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Loyalists Preserve Past Through Text-Only Games

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the graphics-are-just-bloat dept.

PC Games (Games) 399

Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "'You are at the edge of a clearing with an impressive view of the mountains. A trail splits off toward some standing stones to the southwest, while the main road emerges from the forest to the east and continues westward down the hill, via a series of switchbacks.' So begins 'A New Life' (downloadable from here), part of a group of game hobbyists going back to text-only basics. They try to keep the genre alive by posting their titles online for free and meeting in chat rooms dedicated to the craft, the Wall Street Journal Online reports. 'Console games are demanding,' says Mike Snyder, a 33-year-old computer programmer in Wichita, Kan. 'With text games, you can sit there at the prompt, go make a sandwich, then come back and play more.'"

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399 comments

d'oh (5, Funny)

rbochan (827946) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034805)

I have been eaten by a grue :(

Re:d'oh (4, Funny)

hungrygrue (872970) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034891)

Does that mean I have to change my name now?

Re:d'oh (3, Funny)

Prospero's Grue (876407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034919)

Does that mean I have to change my name now?

I hope not.

Re:d'oh (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034937)

I have been eaten by a grue :(

> WHAT IS A GRUE?

Re:d'oh (1)

daver969 (576275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035102)

"Wikipedia" it. Or, Google it along with the word "wikipedia".

Re:d'oh (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14034981)

This grue you speak of sounds terrifying - can you provide a screenshot?

Re:d'oh (4, Funny)

rubberbando (784342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034999)

'With text games, you can sit there at the prompt, go make a sandwich, then come back and play more'

It was much worse in my case, I took a bathroom break and came back to find that my SANDWICH was eaten by a grue. :(

man down! (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035049)

medic!

hmmm... (1)

borawjm (747876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034806)

'With text games, you can sit there at the prompt, go make a sandwich, then come back and play more.'"

I used to do this all the time with Everquest....

Zone, goto the restroom/get food/etc, come back and play more.

Re:hmmm... (2, Insightful)

null etc. (524767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034904)

In fact, I dare say that most console games have a pause feature, specifically to allow players to go make sandwiches.

Re:hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14035157)

... which would explain the "weight-challenged" gamers problem.

Re:hmmm... (3, Funny)

cyber0ne (640846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035017)

That's part of the beauty of Everquest. You don't have to play it at all and it's still just as interesting.

Re:hmmm... (1)

the_xaqster (877576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035053)

One cool feature of a Interactive Fiction is that it is very difficult to tell from a casual glance (say, from walking past your screen) that you are playing a game and not just doing some command-line admin on one of your unix servers........

Re:hmmm... (5, Funny)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035087)

'With text games, you can sit there at the prompt, go make a sandwich, then come back

Must have been written in Java then.

Re:hmmm... (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035152)

A closer analogy might be click and point adventure games. I'd suggest that it'd be much better to see an attempt at reviving these rather than text games. The concept is similar, except that all the locations, objects, etc. are rendered in pretty graphics.

I can see how text games can be effective (the imagination based on text descriptions potentially rivalling any artwork) - but for those such as myself who started into computer games after the era of text adventure games - it seems far too difficult to handle compared to click and point.

Come on, new Monkey Island, Zork, etc. please!

And yes, these games are so much less effort than modern fast-paced games - regardless of the pause button availability!

What fun (5, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034809)

You wake up.

> get up

You can't get up, it's dark.

> turn on light

You turn on the lamp.

> get up

You can't get up. You've got a headache from that hangover.

> look in pockets

While you look in pockets, your house is demolished by a bulldozer.

Try Again?[y/n]

#$@@#$! That's the third time in a row! !@#%!#@ text games!

Re:What fun (0)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034837)

When you play a game you don't like, do you always swear off of the entire genre?

Re:What fun (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034893)

It's supposed to be funny. Laugh. :-)

And here I thought everyone was familiar with the HHGttG text game?

There were a few text games I liked, but Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was one of those that was abnormally difficult. For some reason the developers thought it would be funny to constantly kill you through a time limit you had to way of tracking.

