(“Why do I invest so much time in this website”)
Building on the Dani Bunten quote from the “Visionary” chapter… Sadly, for me personally, “M.U.L.E.” and “deathbed” belong together. On New Year’s Eve 1991, I lost my father to cancer, at the age of 14, a catastrophic loss of course for a teenage boy. My whole family and friends were overwhelmingly sympathetic and caring.
But, being a teenage boy, I also coped with the loss in a different way. I already was a computer and video game geek, having gotten my first computer (a Commodore 16) for my 11th birthday; later on I could afford a Commodore 64. I spent countless hours of my youth playing games and programming games on the C64. ( Probably this is why I “ended up” in the IT industry nowadays. )
I already played M.U.L.E. before my father’s death. But only after my father’s death I started playing the game not alone against the AI, but with my brother (then aged 10). This helped us tremendously in bonding, and by this coping with the loss of our father. In the years after, our playing of M.U.L.E. extended from “me and my brother” to “me, my brother, and very good friends”. In the mid-1990’ies we played almost-weekly four-player tournaments and thought of ourselves as M.U.L.E. pros. We took countless statistics to try to unravel the game mechanics and become better and better in our games. And, we enjoyed it. Very much. There is no better way to bond than with colluding to win a M.U.L.E. tournament. Those friendships hold into the present (and the occasional nostalgic tournaments, though not regular anymore).
Even though, of course, I didn’t know about it back then, Dani’s vision had come true in the way I experienced M.U.L.E. in this time. Bonding with my brother. Finding life-long friendships. Helping me to cope with catastrophic loss. This all by playing countless (hundreds surely) tournaments in this time. Instead of spending time alone in front of the computer. (Well, I did that too, in addition to the tournaments… But hey, I’m a geek after all!)
Then, a half-decade later, the internet came.
Being a geek, in August 1997, I started my own website “World of M.U.L.E.”. I started writing about M.U.L.E., collecting all the stuff I could find about it; not only about M.U.L.E., but also about it’s wider impact on the gaming industry.
A few months after the WoM website went live, I got emails from Danielle Bunten Berry and Jim Rushing, who had stumbled upon it – and thanked me for it! You can imagine how happy I was receiving these emails as a youngling!
My personal story of playing M.U.L.E. to help me cope with a catastrophic loss through bonding with my brother and friends, and the encouraging feedback from the M.U.L.E. creators to my “World of M.U.L.E.” website, drive my motivation to keep up and extend this website, no matter what.
Even today, many many years after.