The Rebirth of Text Adventures?

Text Adventures

You Are Sitting in a Comfortable Chair, a Glass of Your Beverage of Choice to Your Left, Your Hand Resting on Your Mouse, Finger Poised to Click. On the Screen in Front of You, the Latest BnB Article Awaits, Claiming to Inform You About a Possible Comeback of Text-Based Games.

What Do You Want to Do?


I’ll admit it; I was never very good at the old-school text-based games. It wasn’t that I kept dying; rather, in my trips into the underground tunnels of Zork, I’d soon get lost and became doomed to revisit the same locations over and over, hoping to figure out what I was supposed to do next, getting sucked into an endless vortex of quit.

For many gamers (at least gamers younger than I), these types of games don’t even exist, except in some pre dawn-of-time Twilight Zone universe. But could it be that we’re on the brink of a modern-day comeback for the text-based adventure genre?

Alex Warren, an independent developer, sure seems to think so. According to him, the fact that games have broken away from being the geeky pastimes of tech-nerds and have become integrated into mainstream society signals a readiness to give these games another shot. In a blog post on Gamasutra, Warren states:

Games are increasingly part of everyday life for ordinary people.┬áIt’s not all about the latest graphics, speed, explosions and things to impress teenage boys any more. More people are playing more types of games, on more devices, more often.

However, Warren goes on to state that the new breed of text-based games does not necessarily have to consist of only text; graphics, audio, and video can all feature into the games as well. More importantly for people like me, who got stuck because they didn’t know what to do or where to go, is the idea that these games should run in your browser and incorporate the use of hyperlinks. This, Warren explained, is to keep people from failing because they didn’t formulate just the right command at just the right moment. To this end, Warren has written his own text adventure development system, known as Quest. He has made Quest free and available to anyone who’d like to take a shot at designing their own text-based game. For those budding game designers among our readers, download Quest here; you can thank us by sending us a cut of your royalty checks one day.


One thought on “The Rebirth of Text Adventures?

  1. You’re reading a BnB article that mentions a text-based adventure game engine, which doesn’t seem too dissimilar to the one you built while at the university, what do you do?
    > download the game engine
    You’ve downloaded, installed and started the fancy game engine. What now?
    > try one of the adventures
    You try one of the adventures, moving around, interacting with the objects, rembering just how bad you are at this. What do you do now?
    > try making an adventure
    You start messing with the editor, getting a feel for it and seeing what you can create with your limited knowledge. What now?
    > write comment on BnB article
    You write a snarky referential comment on the aforementioned article, where you make sure to mention that you built your own text-based adventure engine at that you much rather prefer Inform, but you must commend the creator of Quest as you can appreciate the very structured and programmer-friendly the whole engine looked and felt.

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