Online Text Games - Four Common Myths
By Jonathan Castello
Online text games, often called text adventures or MUDs, are a notable alternative to graphical games like World of Warcraft. There are literally hundreds of them, and most are free to play! Unfortunately, many people have strange ideas about what a text game is; the opinion I usually hear is that text games are less fun because they lack graphics. That's a shame, because text-based games are just as fun, and they're even better than graphical games in many cases. Here I'll list some common myths and explain why they're untrue.
1. "Text games are hard to play."
Every game is a little difficult the first time you play it! Take baseball, for example: If you've never played baseball before, you definitely won't be able to win the World Series! Yet you only need to learn a few basic rules to start having fun, and text games are the exact same way.
To someone unused to text, of course, the biggest challenge is living without graphics. But once you've played a while, you begin to craft a vision with your imagination, and it becomes second nature. Text adventures are often compared to books because of this, and it's a fair comparison. The difference with text adventures is that you can never tell what happens next!
2. "Nobody else plays text games."
It is true, of course, that fewer people play MUDs than behemoths like RuneScape, but that doesn't mean nobody plays! For example, the Iron Realms games usually have hundreds of players online. Even late at night, it's never a solitary experience. Many online text games are very community-oriented, so you can always find other players to interact with.
3. "You have to use dumb Telnet to connect."
A "telnet" program is a common utility found on most operating systems, like Windows and Mac. It's used completely from a text-only command terminal. While you can use it to play online text adventures, almost nobody does this anymore! Instead, there are several excellent full-featured clients that can be used to connect to any MUD, including Mudlet, CMUD, and a bunch of others. These are very powerful, easy-to-use clients that many people use to play. Of course, just like web browsers, each one is different and everyone has a favorite.
Some MUD owners provide their own custom clients. Iron Realms has two basic quick-start clients called Nexus and FMud, which make their games some of the easiest to jump right into. In fact, they even include graphical widgets that show your information at a glance!
4. "There's nothing fun to do."
Well, "fun" is always subjective, but there are tons of different activities a text-based game can have. In many MUDs, player-versus-player combat - often called PvP - is extremely popular. In others, you might find a focus on player-built organizations and politics. You might find role-playing, quests and achievements, exploration, and more. And because text is so cheap, features and improvements can be added much more quickly than any graphical game! If you've never played any online text-based games, you're doing yourself a disservice. They may be different from what you're used to, but once you make the first step, you'll be glad you did. Find one you like, stick with it for a week, and see what you can learn. You might just find a new virtual home!
To learn more, try out the Iron Realms online text games.
Jonathan Castello is a player and text game enthusiast from www.IronRealms.com.
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