Re:What fun (1)

Denyer (717613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034958)

That game is such a bastard without multiple save points (the joys of emulation and just dumping the system to file, eh?) And of course it's perfectly possible to get far into the game without having done something back near the beginning that becomes essential to progress further...

I find I like the idea of text adventures more than the practice. Mostly me being crap and needing hints rather than evil designers, though. A lot of games seem to allow for enough backtracking to not simply write off an entire gaming experience because of the aforementioned "you didn't do something earlier" syndrome found in HHG.

Re:What fun (4, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035054)

I find I like the idea of text adventures more than the practice. Mostly me being crap and needing hints rather than evil designers, though. A lot of games seem to allow for enough backtracking to not simply write off an entire gaming experience because of the aforementioned "you didn't do something earlier" syndrome found in HHG.

This isn't a property of text games per se, but of 1980s adventures in general. It was once LucasArts hit on the idea of eliminating all possible deaths and all the no-win situations that modern adventures really got going: Loom, Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle... That liberated the player to walk up to dangerous pirates and insult them to their faces and know that however embarrassing the consequences, it would never be fatal to the game.

Most of the modern text games I've seen follow this ethos; they make it hard, if not always impossible, to lose - or at least, to lose without knowing it...

Re:What fun (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035004)

It's not the killing that I mind so much, it's the locking you out of victory. When you get to the part of H2G2 where you are Zaphod, if you go through that scene without getting the key from behind the seat, you can't finish the game. If you go to that scene a second time after stealing the HoG, the guards kill you instantly.

Re:What fun (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035073)

I love the HHGttG game. Take the buffered anagelsic.

I played it when I was seven or eight and didn't have too much trouble with it, except for the holding tea and no tea puzzle.

The one really irritating part was feeding the sandwich to the dog, which you didn't know you needed to do until much later in the game.

Re:What fun (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035163)

Well then, knock yourself out [douglasadams.com] . I, however, am not touching that thing with a ten foot (yellow) bulldozer. ;-)

Re:What fun (5, Interesting)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034909)

The games that I really hated involved you having to perform some off-the-wall action to get a result that made no sense what so ever. An example: there was one game (it was graphical - you moved your little guy around, but the principal was the same) where you needed to boil some water for something. The water was available, but no bucket to fetch and boil it in. Well, there was this slug, and at another place there was a shaker of salt. Dump the salt on the slug, and voila - a bucket! Makes sense, huh?

Well at least I knew the game wanted me to put the salt on the slug. There are worse examples.

You are in a twisty maze of comments (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14034810)

...all alike.

Re:You are in a twisty maze of comments (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14035080)

> North

The good ol' days! (1)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034811)

> kill troll with nasty knife

This is a game I could play (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14034812)

... at the prompt: go make a sandwich,.

Now if it told me to grab a beer while I was up I'd be addicted to playing.

Love text adventures (2, Interesting)

ooze (307871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034820)

Was the main exercise that tought me English pretty early. You just cannot go on without understanding, and you cannot go on without writing yourself. That forces you to learn the language in contrast to just cross-reading books or (blasphemy for actually learning English) chatting.

Re:Love text adventures (4, Funny)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034875)

You have to realize, though, that we only use words like "xyzzy," "zorkmid," and "blorple" on formal occasions.

Re:Love text adventures (1)

dcw3 (649211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035042)

You have to realize, though, that we only use words like "xyzzy," "zorkmid," and "blorple" on formal occasions.

Glad I checked before posting those, but don't forget "plugh"!

Re:Love text adventures (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035141)

I use the word "zorkmid" pretty often. I'm about as likely to say "gimme ten vaqueros" though.

Re:Love text adventures (4, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034975)

Yes. In fact I've often thought that some Interactive Fiction games should be written specifically to learn a foreign languages from scratch. It's one area where the technology would could still produce commercially viable products. I'd do it myself... if only I could speak a foreign language.

