> Despite all the love lavished on M.U.L.E. by Ozark Softscape and EA and despite deservedly stellar reviews, it was a commercial disappointment. M.U.L.E. sold only about 30,000 copies over its lifetime
Wow, that's sad to hear. But I still have one of those 30,000 here in my study (if the C64 counts in those numbers!)
I still regularly play M.U.L.E. on my 800xl daily driver.
There still exist a ton of us that love our vintage machines and games, us Atari guys hang out on the https://atariage.com/ forums and in fact my local Atari group has our monthly meeting this Saturday and there are plenty of larger meetups like the ones that the Vintage Computer Federation puts on http://vcfed.org/wp/festivals/
Floppy Days podcast has been doing a good job documenting old machines and software by talking to the people involved http://floppydays.libsyn.com/ as well as uploading anything they get to the Internet Archive.
So what is the consensus on Planet M.U.L.E. for those who actually remember the original game? It was my first introduction to M.U.L.E. as a game, and I thought it was a very neat little implementation back when I tried it
A Commodore 64 only had 2 joystick ports, so the C64 version of M.U.L.E. uses the keyboard for players 3 and 4 on screens where all players are active, but accepts input from any joystick on screens where only one player is active -- allowing players to pass the sticks around to take their "turns".
The Atari version of the game supports four joysticks as did the underlying hardware. This is the version you want to play in emulation if you have 4 players. Great fun!
> But as any good game designer, whether she works in cardboard or silicon, will tell you, even the most genius of designs must be relentlessly tested, endlessly tweaked. Ozark Softscape and EA devoted literally months to this task, gradually refining the design.
It was nice in the '80s to buy a game and receive an actual finished game out of the box. Contrast that today where the game is barely working on release day, and underwent insufficient play testing and tuning. We're so reliant on endless patches now, and gamers inexplicably accept the idea of buying unfinished "early access" games. Does any major studio actually devote a length of time measurable in months to play testing anymore?
We're going to see a much larger problem, of actually archiving this autoupdated software.
10 years later, I could reinstall NeverWinter Nights. 20 years later, and I could still install Unreal Tournament. 25, Total Annihilation. 30 years ago; Duke nukem.
But that online game that came out 4 years ago and was abandoned; gone to time. Even if I have the client, the server world is gone. Nada. Any trace of my playing, my friends, our exploits; gone from time. But there's a CNet article about it. That's as close as anyone will ever get.