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Thread: Text Adventure Games

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    Default Text Adventure Games

    First one I ever played was Zork, on my friend's Apple. But the first computer I ever owned was a Commodore 64, so that's the version I remember most. The desire to create games of my own of a similar nature prompted me to learn BASIC. I didn't get very far creating my own text adventure games on the C64 because I would always get an Out of Memory Error. I guess that's because I didn't know how to do it right. I could barely get my head around the concept of arrays...

    Anyway, if anyone else has fond memories of playing text adventure games (or creating their own) I'd love to hear about it. I won't mention the other titles I've played so as to give others a chance to bring them up. Also, if you have or know of any online versions of said games (not requiring an emulator to play them) please let me (and the rest of us) know. I know Zork I, II, and III are available on Newgrounds, but there may be others I'm not aware of. Cheers!

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    ... Newgrounds?

    Buy those suckers from GOG.com!
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    Have you seen the famous Get Lamp text adventure documentary?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRhbcDzbGSU
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsune Sniper View Post
    ... Newgrounds?

    Buy those suckers from GOG.com!
    GOG.com rocks. I picked up Zork 1-3 for about $2.99, and Return to Zork (the graphical one) for about $2. Such great deals.

    I always felt bad I never got very far in the original Zork until I saw Get Lamp and saw how big a game it really is. Then I didn't feel so bad.
    If you can't do it with 8 bits, you don't need to do it!

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    What got me interested in learning to program was a book about computers that I checked out from the school library in about 3'rd grade. It included a simple text adventure game in BASIC which led to me getting a Commodore 64. I ended up building on that simple game and created something of my own a lot larger(compared to the 1 page program in the book). It was a quest where you set off to slay the dragon that has been terrorizing the kingdom fighting battles along the way to build up weapons and armor. I wish I still had it, though I'm sure if I did I'd wince about how bad it actually was compared to my memory of it.

    Fun times.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    Infocom was probably the first major game publisher I followed closely. I had Zork (only part I, though), Witness, Planetfall, Infidel, Enchanter, Skullduggery, Wishbringer, Hitchhiker's Guide, etc. I wasn't very good at them, because I would almost always hit a point at which I just couldn't understand what the parser wanted from me even if I got the gist of how the puzzle should be solved (weirdly, though, I was able to figure out the babel fish puzzle without too much trouble). Infocom got a lot of money from me for those fancy hintbooks!

    Planetfall was probably my favorite because of its humor, although I also loved Enchanter's setting, and Infidel had that great Indiana Jones/Treasure of the Sierra Madre vibe. What's funny to me is that in all of these "Are games art?" discussions that regularly come up, people often ask if a game could ever make you cry, but Planetfall was making players cry all the way back in the early 80s. If you've played it, you know the part I'm talking about

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    I had a couple of text adventures for my Amiga. They both had graphics to accompany the text, but they were completely superfluous.
    One was called The Pawn, and it was pretty good from what I remember.
    The other one was also good, but I believe it was more difficult and the accompanying graphics were strange, they would draw in piece by piece and had a very simple colour palette.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsune Sniper View Post
    ... Newgrounds?

    Buy those suckers from GOG.com!
    Hey thanks, I didn't know about that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    Have you seen the famous Get Lamp text adventure documentary?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRhbcDzbGSU
    I had heard of it but I wasn't aware it was on YouTube. Guess I should've searched for it. Gonna watch it in a bit. Thanks!

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    BydoEmpire & Andy: I was never very good at text adventure games. In fact, I think I was better at creating them than I was at playing them! And consequently, I never got very far in Zork either. I couldn't get into Hades & I was convinced that the game really ended there but that the developers didn't want you to know that! What can I say, I was a kid... it wasn't until many years later that I looked up how you get past the gate, but I still haven't played the game that far in order to try those instructions. I definitely plan to soon though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    What got me interested in learning to program was a book about computers that I checked out from the school library in about 3'rd grade. It included a simple text adventure game in BASIC which led to me getting a Commodore 64. I ended up building on that simple game and created something of my own a lot larger(compared to the 1 page program in the book). It was a quest where you set off to slay the dragon that has been terrorizing the kingdom fighting battles along the way to build up weapons and armor. I wish I still had it, though I'm sure if I did I'd wince about how bad it actually was compared to my memory of it.

