RPG Games: Why Do You Like Text Games?

rpg game diabolist

Why do some people appreciate text games and others would rather play graphical MMO role playing games? This question is discussed often in clans throughout Iron Realms. I think I have come up with things to consider.


If you crave customizing your world and possessions to be uniquely yours, you may enjoy a text game.


Housing, furniture, clothing, and pets can be fully customized. The player or playerbase can change even cities, and organizations. Sometimes the things you can change are free, as in your description, the way you walk and talk. Other times they are fairly quick and inexpensive, such as clothing and jewellery, and sometimes they need to be long-term goals that can unfold over a number of real life months or years.


If you like to imagine places you read about in any kind of fiction, especially fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction, you may enjoy a text game.


 Each of the Iron Realms worlds draws its inspiration from different kinds of fiction, be it historical, magicks, vampires, science or even the works of Midkemia, Iron Realms has a land for you. Each world is rich in detail; many places are so well described that you can see them before your very eyes.


If you tire of canned responses and canned outcomes, you may enjoy a text game.


 In this case, you are in for a wonderful surprise. Player interaction with each other and with denizens can be a fun role playing game experience. While most NPCs have a set of normal responses, the Administrators animate them as well. It is not unusual for a guard to start singing, or a bartender to be especially attentive. Sure, you can often do the same quest over and over if you choose, but if you want variety, the possibilities are astounding. Did I mention that many quests have multiple solutions?


If you delight in responding in unpredictable situations, or improvising, you may enjoy a text game.


 Improv aficionados, this one’s for you! You never know what will come out of the mouths and brains of the other players and it can be great fun to roll with the action and see where it leads!


If you enjoy the challenges of learning how things work and setting goals, you may enjoy a text game.


There are mind puzzles, spatial puzzles and word games in many of the quests in IRE rpg games. There are hundreds, if not thousands of quests. Each world is complex and as you learn more about it, you can add layers of complexities. For example, if you have your class skills down pat, learn a trade! Done with requirements for your Guild or House? Join an Order!


If you enjoy immersing yourself in a role completely, you may enjoy a text game.


There is no preset appearance, you decide what you look like, talk like, what you believe and how you live your life. Unlike graphical role playing games, there are few, if any, limitations. You can interact with a chosen family, various organizations like cities, houses, guilds and orders. You can also change organizations, most of the time with few repercussions. You decide.

Beth E. is a text game enthusiast who enjoys the best role playing games from Iron Realms!


...the imagery of it all. You can create your own fantasy world and take an escape from reality, building it up around yourself. The more I get immersed, the more I visualise/manifest it building up infront of my eyes! I can be who I want, add things to my char, take away things, physically and psychologically. I don't have to put up with someone else's perceptions of what a char or world should look like, or be limited to the range of clothing and weapons in an MMO game, no matter how exuberant or glamorous they may be. The options are endless and they have no limit, an RPG is yours to create.

+10 to this article

what actually happens when we say "+something"? is it in anyway beneficial or detrimental?

+10. weird.

yes yes 

It's the customising for me.


Except I'm still not rich or skilled enough to really do that.

Neither am I, I don't know why the make the most attractive feature of muds so prohibitively expensive.


Also, I don't think I've seen an MKO quest that has multiple solutions.

I didn't have a look at the prices yet, but I'm pretty sure that a friendly tailor would make customised clothes for you at quite low cost.

well I like to think features are so expensive to force you to specialize in a few... realistically, one shouldn't be proficient in everything :D

Indeed! Love the customising.

Yep, it's the customization here too. I can have a 100% unique character. Something any graphical MMO just can't offer.

This is all too true.

This is all too true.

This is all too true.

This is all too true.

This is all too true.

This is all too true.

This is all too true.

This is all too true.

gotta love it

Customs for the win.

what seperates text gamers from graphical gamers; a text gamer is rarely strictly MUDs and will play 3d games, but getting a hardcore console gamer to play a text game and *gasp* use their imagination, its like pulling teeth.


whats also funny is that you can generalize the audience of console games. 13-16 year olds love Halo and Call of Duty, casual gamer girls dig Animal Crossing, but you cant generalize the text game audience. then again, its a very small audience, so theres less to generalize.

this is so true. A lot of my friends are gamers, but I have only gotten one friend to even try out a text based game, and he gave up after an hour. Its ridiculous, trying to get people to try something new!

Also, the CoD player base is a good deal older than that. Im a CoD player and most of the people i've met are in there 20's.

you're not thinking of Battlefield? :D

My friends who commonly play those games, have also proven difficult to convince! To stay for long, anyhow.

