Have you ever played a text adventure game? Would you play it?

I would focus on the specific audience: gamers. Maybe they prefer images to text.

Generally, reading text does require more energy and people prefer to do other things:

Daily average time spent reading in US in weekends and holidays: 0.35 hours
Daily average time spent watching TV in US in weekends and holidays: 3.29 hours


Confession: This is my first graphical adventure game, at the age of 42. I’ve played a lot of text adventures, and sometimes still do. I actually found out about Thimbleweed Park from a podcast dedicated to Infocom games (Eaten by a Grue).

Though I don’t have time to follow it closely, I think the state of the art in modern IF is amazing, and shows no real sign of dying off.


This is very interesting. Which IF characteristics make this genre your favourite kind of adventure games? How does it compare to a graphical adventure game, from your point of view?

(this is the first time that I have to specify “graphical” when referring to an adventure game :slight_smile: )

The problem is you don’t always know that you’ll need to come back to something, and I wouldn’t enjoy it I had to draw absolutely everything just in case. It’s a bit easier to recall visual things, and easier to go back than trawling through text. But I guess they’re designed a bit differently for that reason.

Definitely not. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Of course! Like @Nor_Treblig I haven’t played a text adventure since a while, but I definitely like them.

They are different to a graphic adventure because the story and the pictures emerge in your head. I liked the Infocom adventures a lot (well, most of them :)). They had unique and interesting stories and some of them were very funny.

And I was a fan of the Magnetic Scrolls adventures, especially The Guild of Thieves and Jinxter. They had humor and (for the time) beautiful pictures.

It seems that a lot of new “interactive fiction” (as the people very involved with the genre tend to prefer to “text adventure”) is being made this way, and provided in online form instead of being downloadable. For example, the most recent winning entry to the annual Interactive Fiction Competition (IFComp 2016) is Detectiveland, which is a browser based “clickable” text adventure, which has no need for typing on the keyboard. Clicking on the game link I provided starts the game immediately in your browser.

I actually prefer the more old school approach with lots of keyboard typing. I guess I feel more freedom that way, and I enjoy puzzling out what the next things I should look at and explore are, without clickable links to guide me.


Looks like a very cool podcast. I’m going to start listening to the available episodes!

I don’t believe it ! A text adventure I can play at the beach on my phone. Thank you so much!

By the way, text adventures in my humble opinion compete with books not with games. So they should be usable in the same circumstances of a book, ie at the beach … Where you cannot type. It’s not a matter of not liking to type but not being able to…

1 Like

Yes, I played text adventures (or interactive fiction) and still do from time to time with the Frotz interpreter on my smart phone. :delores::iphone:
While I played some of the classics back in the days, nowadays I mostly play newer non-commercial games.
Since German is my native language I mainly play German games and also wrote three small pieces. (Here are two of my games, if you’re curious. :wink: )

From the english games I played the following one was quite funny as far as I remember:

Things I love in IF games:

  • a parser recognizing many synonyms (and especially those mentioned in the descriptive text)
  • having an answer on as many as possible more or less useful user entries
  • having not too many superflous items or rooms (some red herrings are ok :fish:)
  • an explanation when refusing to do something that can lead you in the right direction to solve a puzzle
  • no unnecessary deaths of the player :skull:
  • no dead ends

I’m into text adventures too. Thaumistry, Trackless and Code 7 backer, and hopeful future IFComp participant - it’s great to see people pushing ahead with new and old styles of text oriented experiences.

I’m making my own text adventure-ish game/engine that’s parserless, but I really enjoy parser based games too - Quest for Glory 1 is one of my favourite games, and the VGA remake feels like it makes a strong case for how much more interesting/open feeling a game can be when a parser is present.

1 Like


1 Like

I have started a few Interactive Fiction games… I don’t know if I’ll ever look back :slight_smile:

yes, it’a a bit boring to type commands on the phone, but I can survive.

I think I played every single Scott Adams Adventure games on my Vic-20 as a kid. Those were a blast!

1 Like

I played “Voyage to Atlantis” and “Cave Adventure / Stein der Weisen” on a Commodore 8032 as a kid.

I enjoyed them a lot and spent hours drawing maps and thinking about puzzles. Unfortunately I got stuck in both ones and never finished them. The source code of those games was also quite fascinating…
I am tempted to play them again in an emulator to figure out their endings.

Thanks for the pointer!

I’ve played a bit with this. Funny.

The very first puzzle is “listen”, so you understand which direction the pig has gone.

How could you implement this puzzle with a point & click interface, makes my head spin. This is difficult because it is a case where the puzzle is to understand what verb to apply. Point & click can handle cases where the puzzle is to understand on which object to apply a given verb, and at what time; but cannot reasonably handle the case when the puzzle itself is to understand what verb to apply. OTOH, I think there are very few such puzzles.


I think that falls squarely under the “guess the verb” or “read the programmer’s mind” – something that the genre tried to move away from ever since Mr. Gilbert’s “adventure game sins” were recognized as part of the reason they were losing appeal.


Yes, I also thought: if the puzzle is to understand what verb to use, maybe it’s not a good puzzle in the first place. But I am not sure. I’d need more examples, and there seems to be very few of these puzzles.

I understand this. But to me the interesting question is: “why are point&click text adventures not popular among readers of books?”.

I wonder if it’s a historical accident. I mean: in the past, text adventures were not as accessible as books: you could not play them at the beach, for example. Only recently, with smartphones, they became as accessible as books.

Personally I wouldn’t want to play a text adventure at the beach. If I’m at the beach I want to soak up the atmosphere - I like reading books there but that doesn’t distract me as much as interacting with a game would. I’d rather save that for when I’m indoors.

Maybe it’s partly because I live in the UK and being at the beach somewhat of a luxury event - it means I’m either on holiday or that the weather here has taken an unusually warm turn :wink: So it would feel like a disservice to sit and play a game.