Assume this was version in English for people who want to speak French.
To start with, the game engine could describe things to you in English, but be set in France. Any signs or non-player characters you come across would be French. Where you have to speak to characters you'd have to do it in French, with there being clues around if you don't know what to say. At an advanced stage of the game, the language that the game itself uses for descriptions etc. could switch to French.

As the parent poster says, you would be unable to progress without understanding.

Re:Love text adventures (4, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035098)

Um... you learned English from text adventures?

Please tell me that when you first met a native English-speaker, you did not greet them with 'Hello sailor'...

Re:Love text adventures (5, Funny)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035155)

Was the main exercise that tought me English pretty early.

You must be a lot of fun around the office.

"Hey, which way is it to the bathroom in this building?"

"Get up; go left; y; y; door; light; use stall."

"Uh... thanks."

Text mode Quake, anyone? (5, Funny)

Ragetech (97458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034825)

QUAKE II
Copyright (c) 1991-2001. All rights reserved.

West of steaming pit of hell
You are standing in an open room west of a steaming pit of hell leading down.
There is a gun here.

>

(recycled: http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/12/31/ 043214&tid=112 [slashdot.org] )

--

RageTech

WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, "TEXTMODE QUAKE"? (5, Interesting)

rbochan (827946) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034851)

clicky clicky [mr.net]

Re:Text mode Quake, anyone? (1)

SKabby_Knees (858172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034872)

>pick up gun

Re:Text mode Quake, anyone? (1)

DG (989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034897)

You have a gun.

You hear a distant sound of rending flesh to the SE

>

Re:Text mode Quake, anyone? (3, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035129)

You hear a distant sound of rending flesh to the SE

> nw

Re:Text mode Quake, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14034899)

The gun just wants to be friends.

>

Re:Text mode Quake, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14034885)

Reminds me of the PA where they pointed out what could have been worse than a Metroid FPS...

"You see a Metroid.

> shoot metroid

You kill a Metroid.

You see another Metroid."

Re:Text mode Quake, anyone? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034892)

From SomethingPositive [somethingpositive.net] :

Mike, the obnoxious hack-and-slash D&D player, finds himself in an open field west of a white house...

Re:Text mode Quake, anyone? (4, Interesting)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034971)

Way back when, a friend of mine made a "DOOM area" for our MUD, Powerstruggle. It was exactly like what you describe, with +- 260 rooms with descriptions like that. I think it was based on Doom episode 3, level 5 or so.

It was seperate from the rest of the mud - hitpoints worked differently, and you couldn't take items from outside into it. Doom weapons had commands like "fire west" that would fire up to three rooms in that direction; there were minimap commands, that showed a 5x5 area around you; monsters would be asleep at first, until they were woken up (say by nearby shots), and then they'd have pretty nice AI. And there was deathmatch, for a number of players. Rather good, for 1995 or so.

That said, real PK muds like Genocide (still exists, telnet geno.org 2222) or Tron (down, as far as I know) were much, much better. Doom deathmatch was weak compared to good 40 player Geno team wars, with some of the best players doing 200 commands per minute... and every room had beautifully detailed descriptions (you could go exploring while you were dead and waiting for the next war).

console Games... Pause button? (1)

addbo (165128) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034831)

Well in most console games I play you can hit the "start" or "Pause" button and still go back to the game... though I admit there is some nostalgia in the text only games... and during the early 90's everyone was clamoring more about graphics than storyline, but I find these days the blending of text and storylines in games such as Fable, Final Fantasy and really most RPG's these days is rather more enjoyable (for myself at least) than sitting at a command line "look"'ing at every little thing.

Addbo

Nethack (3, Insightful)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034832)

Does Nethack qualify? Not quite text-only, but it will run on a terminal. IMNSHO, the greatest game of all time...

Re:Nethack (1)

vga_init (589198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034944)

Nethack is somewhat of a hybrid; text-mode graphics paired with a healthy doese of narrative description. I wouldn't go around calling it a "text based adventure," though. Certainly, nethack is graphical, taking its heritage from Rogue, the first graphical computer game ever written. That's right! *shakes his cane* Young whippersnappers...

