M.U.L.E is one of the early adventure games that allow users to interact with other players. M.U.L.E. is an acronym for the assistive machinery that is used by the miners and farmers on this new planet. The foundation of the game is that the player has landed on a mostly uninhabited planet wherein are found land for mining, farming, and a variety of other activities. As the game begins, each user selects his/her plots of land and then develops that land. By buying adjoining parcels, the player can strengthen his holdings.
The land is selected by clicking on the parcel as the computer clicks through the available holdings. A click that is slightly too late can result in the ownership of an extremely undesirable piece of land, so timing is very important.
The best part of the game is the learning curve that develops as the player begins to understand the trading of commodities (like minerals or food) with other players (or the computer player). It is an excellent teaching tool for economics classes in much the same way that Oregon Trail was used in history classes. The player quickly learns the importance of owning a variety of properties with emphasis in one area. Too much emphasis on mining (for instance) will cause the
player to run out of food, but the most money is to be made by mining.
The graphics are pretty basic and simple, but considering that the game was released in the early 80’s for the Commodore 64, they were advanced for their time. It originally ran from a 5 ľ floppy disk and game saving was an adventure in itself. As I recall, one could only save the progress of one game to the floppy.
The game is different every time it is played, depending on what land is chosen (either on purpose or accidentally) by the player. Sometimes a tiny difference in land choice or the initial setup of the land available can make a huge difference in the outcome of the game. There is some action that requires quick moves, but mostly it is thinking and planning game. The game was playable by up to 4 people, though I usually played against the computer.
It is one of my 3 favorite Commodore 64 games from the 80’s. It shines as a creative, interesting game that kept my attention for an extended period of time.