Problems in simulating social reality: Observations on a MUD construction

Holin Lin*, Chuen-Tsai Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


The authors look at computer-mediated simulation as an approach to studying social science issues and discuss its limitations, with the design process for a Multiple-User Dungeon (MUD) game serving as a context. Using data gleaned from interviews with the MUD designers, the authors present three findings: (a) fun is a key difference between simulations and reality, because a MUD user can always walk away from a game that is not fun but cannot walk away from difficult real-life situations; (b) simulated social systems require time and commitment from a fairly large population, which conflicts with the typical level of patience observed in most computer game players; and (c) the roles of technicians and designers as mediators in simulated social environments is an area requiring detailed study, because their attitudes toward technical constraints, social values, and stereotypes exert a strong influence on the appearance of their final products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-88
Number of pages20
JournalSimulation and Gaming
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • computer-mediated simulation
  • cyberspace
  • online game
  • simulated reality

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