    Fun times.
    Yeah, I had a lot of fun programming the games I (tried) to create. One of the great things about the Commodore 64 was that you could change the colour scheme, so I would have a bit of fun with that. For this one game I made (which was, I suppose, in retrospect born of my wish that I had been able to enter Hades in Zork), the player character was a lost soul wandering through Hell, so I made the text red on a black background.

    I wonder if the book you took out from the library was the same one I have? Did it use the game "Adventure" as an example?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Froboz View Post
    I wonder if the book you took out from the library was the same one I have? Did it use the game "Adventure" as an example?
    It was a long time ago and I barely remember. The text "game" example was more of an introduction to flow charts and was fairly linear. More like a choose you're own adventure. I'm pretty sure it was somewhat medieval themed but I really don't remember much more than that.

    One thing I do remember doing though, since you mention changing the color, was having simple colored graphics to go with some of the text that was made of all the fancy alternate characters the C64 had all over the keys.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    The Infocom IF is great. Make sure you download and print out all the extra documents and "feelies"; most of them are available in pdf form, and are essential to enjoying, if not completing the game. I'm not a big fan of the text adventures that feature fantasy settings. I prefer the modern, detective, spy, and historical stuff, and to lesser extent, the sci-fi stuff.

    Angelsoft also made a bunch of IF based on licensing existing properties

    Forbidden Castle
    High $take$
    Indiana Jones in Revenge of the Ancients
    James Bond 007: A View to a Kill
    James Bond 007: Goldfinger
    The Mist
    Rambo: First Blood Part II
    Voodoo Island


    I haven't played them and I don't know if they came with extra paper based feelies like Infocom.

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    I didn't have a PC at home until 1998 or so. We used the business computer at the fire department (where my father was an officer) for certain things if we needed to, but I had an Apple II clone (the VTech Laser128 to be specific). And on one of the diskettes I had (I think it was an issue of Softdisk Magazine), there was a text adventure where you got up and left your house. If you didn't leave, you got crushed by a giant. You had a gun with 6 bullets and some DDT spray. And you had to go to the local science lab to get a laser or something and there were giant Beetles that the bullets would bounce off of and... I wish I could remember what it was called. I may have to haul out the old thing and see if I can get it to work still, just to find a name. Assuming the floppies haven't deteriorated.

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    That sounds pretty wild! I had a lot of games on floppy that I can't recall the names of now (not just text adventure games). But I might still have the floppies around here somewhere...

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    When I had my Apple IIe I had Wizard and the Princess, Mystery House, Zork, Hitchhiker's Guide, Adventureland, and Transylvania. The Apple IIe is, in my mind, truly the platform of the text adventure. The Hi-Res Graphics mode just blew away anything that the Commodore 64 could do, and even the fonts looked nicer (Apple II text adventures had a black background, Commodore 64 had a blue). Look up Penguin Software; their graphics software was one of the key players in the early text adventure; some of those old pictures from the Apple II Hi-Res adventures were just stunning for what an old computer could do. Sierra was really the king when it came to execution on text-with-graphics adventures. Of course Infocom was the king of all-text adventures, which have probably aged better than text-with-graphics, which were slow as molasses loading those pictures. Sierra's Time Zone is probably the most famous text adventure next to Zork, being in the Smithsonian Museum if I am not mistaken.

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    Lost Treasures of Infocom has just been released for iOS. Zork I comes with it for free, and you can buy packages of games or the complete collection. The complete collection is $10, and for another buck you can get the Invisiclues for all games ($1 for all, not $1 each). There are some games missing, although I don't think anyone will be surprised that Hitchhiker's Guide the the Galaxy isn't there. It's really well done, with in-game access to Invisiclues, and the feelies have all been digitized.

    Alternatively, if you own the games, there's a version of Frotz available for iOS. I tried it out tonight and loaded Hitchhiker's Guide in it, and it worked fine. Kind of a barebones interface, but what do you expect from a text adventure.

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    I really enjoyed playing through Transylvania on iOS a couple years ago. I remember ads for it on the Apple ][, but never got to play it back in the day. They did a great job on iOS - clever control system and it was a blast playing through.
    If you can't do it with 8 bits, you don't need to do it!

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    I think that the first game I ever played was one of the Lord of the Rings text adventures off a tape.

    Did anyone ever play Starship Titanic? Wasn't it supposed to be some sort of hybrid between a traditional text adventure and a point and click adventure game? I was always sort of interested in it because of the Douglas Adams connection (I even read the spin off book, sadly not by him) but never actually played the thing.

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    I hear that whatever innovations it may bring to the table, Starship Titanic is an infuriating, poorly-designed game.
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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