Legends of Future Past

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Legends of Future Past
Developer(s)NovaLink (f/k/a Inner Circle Software)
Designer(s)Jon Radoff
Angela Bull
ReleaseNA 1992

Legends of Future Past was the first commercial text-based MUD to make the transition from a proprietary network provider (CompuServe, in this case) to the Internet.[1] It was designed by Jon Radoff and Angela Bull.[2][3] It was also notable in that it had paid Game Masters who conducted online events. The game was originally offered for $6.00 per hour in 1992 via CompuServe, and then lesser amounts via the Internet, operating until December 31, 1999.[4][5][6][7]

Legends introduced one of the first (if not the first) crafting system in an online game. Players could harvest resources including ores, herbs and skins, and then use them to make weapons, armor and enchanted items. The game system was skill-based; players were not constrained to premade class archetypes. There were no level caps, and some very dedicated players attained levels in the hundreds.

Legends of Future Past was set in the "Shattered Realms," a world featuring a blend of fantasy and ancient technology. Most of the action in the game revolved around the city of Fayd, which served as the hub of activity for adventures, intrigue and roleplaying events. Some of the races included: aelfen (an elflike species), drakin (a race of dragon-men that ultimately resulted in player-created languages and cultural institutions), ephemerals (a wraithlike species that could not be harmed unless the player chose to manifest themself), highlander (think dwarves), humans (the only people who could utilize ancient technology), murg (a proud warrior race), mechanoids (artificial beings) and wolflings (a race of shapechangers).

Computer Game Review awarded Legends of Future Past the Golden Triad Award. It also won the award for artistic excellence in Computer Gaming World's 1993 Online Game of the Year competition, stating that "we were also overwhelmed by the creative power of storytelling and fertile liveliness."[8]

Legends is credited with spawning a number of other online games[9] and introducing some of the top talent in the MMORPG industry. Many GameMasters and developers at Legends of Future Past went on to become founders or product managers at top online games including SOE's Star Wars Galaxies, Worlds Apart Productions and Dejobaan Games. Jon Radoff, the developer of the game, created a gaming social network called GamerDNA and has started a social gaming company Disruptor Beam which holds the license to Game of Thrones.[10]


Computer Gaming World in 1993 stated that Legends of Future Past was "a rich, dynamic and lovingly supervised world of the imagination ... Like most of these games, this one is extremely addicting — perhaps even more so".[11] That year the magazine gave the game a Special Award for Artistic Excellence, and nominated it for On-Line Game of the Year.[12]


  1. ^ Michael Tresca (2010), The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, p. 115 (ISBN 978-0786458950)
  2. ^ Kirsner, Scott (2010). "Social Gaming Luring, Lucrative". www.boston.com.
  3. ^ Jon Radoff (2011), Game On: Energize Your Business with Social Media Games, p. 74 (ISBN 978-0470936269)
  4. ^ Lombardi, Chris (1992). "Legends in their Own Minds, Computer Gaming World, p. 58-59" (PDf).
  5. ^ Simmer, Aaron (2010). "Time Capsule: Legends of Future Past". /www.armchairempire.com.
  6. ^ Jessica Mulligan and B. Petrovsky (2003), Developing Online Games. An Insiders Guide, p. 462 (ISBN 978-1592730001)
  7. ^ "Computer Gaming World (1993), issue 106, Hot Lead and Phone Lines: A Survey of On-Line Games, p. 87" (PDF).
  8. ^ Computer Gaming World (1993), Issue 111, "Game of the Year Awards," p. 72
  9. ^ Timeline of Online Games
  10. ^ Online Company SparkForge Formed, Coins 'MSOGs', GamaSutra, September 22, 2006
  11. ^ "A Survey of On-Line Games". Computer Gaming World. May 1993. p. 84. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Computer Gaming World's Game of the Year Awards". Computer Gaming World. October 1993. pp. 70–74. Retrieved 25 March 2016.

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