Re:Nethack (4, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035154)

NetHack is console-mode, but not purely text. It does have some graphics, even if the graphics is on the tty level.

For a pure text game, try a MUD; I would say the Two Towers [t2tmud.org] is the best one in existence.

Of course, note that around 99% of development time in a game goes into graphics and sound. If you take these two away, you suddenly get something with two times of magnitude more depth. And if a game has been developed for more than ten years (like NetHack or T2T), you get extreme results, a lot better than the typical sell&forget new-fangled stuff.

Just compare NetHack and Diablo. Or, T2T and MMORPGs. If you're literate, the extra playability is worth a lot more than the graphical bells&whistles.

Re:Nethack (4, Informative)

spydir31 (312329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034965)

I prefer SLASH'EM [sourceforge.net] myself, like Nethack but much, much worse.

Text-only games? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034833)

... My blood pressure has gone up.

Like the Amish (4, Funny)

NardofDoom (821951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034852)

They'll produce wonderful text-based games, and people from the cities of MMORPG and FPS will travel out to them to buy blankets and marvel at their monochrome screens.

WTF? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14034856)

'With text games, you can sit there at the prompt, go make a sandwich, then come back and play more.'"

It's called the Pause button. Frickin' old people..

Can't Belive nobodys mentioned... (5, Insightful)

ninji (703783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034859)

The biggest part of these games, and the highest value of attraction:

No games graphics will ever beat text only's games:

WHY - Becuase its not limited by your PC, by its programming, and by Your Graphics Card, only your MIND.

You get a general mental version of the world your in, and you can assume its more detailed then wandering the plains in EQ2, unless your imaginaionally inept.

Re:Can't Belive nobodys mentioned... (2, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034917)

You get a general mental version of the world your in, and you can assume its more detailed then wandering the plains in EQ2, unless your imaginaionally inept.

Damn right. I've played so many RPGs over the years and some of them have been absolutely magnificent, but nothing was ever so perfectly rendered as the environment around Flood Control Dam #3...

* sniffle * ... oh, the nostalgia...

Re:Can't Belive nobodys mentioned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14035146)

You are wandering the planes of Sosaria.... hmmm I wonder if I left the iron on... oh yes, wandering the planes of Sosaria....

Re:Can't Belive nobodys mentioned... (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035164)

Becuase its not limited by [..] by its programming

Actually, it most certainly is limited by its programming. I think it's a real shame the game engines have advanced so little - it used to be that the real limiting factor was the hardware - you had so little memory - now the limiting factor is the engines, and those have hardly advanced at all.

back in the day (1)

sam_paris (919837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034874)

When I was a lad a game was considered advanced if it allowed the text to be in different colours.

Now its all about fancy smancy graphics, ah who needs em.

turn based (2, Interesting)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034888)

With text games, you can sit there at the prompt, go make a sandwich, then come back and play more.

same goes with all turn based games. like adom, chess, nethack and others. There is one problem about turns however - they are not MMORPG-able by definition. Some tweaks to the turn system must be made, so that other players wouldn't have to wait for other players. I'm dreaming about MMORPG version of adom, just like I'm dreaming about Diablo-like graphical version of adom. Sad is - that they will probably never happen...

Re:turn based (1)

Entropy (6967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035003)

Well, back in the day when I played Trade Wars, you didn't have to wait for other players to take your turn. One turn/day, and if you skipped it it was your own damn fault.

Re:turn based (1)

Now.Imperfect (917684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035158)

Actually, I have played loosely a turn based MMORPG... but then.. that was a technical thing and you really didn't notice it was turn based at all.

Re:turn based (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035176)

MMO Adom? Question -- would you ever encounter anyone in the Infinite Dungeon, since it's generated anew each time you ascend/descend?

I keep my Apple ][ C around... (1)

drgroove (631550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034894)

solely for playing text-based infocom games : Trinity, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Enchanter... I've found a few online emulators for these accessible through SSH, but there's nothing like booting up the ol' Apple and getting blown up by the Vogons.

