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Richard Bartle
Born January 10, 1960 (1960-01-10) (age 50)
Ripon, England
Known for MUD1

Richard Allan Bartle (born 10 January 1960 in Ripon, England) is a British writer, professor and game researcher, best known for being the co-author of MUD, the first multi-user dungeon. He is one of the pioneers of the massively multiplayer online game industry.


Life and career

MUD, an early multi-user roleplaying game

Bartle received a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence from the University of Essex, where he created MUD with Roy Trubshaw, in 1978.[1]

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.[2]

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 massively-multiplayer online games. In Bartle's analysis, players of massively multiplayer online games can be divided into four types: achievers, explorers, socializers and killers.[3] This idea has been adapted into a popular online test generally referred to as the Bartle Test.[4] The test is very popular and scores are often exchanged on MMORPG forums and networking sites.[5]



  • Spellbinder, 1977, a pencil and paper game also known as Waving Hands, first described in Bartle's fanzine Sauce of the Nile[6][7]
  • MUD1, 1978, with Roy Trubshaw
  • MUD2, 1980, based on MUD1. This was arguably the first "playable" multi-user dungeon.


  • Artificial Intelligence and Computer Games, Paperback, 256 pages, Century Communications, 25 July 1985, ISBN 978-0712606615
  • Designing Virtual Worlds, Paperback, 768 pages, New Riders Pub., 25 July 2003 ISBN 978-0131018167
  • INsightflames, 1999, Online publication. Also 2 Paperbacks, NotByUs, "IN Sight", 422 pages, July 2007, ISBN 978-0955649400 & "IN Flames", 416 pages, August 2007, ISBN 978-0955649417


  1. ^ Bartle, R: "Interactive Multi-User Computer Games", section 1.5; Retrieved on 2009-01-05.
  2. ^ "University of Essex Module Details - EE224-5-FY: Computer Games Architecture and Design". Retrieved January 31, 2009.  
  3. ^ Bartle, R. "Players Who Suit MUDs". Retrieved 2009-01-05.  
  4. ^ "Random Dialogue: You Shuffle, I'll Deal(archived)". April 26, 2004. Retrieved January 31, 2009.  
  5. ^ "Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology". Retrieved January 31, 2009.  
  6. ^ "Waving Hands from Duel Purpose". Retrieved January 2009.  
  7. ^ "Spellbinder".  

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Richard Allan Bartle (born 10 January 1960) is an English writer and game researcher, best known for being the co-author of MUD, the first multi-user dungeon. He is one of the pioneers of the massively multiplayer online game industry.


  • When it comes to computer games, many academics seem to be one step down from judges in their lack of engagement with the real world.
    • From Richard Bartle's blog, dated 18th May 2007
  • I'd take over World of Warcraft and I'd close it. I just want better virtual worlds. Sacrificing one of the best so its players have to seek out alternatives would be a sure-fire way to ensure that unknown gems got the chance they deserved, and that new games were developed to push back the boundaries. Er, I would get to do this anonymously, wouldn't I?
    • From an interview with Keith Stuart on Guardian Unlimited's Gamesblog
    • The question that prompted this was "If you could take over control of one major MMORPG - which would you choose and what would you do with it?"

External links

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