I'm a very auditory person and not a visual one. For this reason, I prefer text-based games over graphical ones. People say I must have a good imagination but I don't. I have a good...love for linear reasoning I guess.

The Power of Imagination!!!

I personally prefer to play graphical MMORPG's but I have yet to find one that contains the depth that an IRE world has.  Cities aren't run by players, theres no RP, guilds are pretty much pointless, they are too repetitive, I like MUDs because the players are what control everything. 

I play because I've always liked stories and I feel more like I'm helping create one when the game is in text format.

The best part for me is being able to get to know many different people, who are all playing characters that are aiming towards a similar goal


Definitely, and there's some depth to it. Not just 'Yay I made pretty things on my screen that spell looked cool!', but you can get some actual thought and real interaction. I think that's why it's so easy to get addicted to a MUD.

You found comraderie with others aiming to hold all the cards at the same time you're aiming for that yourself? Awesome!

Definately the community!

The people indeed

Was trying to think of what it is and the community was the only real thing that popped up. Especially since bashing got nerfed in Achaea a couple of years ago :(

How much more I could do in a text-game than in any other kind of game. The customization, and combat level (skill-wise, and by skill, I mean actual skill... though I guess that can still be bought via systems nowadys) was astounding to me.


I have always felt like I could do more and experience more with text games. Sure, you have to use your imagination. But that's part of what makes it fun. And besides, I loved reading growing up. This is just reading and being able to change the plot and outcome.

Ditto! :P

It has to be this.

I enjoy the unpredictability of it all.  Like the article stated, graphical mmos just are to cut and dry with thier ideas on how armor or weapons should look and how you the player interacts with the world.  i like how i decide what I wear and use and how I react to situations.  To me, it feels like a giant game of D&D which I am all for 

is awfully scary :O

The nice part about graphical MMOs is that you don't have to put a whole lot of thought into it. If you want some time to veg and hang out with some buddies, it might be the place for you. Or, if you are hardcore into killing the baddies and want to raid all the time.


But, text games have an intimacy that graphic games don't. You have that ability to customise, yes. But you also have the ability to shape your destiny. You get to decide what god you follow, if any, where you live and what side you chose to be on. Or when to ride the fence if you prefer it. Maybe you want to make a profit off of both sides, maybe you want to stir up trouble. All are possible if you have the will and imagination to do it. But, the downside can tend to be that if you get really immured you might easily become bogged down with player responsabilities. While these can be rewarding I recommend that you at least take a breather every now and again. Do something spontaneous and keep the game interesting.

I like the great interaction with other players

Tru fax

I like to read and I fell in love with text games when I was a child. Later on, I had my first experience with a MUD, and later more evolved text-based adventure games. For me, my imagination is a far better graphics engine than any computer or console.


I am an avid first person shooter player, and I do play other games, but I feel that the community in the graphic-bases multiplayer games is largely illusory, with people OOC being over 95% of the conversation.

Yeah, people staying IC 99% of the time made me quite happy and still keeps me hooked.

I started playing Achaea because I like roguelikes and it seemed a bit alike.

I stayed because of the player interaction, the quests and hunts and because of the lack of crappy graphics.

The thing that caught me up with text games was the sheer imagination of it all. I've always disliked how RPG's typically restrict you to one sort of roleplay with very generic grinding quests (WoW). Achaea opens all many avenues to go down.

For me the freedom that isn't provided by other rpg is what makes it worth playing, and the things that you can't do or can't make, you can at times just ask a divine to help you with it and they can and often will help you make it happen. I have yet to find this kind of interaction with any other games.

I really enjoy the freedom to chose your path, then change your mind later, and change your mind again!

A great read

I like the extreme complexity of the game.  Locations, skills, items.  And the large number of players


I'd rather play a graphical game than an MUD, but I'd rather play an Iron Realms game than anything else.


And yes, you can use that as a testimonial on the homepage.


This article is very well written and does a fantastic job in hitting the high points in why playing text-games. Personally, I have never wanted to play any graphical game as much as I want to play Achaea. I find it enjoyable to be able to sit down and be a co-arthur in a long-story. 


I play text games for the ENDLESS possibilities

In text based games, literally anything is possible, because what the text says is pretty much what takes place.  In a game that is limited by pictures, only what is scripted into the game can be done.  In a text based game, if it is not scripted in the game you can simply use a personal EMOTE to make happen whatever you were trying to make happen.

I like text games for all the mud sex.

I like them for the potential of building something and getting somewhere besides places in Real Life. Let's me escape and think outside the box.

