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DavidColson

Can text adventure games still work?

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While playing a game called Device 6 on iOS recently (interactive novel type game) I thought to myself, could text adventure games still work these days?

 

I'm sure many talented game designers could craft brilliant text adventure games, the problem still persists that graphics these days is used to market games. Since people cannot play the game they get shown pictures and videos. This can't work for a text adventure game.

 

I thought maybe a well made demo could replace trailers and images to entice players more. The recently released Stanley Parable has shown me that, when done well demo's can be very effective. Most demo's these days cause a drop in sales of the game in question.

 

So theres two parts to this. Firstly can a text adventure game be fun when compared to modern games? And secondly, would it sell?

 

I suppose this is a wide question but I thought it would make for a nice conversation topic. 

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I'm not sure about the classic text adventures where you had a black screen with a blinking cursor, and that's about it.

It would be extremely niche, with a few people playing for nostalgia, and a few people discovering them for the first time...

 

Like the Device 6 game you mention, check out Tin Man's "ports" of old choose-your-own-adventure novels:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Tin%20Man%20Games&hl=en

 

They're basically just text adventures with very limited choices, but to create a bit of appeal, they add in a few illustrations, backgrounds to make it feel like a book, nicely drawn battle cards, dice, etc... They seem to have a lot of these game-books, so I guess they're selling wink.png

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I think if it were ever to work it would have to be revamped heavily. I tend to agree that the super nostalgic old school text adventures would not work.

 

Device 6 is a promising game for me, mostly because its a game book that really makes sense and is fun to play. It gives me hope that if done well text based games might still work, provided they are mixed, just a little bit with some modern game design.

 

Its a type of game I wish to pursue when I get some time to make prototypes.

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I am sure it would sell. It is an interactive book mixed with 1950's radio stories (that's a good idea). Imagine a book with sound effects. 

 

If you have ever head the Virtual Haircut skit, that is one way you could take it (3d sound). 

 

Perhaps hardcore gamers wouldn't like it, but little sister sure would. 

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I've pondered developing a new text system for a long time, it could work.Text is niche, the market is a reader type not COD gamer. A Fifty Shades of Gray interactive novel cash in would rake in the cash from that niche group atm. The coding would be easy, but the work on the story would be hard. If it's poorly written it's not gonna sell.

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The best game I played so far that was entirely text lost all direction, due to that I would have to say it was bad. To be fair it was a detective story and I'm no detective, but it was a lot of work at the start of the game just to immerse myself and stay for an hour.

 

The way games have evolved would be a strong indicator that effort in needs to be a bare minimum to begin playing a game, and only increased slightly after a learning curve. Entirely text adventure games would need a very interesting formula to compete with even ASCII art games. Candy box !

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I think that the text adventure games of old are gone, but there is a new wave that is coming through (I'm actually working on an idea right now that I'm going to try and implement for the next Ludum Dare). If you have an iPhone, go check out Bar Oasis, or google it if you don't have one. That's a great example of more common day text adventures.

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Those text adventure games where you continually do "guess what the next word to input is from a 5 word description" never appealed to me. Its too frustrating to be playing with a dictionary to find the alternative of the word that says the same but is actually wanted by the game.

I think nowadays you would have more luck with a visual novel where the text is framed nicely, you can do your choices with the mouse and there are some pictures that dont even need to move. Though even with a visual novel you need to work to get people interested.

For a nice example take a look at Long Live The Queen, they worked hard to get it on steam, and if you are not allergic to pink its fun to play and die from all kinds of things. I tried the demo once, played it more than one time and loved it although its not really one of the genre types I normally play.

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Hey, if you have not noticed yet, anyone interested in researching about this actual subject. and/or willing to experiment with text gaming, please visit my thread regarding this.

I am seeking for people who have slightly of an avant-garde look at text gaming in general. Thanks.

 

You can find it here.

Or just go back to "Game design" and find the thread "Abstract Text Game?"

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