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Inspired by Adventure, a group of students at MIT in the summer of 1977 wrote a game for the PDP-10 minicomputer; called Zork, it became quite popular on the ARPANET.
Zork was ported, under the filename DUNGEN ("dungeon"), to FORTRAN by a programmer working at DEC in 1978.
Many MUDs were fashioned around the dice-rolling rules of the Dungeons & Dragons series of games.
Such fantasy settings for MUDs are common, while many others have science fiction settings or are based on popular books, movies, animations, periods of history, worlds populated by anthropomorphic animals, and so on.
By 1978-79, PLATO MUDs were heavily in use on various PLATO systems, and exhibited a marked increase in sophistication in terms of 3D graphics, storytelling, user involvement, team play, and depth of objects and monsters in the dungeons.
PLATO MUDs are often ignored by historians and by the creators of other MUDs whose work came later.
In 1978 Roy Trubshaw, a student at Essex University in the UK, started working on a multi-user adventure game in the MACRO-10 assembly language for a DEC PDP-10.
Colossal Cave Adventure, created in 1975 by Will Crowther on a DEC PDP-10 computer, was the first widely used adventure game.The game was significantly expanded in 1976 by Don Woods.Also called Adventure, it contained many D&D features and references, including a computer controlled dungeon master.Numerous graphical MUDs were created on the PLATO system at the University of Illinois and other American universities that used PLATO, beginning in 1975.Among them were "pedit5", "oubliette", "moria", "avathar", "krozair", "dungeon", "dnd", "crypt", and "drygulch".