I like text-games because they certainly confer more freedom to the player, as opposed to many graphical MMOGs

I prefer the written word over graphic games. Aetolia's kind of clique-y with the better writers gathered in a clump, but I still prefer it over other MMO's.

I like the customising and being able to create my own space.

For the complexity that graphical games cant give.

I like being able to actually affect the world and the other people in it


I enjoy the politics and interaction everyone and teaching new players to appreciate the rich landscape that we have.

With text being so easily edited, it is far easier to add, remove, or alter even the core game mechanics of a text RPG, something that would take many man hours and a major overhaul to accomplish in a graphical MMO.

I enjoy that because it means IRE games are ever changing as features are introduced, balanced, or retired for the good of gameplay.


Interesting read.

Because MMORPG's don't give you gold/credits when you post a comment on their website ?

That's jaded... Text based games allow ones imagination run wild.

It's just different than graphic games and I think it makes things more complex and that is more attractive to some people.

Though I've encountered graphical games that are more customizeable than IRE games, it's sometimes just nice for me to sit back and read while I play. Excellent article.

WIth graphical games youa re limited to what you see on the screen and pre-set actions, but in a text game you really have no limitations on what you can do, you just have to be willing to deal with the consequences!

Because of the customizations

It's the ish.

I have to say, I love the deep customization of text games.

I enjoy making new online friends, and learning new skills

It makes the day go faster



I think what it comes down to is your ability to convert words into richly detailed images in your mind.


I guess some people can't do it, so they play WoW


I've played this long mainly because the group of friends I've amassed over six to ten years. The endless storylines and almost infinite possibilities keep me amused far more than any boxed game.

less time consuming than conventional mmorpgs

and more fun!

Visuals are more and more important in the real world, just like films replacing books. It is nice to make your own visuals in your head for once.

I love that it is my imagination that makes this game fun for me. 

I like how the world is always changing around me. I compare it to opening a book and reading a new story every day.

I like how the world is always changing around me. I compare it to opening a book and reading a new story every day.

It is like being part of the book.

It's all about storytelling, for me, and collaboration. So much of the living, breathing world is unscripted and unmanaged which leaves more than enough room for the people to create their own histories and stories and adventures without either intruding on canon or having the world get in our way. 

I think the first point nails it for me: what you can create is only limited by your imagination and your ability to describe it.

I enjoy text games because they leave many things up to my imagination :)

Text games for me are awesome because I'm also an avid bookworm. I love to read!  I have to agree with a lot of others that the custumization is a good draw to text games as well. I get to decide how I look, how I speak, what my history is, what the things I make look like, etc etc. And that's another thing! I looove that you can craft things in most of the IRE games (not quite sure about Achaea or Midkemia?). I also love that you don't have to do combat. Oh, you still can...but you don't have to if you don't want to.

For text games in general, the variability is wonderful. For IRE games, it's the quests. The best I've ever seen.


The quests are amazing, full of creative features and not ludicrously obscure. 

The freedom.

..From my phone, no less!

:) the smiley faces


:) Yes more of these

 Has anybody noticed how graphical games are pitiful compared to text when it comes to the general size of the game? Graphical games can't see many new features without a huge overhaul. With text, there's so much more to do. You'll never run out of things to find or try. Graphical games, on the other hand, is the same thing over and over again. How boring. I can't wait to see what IRE pulls off in the future.


The bottom line: Stick to the text, 'cause everything else is boring compared to it. ;)  

And all true


Which game or where is that picture from?


is from Imperian. A Noctusari I believe.

Customization really is everything. If you had as much free range of creation and movement in WoW as you do in IRE games, I'd probably be playing more MMORPGs.

it's like watching a movie or reading a book.  Reading the book is always better



Gotta love dem mud secks logs.


it was all about local bbs' , before the net was popular. met spouse there and we met many friends, that kept me hooked.

not seeing things before hand and never knowing what terror or creature was around the next corner always sparked my interest having been an avid fantasy book enthusiast in highschool.

Graphics cut down on the RP element. Just plain and simple. I have a cynical view of graphics-based games as they relate and purport to enhance RP, and I've found just that Text-based games are better. Same reason I still play pen-and-paper - Forced RP

I'm just not sure games with graphics are necessarily trying to facillitate RP to begin with. Certainly text games are better for it, given their flexibility and the way that you can EMOTE anything an won't have a visual avatar just sitting there listlissly on the screen. Not to mention how the world changes based on our actions. But most games, I think, treat RP as an afterthought, if indeed they consider it at all.

A hard question. 

I like reading books, I like watching movies. I see anyone who asks "why would you play a text game when you could play one with graphics?" on the same level as someone who asks "why would you read a book when you could watch a movie?"



I like text games so I can dominate pets.