If you want to.. (3, Informative)

myspys (204685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034902)

.. play those games linked, have a look at http://nickm.com/if/faq.html [nickm.com]

Infocom (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034920)

The Era of Infocom is fondly remembered indeed.

http://www.latz.org/infocom/ [latz.org]

Unfortunately it looks like at the moment the various collections from Activision are out of print. It's too bad. The design of the games seperated data from code quite cleanly making it possible to write a play enine for just about any platform. I have many of these wonderful classics on my Palm handheld.

Frotz!

Re:Infocom (1)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035143)

My favorite was always "Leather Goddesses of Phobos". You just can't beat a game that comes with its own 3D comic and scratch-n-sniff card.

Re:Infocom (2, Informative)

harrkev (623093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035181)

Other than eBay, there is ONE other source of Infocom games... You can buy from here..

http://www.lacegem.com/ [lacegem.com]

One CD with every Infocom game that Activision could legaly put on one disc. Activision lost the rights for games like HHGTG and Shogun. Yes, they are in the UK, and yes, they ship to the USA. I ordered this from them a few years ago. I have no affiliation with the company other than being a satisfied customer.

Bah! (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034940)

You young 'uns and your fancy schmancy "text games". In my day, we didn't need any of these uppity "console games" to entertain us. We got by with a % shell prompt and a blinking cursor if we were lucky.

No sirree, none of these sophisticated "text games" for us. Sometimes, a couple of us guys would get together over a few beers and try race a cursor off the line - without character repeat, and without them sissy arrow keys.

That is how we built character, and we liked it that way.

Re:Bah! (1)

bbingham (145204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035072)

Cursors! You lucky, lucky, lucky b*stard! We didn't have such luxuries, no sir'ee! We had cards, punched cards, and not too many of them, by Jove! And we didn't dare punch 'em. We stole sticks of charcoal from dustbins to enter the Hollerith codes onto a card and then feed them into a reader one at a time. Then we'd rub off the marks to reuse the card, 'cause if we didn't our admins would kick our rears out of the center and call us wastrels. Cursors! That's like candy!

Re:Bah! (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035085)

I've got the original source code to Adventure on my Mac. (Or, at least I think I've still got it. I might have deleted it. Worst case, it's in the Usenet archives somewhere.) Amazingly, the shell design has changed so much over the years that it doesn't run anymore. Most of the issues would be easy to fix (though time consuming), but it's just interesting how much the code has changed over the years.

Evolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14034941)

Let's see

text based -> sprites-> 3d ?

Nope, not in Kansas. Screw Darwin.

I loved text adventures (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034947)

I loved them, I even wrote a few myself. But the affair ended abruptly with Scott Adams' "Savage Island" adventure. After that I stuck to games like the classic Star Trek (which I still enjoy today), and my first roguelike, "Temple of Apshai", which is where my current addiction to nethack finds roots.

There is a healthy IF community... (1)

hungrygrue (872970) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034952)

There are a lot of very good games available at www.ifarchive.org Many of them will take weeks to solve, have great story lines, and well designed puzzles/problems. Some of my favorates: "Cristminster", "Curses", "Jigsaw", "Anchorhead". For new players, "Theatre" is a good first game.

Astro-Chicken! (1)

scovetta (632629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034953)

I've played Zork and Adventure and the like and, while very good, they're not quite as exciting as the games Sierra used to put out (KQ/PQ/SQ/etc), up until they went with the new mouse UI.

Oh well, back to playing Astro-Chicken.

Gemstone 3 (4, Informative)

dividedsky319 (907852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034973)

Ahh... this brings me back to my days in Elanthia as Lord Sharvan Darvenshire, half elven ranger. In 9th grade I must have spent 50% of my time outside of school playing online with my friends. Computer dork, I know... but hey, you're reading /., so you're probably not one to talk! ;-)

The great thing about text MUDs was how easily (and quickly) GMs could add content. There was no 3d modeling, no conceptual drawings, downloadable patches, etc, so a festival or merchant could be whipped up in a matter of hours to days (depending on the extent)

Another nice thing about the "special events"? It was a REAL PERSON you interacted with. The merchant would alter your items, enchant them, etc.

