On Text Adventure

I apologize for the late post but I had some personal tragedy to recover from. It was tragic and of unfathomable influence on my mental health.

Text adventure, as I see it, directly questions the nature of use of media and medium for implementation of a particular narrative/game. I always felt that a particular novel was better suited as a novel and not as a movie and particular movie should not be translated into a novel. Written narrative have their their charm; it leaves a lot to the readers imagination and hence the effort in this case is classically non-trivial. However when we transcend a written text to an interactive text adventure game, although we preserve the richness of language and its accompanying perks (engaging the players mind etc), we seem to destroy or even in the best scenario, atleast disturb the immersive’ness’ of the narrative. The kind of audience also makes a difference when interpreting the impact of text adventure. Today’s generation, who have grown up on their staple diet of 3d game and virtual space would lack the sense of literature adventure pursuit that may be someone in the 80’s generation when presented with the text based adventure game. Also the issue of lack of organised commands etc to get around really ticked me off. In short for a person who isn’t used to such a game, he has to play the game at least a few time to get a hang of it before he can start enjoying it. Here is another case of extremely nontrivial effort and the consequence of interactivity compromising immersivity.

In slight contrast when we resurrect the sometimes irritatingly boring text adventure from the being designated as a semi literary work to the realm of graphical role playing adventure game, you are in a totally immersive state where the environment is laid out of for you and there is not much room for imagination. The interactivity, however may/may not be compromised upon. While some people may be of the opinion that interactivity is reduced to a point and click approach, it up to the system designer to insure interactivity by implementing more innovative means of communication with the system. The graphical interface provides avenues for innovation in interactivity which is restricted in the classical text adventure approach.

While the text adventure purist may not be entirely convinced with this, I am of the option that adventure games and narrative became extremely popular only after the advent of computer graphics. Personally I was unaware of the text based adventure game prior to the module. Consequently, the commercial viability of the graphical interface over the textual interface indicates that that people prefer a more real life like interaction over a textual interaction. This is in contrast to non-game like narratives where the more life like narration viz movies and animations have an equal footing, if not more, with classical textual literature. This is just a preliminary observation and hence does not form a conclusive analysis.


One Response to On Text Adventure

  1. alex says:

    Interesting observations. I would suggest, however, that perhaps its the poor interface to interactive fiction that really makes it difficult for you to become immersed in the experience, rather than the textual nature of the medium. Its hard to separate the interface and the experience, particularly in a form where the interface (the text) is really all there is to the experience…

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