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".

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When one of the two programmers left Compu Net, the remaining programmer, Alan Lenton, decided to rewrite the game from scratch and named it Federation II (at the time no Federation I existed). Federation II was later picked up by AOL, where it became known simply as "Federation: Adult Space Fantasy".

Federation later left AOL to run on its own after AOL began offering unlimited service.

The history of modern massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like Ever Quest and Ultima Online, and related virtual world genres such as the social virtual worlds exemplified by Second Life, can be traced directly back to the MUD genre.

Colossal Cave Adventure, created in 1975 by Will Crowther on a DEC PDP-10 computer, was the first widely used adventure game.

The game revolved around gaining points till one achieved the Wizard rank, giving the character immortality and special powers over mortals.

MUD, better known as Essex MUD and MUD1 in later years, ran on the Essex University network, and became more widely accessible when a guest account was set up that allowed users on JANET (a British academic X.25 computer network) to connect on weekends and between the hours of 2 AM and 8 AM on weekdays.

Starting out as a hobby, SHADES became accessible in the UK as a commercial MUD via British Telecom's Prestel and Micronet networks.

At the same time, Compunet started a project named Multi-User Galaxy Game as a Science Fiction alternative to MUD1, a copy of which they were running on their system at the time.

Many MUDs were fashioned around the dice-rolling rules of the Dungeons & Dragons series of games.