by the players including, surprisingly, the foreign ones - see below). Bots would typically shout a Vogon-like "I am a foul monster!". MAD also permitted player avatars to chat with each other.


News about the MUD spread, until a significant portion of BITNET nodes in the world were playing on the central MAD server.[2][self-published source]

After slightly less than two years, BITNET administrators, concerned about the impact of the widespread adoption of the game, asked the École des Mines to stop it. MAD was then installed on several other nodes in the world, until it was completely banned, as a consequence of its success, which had resulted in the complete saturation of BITNET on several occasions.[1]


  1. ^ a b "The History of Online Gaming". Video Game Infographics. Retrieved 2014-11-09. Similar to MUD, only running on the BITNET network. MAD, the first ever global MMORPG become [sic] so popular, it saturated the network causing it to be banned on all of BITNET after just two years. 
  2. ^ Vincent Lextrait. "Multi Access Dungeon - 1984-1986: The first global Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game". Archived from the original on 2009-12-17. Retrieved 2014-11-09.  [self-published source]

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