Did you know it was National Reading Day on the 22nd of January? I'll be honest, I completely missed it...*ahem* so in honour of NRD, as I shall now call it, here are 5 of the best text based video games you may want to play.
Obviously, this is completely based on my own opinion and experience. You may completely disagree with my list and that's fine! Let me know what your favourite text games are would be in the comments.
So without further ado, let's get to it.
I'm going to throw you right into the deep end with this 'cryogenic nightmare' as it is an extremely challenging text game. The protagonist is connected to a network of computers, deep underground, that are responsible for all the essential systems of the planet above. Unfortunately, an earthquake snaps the character out of his deep slumber, causing the systems to go haywire and endangering the citizens of the planet. These angry folk believe you are trying to kill them on purpose and it is your job to defuse the situation before they attempt to murder you.
Suspended is incredibly challenging, having you control six robots rather than one man and each robot has a certain function that it must carry out which raises the game's difficulty. Completing it, therefore, is quite the accomplishment.
If you're up to the challenge, play Suspended here!
This horror game is set in an Elizabethan London and subjects you to immense terrors as you progress through it. Invited to dinner by an old friend, what starts off as a normal situation quickly becomes anything but and soon you become deeply involved in a captivating storyline. It includes themes of conspiracy, dark magic, and cults with truly ominous twists and turns. Although it's a long game, it will certainly have you enthralled for many hours. It is well worth a try.
Developed by Will Crowther, this is pretty much where it all started for text-based gaming. It is exactly what it says on the tin, i.e. it's an adventure...in a cave! You are told that it is rumoured to be full of treasure and other riches and thus you explore said cave using one or two-word commands. By interacting with objects, enemies and the environment, the goal is to accrue as many points as possible - the in-game equivalent of finding all the treasure.
Funnily enough, Crowther was actually an avid and experienced caver in real life, which is most likely where the inspiration for the game's setting came from. Rightly dubbed as the mother of all text-based adventure games, Adventure is a must play for the genre.
Next up is a series of games that are hugely fun and popular members of the text genre. Zork was split into three separate games when it was originally published; Zork: The Great Underground Empire - Part I (aka Zork I), Zork II: The Wizard of Frobozz, and Zork III: The Dungeon Master. They became renowned as being especially engaging, with rich storytelling and more specific command usage. The latter meant that instead of simply typing "hit x" you could instead input, "hit x with elvish sword." This added a layer of additional intricacy to the game that had previously been missing.
These games are exceptionally fun to play and, as mentioned, offer a high level of old-school quality when it comes to storytelling.
This 25-year-old text game is one of the oldest examples of an RPG, offering a "fantasy game world of magnificent proportion." It is a text-based, online multi-player experience that still exists today, making it possibly the longest-running online RPG in history. The scope of the game is huge and offers an equally huge number of possibilities depending on your character and preferred play style.
Avalon is responsible for many of the modern features we see in RPGs and MMORPGs nowadays. These include, but are not limited to: dynamic weather effects, player housing, skill-based real time PvP combat, and common modern features like scripted quests.
It is amazing to think that hugely successful games, such as Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout, Guild Wars and World of Warcraft, may have taken inspiration from Avalon. This should make any fan of RPGs want to give it a go.