Traditionally, text-based adventure games are dinosaurs of PC gaming. They were popular when text-based games were the only way to tell a story. However, the genre has been evolving since then as more designers are experimenting with it. The good news is that you can still find some great text adventure games that aren’t overly complicated, so you can still play them today. Here’s what you should look for in a text-based adventure game.
Lacuna: A dialogue-based text adventure set in a sci-fi noir universe, Lacuna offers multiple endings based on what the player does. Conversation choices are usually non-repeating and timed, giving decisions a sense of finality. The game also moves forward at a constant pace, and it features a noir-esque artistic direction. You’ll want to try this one out for yourself.
Zork: Another early text adventure, this game has survived the test of time because of its excellent storytelling and advanced text recognition. The text parser isn’t particularly picky and lets you choose between two different endings. The game can be broken down into three distinct parts, with part one starting on Earth. Part two follows you in space, where you have to collect treasure and find a safe path to reach the end.
Disco Elysium: A text adventure game that was developed by Christine Love, the same developer behind Ladykiller In A Bind, is an excellent example. It’s an interactive story, set five minutes in the future of 1988. You’ll have to solve a mystery and navigate a bulletin board system to progress. It’s free and you can play it online by clicking here.