Gateway: noun. A mail-order computer company. they are based in South Dakota and are known for their cow logo. Recently they have entered the direct sales market, opening many Gateway Country stores across the nation.

A classic science fiction novel (1977) by Fredrik Pohl, IMHO his best: An asteroid is found orbiting the sun perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic; it was inhabited a long time ago by a mysterious race of aliens who get named the Heechee for lack of any better ideas. The Heechee lived in burrows and left behind hundreds of clever faster than light spaceships. The humans never quite learn how to operate these things properly, but if you sit down in one, twirl the knobs, and press the "go" button, you'll end up . . . somewhere. It may be somewhere interesting, or it may be the interior of a star or the event horizon of a black hole. The novel concerns the trials and tribulations of the volunteers who zoom off in these things to see what they can see. Some of them survive the experience. They're gamblers living in a state of absolute fear.

It's a great premise, but the volunteer thing is a bit contrived. They're just random volunteers: Any arbitrary loser who can afford a ticket to this asteroid is allowed to fly away in (and frequently destroy) a genuine alien artifact which predates the existence of the human race. How plausible is that? Not very, but if you can manage some industrial strength disbelief-suspension, the rest of the book is one hell of a ride.

Pohl followed up Gateway with a number of sequels, which conformed to Wharfinger's Law of Diminishing SF Sequels:
Nebula Award winning Science-fiction novel by Frederik Pohl. * * * * *

Robinette Broadhead is eating himself alive with guilt, or some semblance thereof, over the way he attained his great wealth and power.

Watch as he pulls himself up by his bootstraps by winning the lottery and purchasing himself a position as Heechee fodder on the alien space station dubbed "Gateway" by the corporation that controls it.

Watch as Robinette spills his guts to a cybernetic Sigmund Freud over what happens next. Read the book to find out.

Gateway or Gateway 2000 is an American Computer Supplier, specialising in build-it-yourself hi-spec systems.
It was started in a barn in Dakota and therefore uses cow and farm related design and logos in everything it does.
It's US base of operation is in North Sioux City and it's EMEA base is in Dublin, Ireland.
The EMEA handles Europe, Middle East and Africa in terms of technical support, Customer Service, Sales, Marketing etc.
Gateway are Dell's main competitor in Europe.
Gateway's hardware is notoriously prone to defect but their happy technicians will replace it on a whim.

Technically, a gateway is a computer which connects two or more networks and which operates at layer 7 of the OSI model (the application layer). Gateways can therefore be used to connect very dissimilar network architectures.

In practice, however, the terms "gateway" and "router" seem to be used interchangeably to refer to any computer which connects two or more networks.

"Beyond this shimmering doorway are said to lie many realms of adventure and danger. If you feel you have what it takes to withstand the many challenges ahead simply take a deep breath and step through the GateWay...."

The Game

GateWay gets its name from the fact that it is a collection of otherwise unrelated realms or domains. To get from one to the other, you often have to step through a gateway, blind to the other side, and hope for the best...

GateWay is framed in the typical first-person MUD environment in which you create a character or persona through which you play the game and interact with other players on-line. It is, in fact, a role-playing game. It is a basic sword and sorcery game, a la Dungeons and Dragons. There are multiple races to choose from and multiple classes (called Guilds) that can be chosen to gain special powers beyond those of the chosen race.

The races of GateWay fall into the basic categories as seen in most S&S game types. They range from the big, strong, and stupid to the tiny, fast, and smart.

The Races:

In many S&S games, in addition to a race, one chooses a class when the character is created. This is a fixed job description that determines the special abilities the character has. For example, the Warrior is the strong, sword-wielding type who bashes in heads.

GateWay opted for a different method: Guilds. The Guilds offer a flexible (and changeable) skill set. One begins the game without a Guild (actually, part of the default "Adventurer" guild). One can join or leave guilds at any time, though leaving a Guild after a long period of time usually entails some penalty (e.g. loss of experience).

The Guild combines a sense of morality (from Good to Evil) as well as a type of combat (spell casting or fighting), and combinations of both.

The Guilds:

  • The Clerics of Cianna - Good Healers
  • DevilWorshippers - Evil Spellcasters
  • Druids - Neutral Spellcasters
  • Lost Knights of Callis - Good Fighters
  • The Brotherhood of Monks - Fighters
  • Rangers - Good Spellcasters / Fighters
  • Society of Serpent Warriors - Evil Fighters
  • The ShortBred Clan - Good Tricksters / Fighters
  • Vikings - Fighters
The Alchemist Guild also existed at one time, but was deemed unfairly powerful and banished. A new incarnation is currently under development and may reappear.

As previously mentioned, there are several "areas" or "domains" in the game that provide different types of background stories and environments in which to play. Each domain has its own personality and its own challenges.

The Domains:

Underground: It seems as if this domain was originally conceived as a sort of huge underground cave; however, it has since expanded to become a large area of caves and forested wilderness. This is the default domain that where new characters arrive after learning the basics of getting around in the game. It is more or less chaotic and undeveloped country with many wild animals and giants.

Haven: This is a large medieval kingdom that has recently begun to expand its borders. New evils have been found (orcs) and new dangers encountered. One of the oldest and most detailed of the domains, it offers a rich set of challenges to the noble adventurer.

Callis: Once a strong foothold of the Knights of Callis, it has since fallen into destruction and chaos. A huge volcano destroyed the old stronghold of the town of Callis and, these many years later, a new town has begun to grow up in its place. Evil holds sway in this place as the Knights have fallen into smaller and smaller numbers. Many difficult challenges are ready for the strong adventurer.

Crystal: A beautiful and strange land of magic and monsters, this land cries out for its former King to return and bring order and peace once again.

Shadow: An unnatural plexus of worlds, Shadow seems to be a bit of ancient Greece while leading many adventurers astray in their search for magical creatures and treasure.

Orient: Modeled after the ancient kingdoms of Japan, this seemingly serene land throbs with hidden danger. Ninjas move freely across the kingdom without interference as the Emperor can no longer muster the forces needed to control them. Strange mythical creatures roam about terrorizing the peasants.

GateWay is a massively addictive, time wasting hole (not unlike Everything). The people and challenges are fun to be with and provide hours of mindless entertainment.

A Brief History

GateWay is one of the oldest MUDs on the Internet, first seen publicly in January 1989 as the LPMUD "Underground". Based in Toronto, Ontario (that's in Canada), it lasted more than a year, practically a record for a MUD in that era. It lost its server, however, and disappeared.

A second MUD, "Haven", was under development around the time "Underground" disappeared from the 'Net. The leaders of the two MUDs happened to go to the same University and were, in fact, friends. They decided to combine their two games into one. By late 1990, the new "GateWay" project was opened to the public.

Over the next year, new "domains" were added to those of Underground and Haven: Callis, Crystal, and Shadow. The most recent domain, Orient, also began development at this time, but would not show itself for many years to come.

Over the next several years, the MUD continued its forward development, gaining and losing players, leaders, and architects. It meandered its way across the Internet as it lost one home after another. Its latest home at gatewaymud.org port 6969 has been stable for some time, and the MUD has continued to grow.

Gate"way` (?), n.

A passage through a fence or wall; a gate; also, a frame, arch, etc., in which a gate in hung, or a structure at an entrance or gate designed for ornament or defense.

 

© Webster 1913.

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