Richard Bartle

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Richard Bartle
Richard Bartle, 2011
Born (1960-01-10) 10 January 1960 (age 58)
Ripon, England
Residence near Colchester, Essex, England
Nationality British
Occupation writer, professor, game researcher
Known for MUD1
Designing Virtual Worlds
Spouse(s) Gail Bartle
Children Jennifer Bartle, Madeleine Bartle

Richard Allan Bartle FBCS FRSA (born 10 January 1960) is a British writer, professor and game researcher. He is best known for being the co-creator of MUD1 (an early MUD) and the author of the seminal Designing Virtual Worlds. He is one of the pioneers of the massively multiplayer online game industry.[1]

Life and career

Bartle received a PhD in artificial intelligence from the University of Essex, where he created MUD1 with Roy Trubshaw in 1978.[2]

He lectured at Essex until 1987, when he left to work full-time on MUD (known as MUD2 in its present version). Recently he has returned to the university as a part-time professor and principal teaching fellow in the Department of Computing and Electronic Systems, supervising courses on computer game design as part of the department's degree course on computer game development.[3]

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

In 2003, he wrote Designing Virtual Worlds, a book about the history, ethics, structure, and technology of massively multiplayer games.

Bartle is also a contributing editor to Terra Nova, a collaborative blog that deals with virtual world issues.

Bartle did research on player personality types in virtual worlds. In Bartle's analysis, players of virtual worlds can be divided into four types: achievers, explorers, socializers and killers.[4] This idea has been adapted into an online test generally referred to as the Bartle Test,[5] which is quite popular, with scores often exchanged on massively multiplayer online games forums and networking sites.[6]

Circa 2003, Bartle was reported as living in a village near Colchester, England, with his wife Gail and their two children Jennifer and Madeleine.[7]

Richard Bartle has compared game players' distaste for permanent death to general distaste for pedophilia.[8]

Bartle is an atheist and patron of Humanists UK.[9][10]





  • Artificial Intelligence and Computer Games, Paperback, 256 pages, Century Communications, 25 July 1985, ISBN 978-0-7126-0661-5
  • Designing Virtual Worlds, Paperback, 768 pages, New Riders Pub., 25 July 2003 ISBN 978-0-13-101816-7
  • INsightflames, 1999, Online publication. Also 2 Paperbacks, NotByUs, "IN Sight", 422 pages, July 2007, ISBN 978-0-9556494-0-0 & "IN Flames", 416 pages, August 2007, ISBN 978-0-9556494-1-7
  • Lizzie Lott's Sovereign, NotByUs, June 2011, ASIN B0058CX7M8
  • MMOs from the Outside In: The Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games of Psychology, Law, Government, and Real Life, Apress, December 2015, ASIN B01FGP30K0
  • MMOs from the Inside Out: The History, Design, Fun, and Art of Massively-multiplayer Online Role-playing Games, Apress, December 2015, ASIN B01FGP30K0


  1. ^ Radoff, Jon (April 2011). Game On: Energize Your Business with Social Media Games. p. 36. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-93626-9
  2. ^ Bartle, R: "Interactive Multi-User Computer Games" Archived 2 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine., section 1.5; Retrieved on 2009-01-05.
  3. ^ "University of Essex Module Details – EE224-5-FY: Computer Games Architecture and Design". Archived from the original on 4 February 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  4. ^ Bartle, R. "Players Who Suit MUDs". Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  5. ^ "Random Dialogue: You Shuffle, I'll Deal(archived)". 26 April 2004. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  6. ^ "Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology". Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  7. ^ Mulligan, Jessica; Patrovsky, Bridgette (2003). Developing Online Games: An Insider's Guide. New Riders. pp. xix. ISBN 1-59273-000-0. 
  8. ^ "Dr. Bartle finally interrupted the conversation by trying to bring the conversation back to a player's perspective: 'Do you want permadeath or pedophilia? Both seem equally attractive to most players.'" Woleslagle, Jeff. "Slaughtering Sacred Cows". Retrieved 2007-05-26.  (Quote is on second page)
  9. ^ "Dr. Richard Bartle". Humanists UK. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "Richard Bartle > Quotes". goodreads. Retrieved 2 July 2017. Since I'm an atheist, and have no belief whatsoever in life after death, I couldn't care less -- it's not like it'll have any impact on me, since by definition I will be completely extinguished. I guess if someone twisted my arm and forced me to provide an epitaph, it would be 'Don't forget.' Sound advice... 
  11. ^ "The First Annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards". 
  12. ^ "Waving Hands from Duel Purpose". Retrieved 25 September 2016. 
  13. ^ "Spellbinder". 

External links

  • Richard Bartle's website
  • Richard Bartle's blog
  • MUD history page
  • Terra Nova collaborative blog
  • Sci-Tech Today, 4 January 2006, "Inside the Underground Economy of Computer Gaming" (see page 4)
  • GameSpy interview, 27 October 2003
  •, Videotaped Discussion of Hero's Journey with Lee Sheldon
  • INsightflames HTML and PDF versions of the book, and link to the 2-volume print version at Cafe Press
  • Interview with Dr. Richard Bartle at GDC Online 2010
  • Richard A. Bartle papers housed at Stanford University Libraries
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