I didn't understand text games or the point of them. i have a good imagination and all, but it was just like, i'd rather play something I cann see the image of then think about it. but i've come to think of it more as an unfinished book, a book with no ending that has many different stories inside it as well as options that YOU can choose. 

Concise, hits on the points that need to be.

What better way to unwind after a hard day at work???

For me it's all about the freedom - to do anything I want. There are no set goals or linear quests set out for me in order to get somewhere. And even without that, you're not even bound to level to become the mightiest of them all. Politics and other social aspects of the IRE games makes it a fun experience for everyone!

I love words!

Words are the foundation of our society. The physical realm is limited however through words we make it infinite. Why settle with a static environment when a dynamic one is so much more profund. Just as it was stated above, if there was one word that can summarise the article it would be imagination.

Imagination rocks

Iron Realms players all have one thing in common. They can SEE words whether its in a book or in a mud. The words we read translate into amazing images that we can put ourselves into. I pity the poor person who cannot do this. 

Text games not only challenge your english, but also your will. This was, the people who don't have enough charecter to actually keep strong withing the game, adapt and socialize, won't survive. It builds a community of hardcore text gamers and keeps out anyone who just enjoys annoying others

Text game worlds can look like whatever you want it to look like, which is even more interesting, I must say.

I've never tried an MMORPG, but what I love about text games is that it feels like a great mental workout. You're processing all this text, imagining the world and actions around you, converting aliases or commands into actions, all while staying IC and building your character/feeding off of others. You are constantly immersed in creativity.


Text games leave quite abit to the imagination, so you get to have fun with it


I like the fact that my graphics card can (just about) handle MKO ;)

Because after playing this game for almost a decade it still has me hooked.


Text games seem less grindy than most MMOs. Walking from village A to cave B is lovely the first time but gets tedious very quickly when you spend most of your time walking and less doing something interesting. Text games let you run from one end of the world to another nice and quickly, most of the time. 

I likethem for the unknown that interacting with other live people brings.

In muds like Achaea the possibilities are pretty much endless. The story is dynamic which makes it so much fun!

Text games allow you to freely imagine things how you want, instead of restricted to a game with graphic's graphics, it also let's you customize everything so much more.

The complete control over every aspect of your character's life.


that you as a character can change/influence the game.

I like text games because you get to build some of the world in your head. It's the same reason books are always better then the movie.

I enjoy text based games because of the amount of versatility. I can create my own character based actions with emote, my description is completely up to me and the amount of different items that can be made is nearly limitless. While I absolutely love Graphics based MMO's (including WoW, I enjoy exploring all the detailed areas) I am a bit too addicted to having things my way. Someday, perhaps, they'll be able to twine these two worlds of Graphical MMOs and the versatility and customization of MUDS

I think my favorite reason is the great variety of options available.


What I like is that text games have far more intricate worlds than graphical games.

There are SO many different characters!


mostly to escape for a while



Its about the depth available and the level of customisation you can accomplish

I always wanted to play massive multiplayer rpgs a couple of years ago..then i came onto the mud scene.Finally i ended up with Achaea..awesome game...got me hooked for almost 5 years now

For me, it's the difference between reading the book and imagining the world for yourself versus seeing the world and being forced to use others' interpretations of it.

It's like reading a book and watching a movie made from a book. Sometimes I'm disappointed because what I'd been imagining for an entire series of books, is nothing what the director thinks it should look like and changes my whole perspective of the story sometimes.

It's like reading a book and watching a movie made from a book. Sometimes I'm disappointed because what I'd been imagining for an entire series of books, is nothing what the director thinks it should look like and changes my whole perspective of the story sometimes.

Best thing about it is the life you create. It really becomes your second life you have friends that often become real life friends. 

After a long day sometimes it's nice to log into the game and just not think about the real life stress. Although the game has it's own stress factor as well, but it's never as bad as real life!

I like the escape too and the ability to play and shape the world. It's a good kind of work that lets me use my imagination and set little to no limits.

I like graphical and text games ,the graphics ones unfortunately give about 18h of fun..muds have kept me busy for nearly 4/5 years,And I still enjoy it!

I love reading books and I love the possibilities you have in Achaea. There are no limit to imagination.


 This. And to add the fact that MUD games are BUILDABLE worlds as well..

The whole customization angle sure is really nice. Also, RP! Though I still feel as though I need to know Cadfael better... and probably read the histories.

The great thing is if we can emagin it it can usualy be done in a text game. 