Sharvan has since moved onto World of Warcraft... but I still have a soft spot for GS III (now Gemstone IV), as it introduced me to the world of online gaming. There are a lot of things that were in GS that I wish WoW had as well, but it's an entirely different environment so it's pretty much impossible. Totally different experiences.

I actually attribute my ability to type >120wpm to Gemstone. When you spend so much time in the game, and typing is the only way to interact, you learn to get around the keyboard quite well. Who ever said gaming was pointless?!

Re:Gemstone 3 (1)

navarredr (873345) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035106)

GemStone and DragonRealms are 'still' amazing fun! Take a look at Simutronic's latest venture, Hero's Journey, if you haven't already done so. A 3D Elanthia that should hold its own against WoW, EQ, SWG, and the like. I can't wait!

Reminds me of radio plays. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14034978)

Excellent.

Text only games remind me of radio plays. Both have better pictures than their visually enabled equivalents (i.e. I prefer radio to TV because it has more interesting pictures :)

Not new (5, Informative)

Hakubi_Washu (594267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034987)

People creating Text-Adventures have been around a long time, they were never gone, so to speak.


And, for the more graphically inclined, check out these:

Old Skool (2, Insightful)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034991)

Interesting that this made it to the Wall Street Journal. (nostalgia) My first video game was Zork I running on an Osborne I, and I still remember figuring out to give Marvin "tea" and "no tea" in Hitchhiker's.... (/nostalgia)

I do think this is an unfair statement (FTA): "The plots of the games are often as minimalist as the graphics: To win, players must solve a series of puzzles, like finding the key to a castle door."

How is that less complex than any of today's graphics-intensive games? If anything, text adventures are more complex, because you have to read and use your imagination instead of simply killing villians and "walking" over their corpses to collect power-ups or keys or whatever. It's still "find the key to the door," just more literary than visual.

MUDs all the way! (2, Informative)

NaNO2x (856759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034992)

I have been a MUDer for over nine years now, I have tried MMORPGs like Shadowbane, Ultima, and WoW to name a few, but I always keep coming back to the MUD that I have been with for all this time. There are many reasons, one is the community, on a MUD like the one I play there are only about 40 of us and we know each other well. Another reason is that the MUD that I play at least is about Role Playing, which is not something that can be truely done on a MMORPG. A good balance of PK and RP is what is needed, and MUDs can provide that. Also on a MUD you have to actually use your mind, your imagination. Another great thing I have found after my years of MUDing is an improvement in certain skills, I read faster, type faster, and can make things up on the spot that sound more reasonable. Overall I think that MUDs are great things, but they arn't for everyone but those of you who take to them they are much much better than a graphical game ever could be. By the way, the MUD I play is called Dark Mists http://darkmists.org/ [darkmists.org] [darkmists.org] and my character is Nij so if any of you want to stop by I'd be happy to show you around.

Re:MUDs all the way! (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035122)

"Another reason is that the MUD that I play at least is about Role Playing, which is not something that can be truely done on a MMORPG"

Not true! You often stumble upon real role players in MMO's, as can be seen here [deceiveguild.org] !

What I Hated... (1)

aw232 (904545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034993)

about the text only games (and the lame graphic games that followed like "Kings Quest") was that you spent 3 hours trying to figure out what the stupid programmer wanted you to do to progress the story. and it usually came down to something stupid and irrational like "Shove hotdog into light socket" which would allow you to open the portcullis and move to the next infurating puzzle. with today's modern games I can do whatever I want and make my own story.

Re:What I Hated... (1)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035165)

I can certainly relate... Actually when I was a kid I never even really got past the copy protection in "Starcross"... I just didn't quite know what I was supposed to do.

