Thursday, December 10, 2009

MULE – online and free!

The best multiplayer game ever is now available for play online, for free!

I’m sure someone’s going to complain about the statement that MULE is the best multiplayer game ever, but I’m just going to come out and say it: if you disagree with this statement, you’ve not played MULE in 4 player mode. I mean, we could argue this is a biased opinion masquerading as fact, or we could all just accept the truth and agree that MULE is amazing.

Oh yeah, this dude knows what I’m talking about.

We could argue about the Street Fighter series, Counterstrike and Starcraft games, Star Control 2 and Gears of War or Uncharted 2 all day if we wanted. Name any multiplayer you can think of, in any genre on any system. The fact of the matter is, MULE was released in 1983 and even today, assuming you can get it set-up, is fun on an unprecedented scale. I defy anyone to play it and not enjoy it. If anything it’s more related to board games like Monoply in terms of player interaction, especially outside of the actual game.

Anyway, previously you needed an old Atari computer system, a Commodore 64 or an NES with multitap and four controllers to fully appreciate it. So not the easiest thing to set-up. The next best thing is a Dreamcast with four controllers and the latest NES emulator.

Now though it’s been made available for PCs, with the blessing of the original author’s family, thanks to PLANET MULE. The author, Dani Bunten, sadly passed away some years ago.

Planet M.U.L.E. is an economic strategy game for up to four players connected over the internet or your local network. It is based on one of the earliest multiplayer games of all time: Dani Bunten's M.U.L.E. by Ozark Softscape. With the blessings of the Bunten Family, we are proud to present you the first official internet version since the game was released 26 years ago – and it’s free for anyone to play!

The basic set-up is that you and three others are trying to colonize a planet, and each of you farms energy, food, ore and crystals. A little of each is needed for individual success, and between rounds players buy and sell with each other to maintain balance. So it’s like eBay meets Monoply, and the fun comes from making and breaking deals, offering promises and stabbing your fellow colonists in the back. I like to release MULEs in order to drive ore prices up (MWAHAHA!). Ultimately you’re out to be the best colonist, but if the colony fails then you all lose, so everyone is out for themselves while at the same time trying to maintain the colony.


There’s no combat, so if that’s the only way you can get your multiplayer thrills then obviously my opening statement is a lie. This is an awful multiplayer game. But if you take the time to understand its rules, you’ll hopefully agree with me.

For further reading on the game’s original development, there’s a good feature in The Gamer’s Quarter, by me.

Otherwise go now and try MULE! (then send us complaints saying that Call of Duty is the better multiplayer game)

Thanks to Cycle on Selectbutton for pointing this out to me.

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