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The 5 Best Text-Based Games You Can Play on Your Browser Right Now

Text-based games aren't dead. Here's a collection of some of the genre’s best to prove it. Oh, and they're free to play!

Text based games, a.k.a. interactive fiction, have been one of the many genres of gaming for a long time. In fact, they're one of the first! Since the '70's there have been many great games the genre, such as Zork, Colossal Cave Adventure and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Even nowadays, people can still enjoy text-based games thanks to the power of the internet. There are even websites where people can make their own! But for the most part, even the most well-known games in the genre are free to play, and luckily, we've found a few (new and old) ones that you might like! Take a look and enjoy!

5. The Dreamhold

This is a good game for newcomers to IF games, as it features a guide that will give you tips when you're in difficult situations. It even has guides that help you learn how to play.

In The Dreamhold, you play as someone who woke up in some sort of cell. You cannot remember how you got there -- you can't even remember how to read certain books, which help you progress through the game. But once your character explores the areas outside the cell, you quickly realize that you are really in a Dreamhold, or a wizard's high house.

the story only gets crazier (and juicer) from there. 

PlayThe Dreamhold here.

4. Zork

You have likely heard of this one before. A classic RPG, Zork is a predecessor to games like Skyrim and Fallout 4. Yes, this little text-based adventure game is what inspired industry greats like Rand Miller to design games in the first place and give us some of the amazing worlds we have today. 

You start the game out in the middle of nowhere in front of a white house with a boarded up door and barred up windows. You must enter the house, and after that, you must explore the house. (Spoiler: It's not easy to get inside!)

Exploring will eventually find you many treasures that you can collect for a higher score, but as there is more to the house than at first glance, how many can you find without dying?

Play Zork here.

3. Nameless Quest

In this story, you start out in a tavern bustling with merriment -- like any good game that's influenced by D&D. Once your character leaves, he finally becomes too tired to go anywhere, so he lays down on the ground to sleep. But when he wakes up, there's an old man tugging at his sleeve, who tells you a few (strange and peculiar) things and runs off to leave you on your adventure -- which I'm not ever sure you asked for! 

Nonetheless, this is a fun, whimsical experience that can entertain you for awhile. 

Play Nameless Quest here.

Note: Keep hitting keys at the beginning to finish loading. It might seem buggy, but it's not. It's just taking you on an adventure to prepare you for the trials ahead. 

2. Spider And Web

In this game, you play as a spy who is infiltrating a facility to obtain a mysterious item, a la' Mission Impossible. The dialogue is very simple, consisting of Yes, No, or no answer at all.

There's a lot of trial and error with this one. Sometimes, it's not really clear what you're supposed to do or where you're supposed to go. But that's the fun of it all, right?

But keep one thing in mind: Save often, especially toward the end as you can make a few critical errors that will end all game progress before your last save.

Play Spider And Web here.

1. Night House

This game is pretty creepy. You start as a young boy who wakes up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, but he soon realizes his family isn't home -- but maybe something else is. 

This horror IF is a neat experience because unlike most IF adventures that support only one type of command input, Night House functions with multiple input variations. You can type everything out, but you can also use a side menu to control your actions. It really is an interesting take on an almost age-old way of playing IF games. 

Note: You will still occasionally have to type some things out, e.g. "Put batteries in flashlight." But you do have options, that's more than most IF games. 

Play Night House here.

Of course, there are plenty more text-based adventure games and RPGs out there. If you're looking for even more to play, check out websites like TextAdventures and GameShed, where highly active communities come together to make and share some truly great interactive fiction. 

What do you think of these games? Did you try playing them? Do you have more IF games to share? Let us know in the comments!

Published Dec. 30th 2016

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