I think most of the Infocom games aren't too bad in terms of the puzzles (not only how hard they are, but how well what you expect of them relates to what the programmer expected) but there are exceptions. The baseball puzzle in Zork II comes to mind, along with quite a lot of Hitchhiker's Guide (which is generally considered among the toughest, if not the toughest, of the original Infocom releases BTW). Also in contrast with many more contemporary adventure games (notably the Lucasarts games of the mid 90's) the games offered lots of potential to go far astray of where you needed to be in the game to potentially win. You could fail a certain task and keep on going - perhaps with no indication that you'd already lost the opportunity to win. (Sierra games of the mid-90s tended to kill you off pretty soon after failing something, where Lucasarts games mostly had a policy of not providing any way to lose the game)

It's neat and all that this appeared in the WSJ, but my reaction is strictly a "been there, done that, highly respect the people who made it possible." kind of thing. Like, props to the people who created Inform and reverse-engineered the Z-machine and all... I was on a kick of trying to make a Z-machine game back in '96 or so, but it's pretty much over for me at this point.

Not dead yet (1)

navarredr (873345) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035002)

Text based games, including MUDs and MUSHs are still alive and strong and have quite a following despite all of the hype and eye candy of modern console/pc games.

I play most of today's MMORPGs and have a lot of fun doing so, but they all are missing a level of immersion that you can only get in a text based game.

My favorite game ever is DragonRealms [play.net] , a text based world with thousands and thousands of players that has been going strong since the early 90s!

I am glad to see people are still taking an interest in keeping this genre going. I hope some of the younger gamers give text based games a chance and do not miss out completely on these great worlds of fun.

MUDs (1)

Raynach (713366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035005)

The one game that has held my interest the longest, from Super Mario 3 on the NES, Mortal Kombat and Sonic on the Genesis, up to now with HL2, Doom 3, and even crazy stuff like Katamari Damacy, has been the MUD that introduced me to mudding. CoreMUD [coremud.org] (although it seems to be down at the moment) keeps me coming back, no matter how much I try to disassociate myself from it.

But why? I think, because this game has an amazing commitment to making the game a social environment that anyone can get into. Even if you would brand the people who play D&D and roleplay as freaks (which I find myself doing time to time), you can really get into this game and its commitment to drawing you into the social community.

And I think this is true of all MUDs. MMORPGs like Everquest and WoW force you to make a community because you NEED other people to get items or take on big mobs. But on MUDs, Core especially, you can just glide into the environment and find a niche in the community, be it working in a shop or role-playing a certan race or character. That's why people come back to text-based games and why they are still around. Sure I enjoy all those games with crazy graphics and everything, but at the end of the day the MUD will still be there.

Even the TI-99/4A had a text adv. game editor (1)

British (51765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035011)

Using the same game engine the Scott Adams text adventures had, there was an editor you could get for the TI-99/4A to make your own text adventures.

I remember using it to look through the source code of some impossibly-hard(or broken) text adventure games made in shareware land. One of them was based off of Fast Times at Ridgemount High, complete with Mr. Hand.

Ah, fun times. Never made anything useful out of it, but it was a nice entry into programming.

Slashdot as a text game ... (4, Funny)

Hulkster (722642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035019)

Computer is on
> Surf to /.
Page Loads - no recent stories
> Reload 7,512 times
A new story pops up
> Click on the story
Nothing to see here - move along
> Reload 389 times
You see the new story
> Write pithy First Post comment - hit Submit
Comment accepted - 8/8
> Reload page
Your comment is gibberish because you didn't preview it
> Reload page again
Comment moderated to -1 as Troll
> Change race to Elf
Change not accepted - you are now permanently cursed as a Troll.

Re:Slashdot as a text game ... (1)

freshman_a (136603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035179)

Later that day...

> Surf to /.
A new story appears.
> Click on story
You feel something strange, like deja vu...
> Check previous stories
Your suspicions are confirmed! The new story is a dupe!
> Return to new story and post comment about dupe
Unfortunately, others have already posted comments about the story being a dupe. You are modded Redundant.

Sandwich may prove costly... (1)

mmThe1 (213136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035022)

"With text games, you can sit there at the prompt, go make a sandwich, then come back and play more."

