This is not an appropriate place to discuss the origins of the Game itself
although it is worth noting that its popularity in the modern era stems mainly
from its promotion on the BBC Radio 4 show I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.
It is fortunate that such fine Crescenters should also possess the comic
talents to make their way in Show Business.
This section is concerned more with the history of MC on the web. There is a
strong element of personal bias in this discourse, since I am only reasonably
sure about those things I have experienced.
When I began playing in September 1996, the two main web sites for playing
Mornington Crescent were York and Delphi,
and these two sites fostered very different styles of play and distinct
communities of players. That's not to say that these two communities did not
intermix, just that there was a certain amount of good natured rivalry between
Then Delphi died.
The reasons for this death were never adequately discerned: rumours circulated
that a Podume of Infinite Darkness had been played and had caused havoc, or
that the Croxley potential had been exceeded one too many times. It was even
suggested that the originator of the site had left and the site had simply
atrophied through neglect, although this seems infeasible.
Suffice it to say that there was a sudden influx of dispossessed Delphi
refugees playing at York. Tensions mounted, there was the occasional
unnecessary flame war, but play continued. Hardly any blood was spilt.
Thus was established the need for two web servers for Mornington Crescent,
through the apparent immiscibility of York and Delphi personalities.
Around this time, a mailing list (MCD-L) was established for the discussion of
how web MC could be perpetuated both in light of the sudden demise of Delphi,
and in anticipation of the ultimate demise of York as a forum for play.
Initiated by the inimitable PaulWay, this list has proved an invaluable arena
for conversations about the ideal structure for an MC server, the
practicalities involved in designing such a system, and simply for coordinating
the efforts of those keen to see web MC thrive in the new millenium. The actual
content of these conversations is a matter for a whole separate page, however.
The first new site to be established was Pants MC - this site was Mr
Wild Pants' brainchild, ably assisted by Binman, and providing a home for the
Delphic style of MC play. Sadly, this site closed in September 2003. The
archives appear to have been largely lost. Fortunately, however, the community
of Pants players has not been - the immiscibility of Delphic and Yorkist
traditions has apparently been reduced over the years, and the Morniverse is
the richer for it.
An MC server more directly attributable to the MCD-L list is Mornington Crescent in
Outer Space, created from fresh Perl by Dan. Much more in the Yorkist
style, this server is continually being upgraded and refined in its mechanics
and its look.
The York server was shut down early in 1999, Rob's time at the fine
York University having drawn to a close. The baton of classic Yorkishness was
taken up with customary enthusiasm by jim, who hosted Mornington
Crescent Not At York Anymore, a reproduction of the York games and
structure in a slightly more London-ish setting, until February 2003. At this point, jim's own studies reached their conclusion. The archives for York and !York are extant, but are still searching for a home.
My own Orange MC server opened its virtual
doors in May 2000, and continues to be an active venue (albeit with a rather
geekier focus than many other sites). A supplementary space
for Lock Cup challenge play, the Lockisseum,
was opened on the same server in May 2003, and White Rose MC (which collects the
archives of the York and Madeira servers) was unveiled in March 2004.
Other sites which burned brightly in their time but which sadly are no
longer with us are Yet Another Mornington Crescent Server (penned by
Huxley) and Beer Powered Mornington Crescent Frenzy (brought into the
world by Rich).
The latest addition to the Morniverse is MC5,
from the prodigious personality that is rab. This highly popular space opened
in early 2003, and draws a loquacious crowd.
For the future, there will undoubtedly be other servers - PaulWay's
distributed Paradigm project will doubtless see fruition at some point.
Mornington Crescent on the web has shown itself to be a robust and durable
medium which will continue as long as there are players who want to play silly