It's always hard to describe Achaea to other people who don't know what a text-based game is. They are like... woa that sounds boring! How do you have fun playing in words and they have this idea that you type every little thing out, but what makes it so fun is the fact that as mentioned you build this world uyp around yourself and it really teaches you a hell of alot when it comes to making reflexes and such. People always comment how fast I type using only two fingers (Hehe) but I tell them Achaea is to thank for that. One way I describe this game to people is by telling them it is like reading a really good book that never ends and actually being one of the characters within the book.

I second that. It's like a book that I'm a part of. That never really ends.

It's a book you write yourself.

Like many here I suspect, I fell in love with text games because it allows for great depth and more actively uses imagination. The game can be anything you want.

I like that the world provides a template that you can then create by imagination. Graphics often disappoint.

I love a goodlooking game but they tend to get boring after a while, MUDS are more live and you can change the gameplay after your own choices.


I love the customization, and visualization of it all.  I see people how I want to see them, hear them how I want to hear them, and get to do what I want with emotes. 



text mangos

I was considering WoW, but then I thought about how much better the mangos would taste in text!


RP and customization. Isn't the same in graphical games.


I like them because you use your imagination, and the opprotunities for your character are only limited to your desires in the game!!

I played zork in my formative years

I played zork in my formative years

Gotta love how people are still posting here

Why shouldn't they, they get free credits.  I doubt if many would if that incentive was gone. I would certainly not.

Gotta keep posting!

lately, i love how clients screw with you in the beginning, and then act like a well-paid employee when you start understanding the whole thing.

customization is a big part of it.  Very hard to replicate the depth of a text game in graphics, also.

cos i don't need to buy a new computer everytime they bring out an upgrade!

I'm an avid World of Warcraft junkie, but after awhile even all the billions of dollars worth of graphical artwork in that game, I need to take a break for months sometimes. I come back to Imperian just to give my eyes a break and use my imagination. I get tired of being shown what things should look like and in a text game I can imagine it looks like how I want it to look. I can customize my clothing, my weapon, my pet. I love designing my house the way I want it. It's great.


I also like how I can volunteer behind the scenes and feel a part of the game even more. Being a Docent, Guide, Celani, even a God if I work hard enough at it. I can control a piece of the game.

Hi Lemuela!

Lower system requirements to play. More opportunities to interact. Limitless customization and exploration.

Lower system requirements to play. More opportunities to interact. Limitless customization and exploration.

Lower system requirements to play. More opportunities to interact. Limitless customization and exploration.

point and click is so dull, this has more variation

Text sex.


I had enough of that in college.

flirting online, it's fun

I love the crazy freedom I get that Graphic mmo's cannot offer. For the most part its mostly free of trolls and spammers (you know thoes newbies that sit there in populated area's shouting out across the server a gold advertisment.) 

Secondly it allows for almost unlimited rp interactions, that I find to get on mmo's. 

It's fun! :)

I love for all the reasons listed. being able to customize every little thing, no preset storylines, no end game. It just goes on forever, and you can do anything.

Customization of practically every facet of your character, and the opportunity to create whatever you want if it doesn't already exist - which, by extension, can add further immersion to the game for others to enjoy with or after you. The ability to create this immense, boundless web of creative projects in a fictional world is pretty groovy, I think.

I love text games because you have to use your imagination and aren't a slave to whatever the game maker has chosen... like massively breasted female characters in swatches instead of clothing :/. The RP is the best of course along with the ability to create so many things. I like Aetolia for the ability to create and design more than Achaea has allowed, but in return unfortunately Aetolia has a lot more laxity in quality due to the player base that can afford to pay the minimal fee in control of approvals and denials. Spontaneity rather than an already written story line with no flexibility is nice, too. I play mmorpgs when I don't want to deal with people at all because I've never found one with decent RP that doesn't include l33t speak and other crap.

text is like a book

and a book is text!

As touched upon in the article, customisation is a big factor in why I love playing Achaea. From changing my characters appearance and clothes, to eventually (hopefully!) becoming a chef and designing dishes, the ability to express myself while playing is important to me.


In addition, inkeeping with the idea of expressing myself, I love the roleplay.The freedom of the tmote system makes it a lot of fun!

Best thing: They are available when I am

sky is the limit - open ended

you are limited only by your imagination.


All of the above :)

is where it's at. The average, and even above-average mmorpg's don't have it.

the RP.

because its flexible and you can come up with things on the fly that cannot be hardcoded in a lot of video games.  Also it takes up less resources/screen space so you can still do work whilst logged in.

the smaller population size of a IRE game creates closer relationships than with a large MMORPG like WoW.  It doesn't take long for you to know everyone in your city/house. 

Flexibility and true power to change the way things are.

they are cool


like IRE doesn't know...