Not true. If you were playing L.O.R.D. [rtsoft.com] , getting that sandwich could mean you got slaughtered, or missed that opportunity to get laid by a (female) character.

There are still text based games around. (1)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035035)

The Last Resort & Starship Traders http://www.ioresort.com/ [ioresort.com] , Materia Magica http://www.materiamagica.com/ [materiamagica.com] , and Archmage http://www.magewar.com/ [magewar.com] all have pretty good followings and I've been playing them for years.

The problem with text only games (1)

TheVampire (686474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035067)

was that if you didn't use the "magic word", then they could be really frustrating. As an example, if you typed "Throw hammer" and the magic word was "Fling hammer"... You had to have a copy of a Thesaurus around just in case.

Don't forget the rest of the world (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14035076)

In my case, I am part of the spanish interactive fiction community. It's page is:

http://caad.mine.nu/ [caad.mine.nu]

If you speak spanish, it's an option. I believe that spanish community is the second of the world in number of members and annual production.

Pichuneke

3D accelerated ascii graphics ahead (1)

BushCheney08 (917605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035078)

Shhh...Be vewy vewy quiet. I'm hunting wumpus.

List of Public Text Games (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035113)

I do enjoytext adventure games, although I haven't played in years. Best of all I could probably get away with playing them at work. All the windows folks would just think I'm writing perl scripts! ;-)

I hope in the comments of this posting we get a wealth of links to freely avalible or even low cost text adventure games.

Games reached a dead end (2, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035116)


I used to write text adventure games on the BBC micro. Only 32Kb memory as I remember, and you had to get the whole game and all data into that. Even with those limitations, the engines were getting pretty interesting. A lot of time was spent thinking how to compress the info down.

I remember thinking back then, I wonder how amazing the games will be when we have much more memory, like 128Kb or even 256Kb! Couldn't even conceive of 1Mb of memory.

I returned to it a few years ago because I'd heard there were still people developing them, but the engines really haven't advanced at all. It's a shame, with the capacities that computers have these days we really should be able to develop truely interactive fiction, but I don't think it's ever going to happen. A pity.
 

You are trapped in a cave... (2, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035117)

There is no light.

> Improvise a light using the minerals from the cave walls, putting it in a piece of my shirt so the combustion can be controlled. I'll use some flints to light it up. The sweat in the shirt can provide enough moisture

Sorry, Macgyverisms not supported in this game.

> WTF? :(

Good deal! (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035120)

Some of the very first computer games I ever played were text.
I used to play some sort of game, I can't remember what, on a teletype in highschool in the mid 70's.. Then I got a Ratshack cocoo and played text games on there. I got an IBM early on and played Zork and HHGTTG on a green screen..

Those were the days! I still have a copy of Zork I, II, and III text only on disk, I play them about once a year on a real IBM XT that I still have.
Hard to belive that these games were only about 30k total in size and still they were fun!

I say keep em around, they make you use your imagination. Modern games are just drool and click..

My favorite text-only adventure game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14035130)

My favorite was Metal Gear Solid 3.

It is quite possibly the most famous of them all with 18 hours of nothing but pure text!

Welcome to the World of Slashdot (5, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035139)

You are in a Slashdot article with 3 mod points left. There's an obvious Troll on your left that deserves to be modded down to negative infinity. Ahead of you is a post you really want to respond to. The Reply button beacons to the right, offering you a chance to get your original thoughts higher up on the page. The Back button will return you to the mundane world.

>_

Interactive Fiction Competition going on right now (2, Interesting)

Yekrats (116068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035173)

I'm somewhat surprised that nobody has mentioned the 11th annual Interactive Fiction Competition [ifcomp.org] going on right now. However, today is the last day to be a judge.

Real men play text games (1)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035184)

My favorite game is DECWAR, and I have a web page about it. The web page is at:
http://home.austin.rr.com/hsnewman/decwar.htm [rr.com]

You can even play it, I have it running under Simh on a pdp10 emulator! Simply log on as 5,30, and you can command your own starship against other humans realtime!
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