There is an interesting interview up with Richard Bartle, one of the folks behind MUD, a virtual world programmed way back in 1978. Running on code carved onto great sheets of stone and running on some steam-powered contraption, no doubt. MUD has had quite the influence on modern MMORPGs. There is an interview with Mr. Bartle here that details some of his views on how far the genre has come in the last 29 years and how much they’ve stayed the same.
“However, when all is said and done, reality is far more detailed than virtuality can ever be. There are some forms of social interaction you can’t get any other way. Reality always wins in the end. A kiss in a virtual world or a kiss over the phone is never going to be the same as a kiss in real life.”
The interview is certainly worth a read even if you’re only marginally interested in virtual worlds.