Text Adventure Games - Saying Goodbye to Graphics, Made Easy!

Say Goodbye to Graphics
By Chris J Spencer


 While the MMORPG has exploded onto the gaming scene in the last few years (the market is now worth a massive $8 billion!), text adventure games have always been here. Lurking in the background, growing since 1975 when computer images were just a crazy fantasy, addicting games completely in text have bided their time. And now they are making their comeback. For many people, graphics just whet their appetite for virtual worlds, and when they had seen everything they realised it wasn't enough. What if there was an addicting game with no limit to what they could do? MUDs accepted them with open arms.


The Most Addicting Games Don't Have Graphics

 It's not like you're not welcome, either. Every text adventure game in existence has an extremely dedicated and enthusiastic bunch of players who are always willing to lend you a hand. It's often a daunting experience when you first step outside your virtual door and see text scroll before your eyes. Once you realise you are reading a book that changes with every movement you make and word you speak, you will see that you were just dipping your toe in the ocean of infinite possibility with MMORPGs. MUDs pick you up and throw you right in.

 There is nothing like the feeling of slipping through a crack in your universe and into another. The thrill of picturing beautiful landscapes and awe-inspiring feats the way you want to is second to nothing. You can forget about the humming struggle of your computer as it tries to load fancy graphics, your brain is far better at it anyway. Spend your time role-playing in jaw-dropping environments, creating dazzling clothing and items, solving challenging puzzles, immersing in politics and intrigue, defeating others in skillful combat - whatever your ambition, there will be a way to fulfill it. RPG text games will bring your character to life in a way that no ordinary MMO can.

 And as MMORPGs battle to capture the world's imagination, many titles come and go. Some are outwitted by the next game, some are beaten by graphical prowess, and some just run out of steam. Yet, text adventure games such as those designed and run by Iron Realms Entertainment expand from year to year, their number of players increasing. Why is this? Well, just like TV didn't destroy the radio, when the gaming world said goodbye to its text-based roots, MUDs didn't throw in the towel. Online text games have always thrived on dedicated gamers, experienced and inexperienced alike, and once people saw how limitless their text universes could be, they never left. Now that trickle of interest has turned into a flow as veterans of MMORPGs are realising the same thing.


Text Games are Absolutely Free

 Oh, did we mention that MUDs are free? With online text games you really do get out what you put in. There is no need to receive a hefty credit card bill every month just to kill the same monsters over and over again. Your character can live a rich and fulfilling text-based life without you ever having to spend a penny on his or her behalf. But if you don't have the time to get that steed you wanted or you fancy a little boost, Iron Realms Entertainment offers you the ability to invest a little spare cash if you choose to. And that's what MUDs are all about - choice.

 So, if you're bored with graphics, if you've exhausted your MMORPG world or if you just fancy a change, text adventure games are waiting for you. Take the plunge and say goodbye to graphics, you have nothing to lose.

If you are interested, try out these great text adventure games.

Chris Spencer is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from http://www.IronRealms.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Chris_J_Spencer


While I've left Achaea a few times for those fancy graphics MMO's, it seems I always come back

I tend to venture away to play some fancy graphical but they always have an "end" to them. In Achaea there really is no end and it is always there when you need it.

I much prefer exercizing my brain, playing Achaea, because graphics just don't leave anything to the imagination. And if you don't exercize your brain, what are you left with?

A big pile of goo that results in people that scream random slogans all the time. ALL THE TIME.


Also, the cake is a lie.

Good thing we don't do that, as MUDders...



There is no cake?!

This article (excellently written, by the way) fits Monroe's five-step motivational sequence to the T, if it had included graphics it would have been an infomercial.  

I don't think I could ever be "bored" with graphics. For me text MMO's and graphical MMO's fill two different niches. Sometimes I want to explore and actually look at carefully crafted landscapes or see my avatar decked out in armor.


Sometimes I'm in more of a "book" mood and want my imagination to take over.


I think that there are things graphical MMO's and text games could learn from each other. A graphical MMO with a crafting system that let players describe things in text as well as customize the apperance would be very cool. Text games, even IRE ones, could do with modernizing and streamlining gameplay mechanics to make the game more user friendly for players.


I mean, losing xp on death? That's so 20th century.

I agree with pretty much all of this, there are definitely perks to both. I play both graphical and text games for different reasons, but there are things from each I wish the other would have. I'm not sure that either one could completely fill the niche the other one provides.

I definitely agree - sometimes actually seeing your character do whatever cool stuff instead of reading a description of it is far more fulfilling. Especially when you get tired, your brain just processes the vibrant text as "got hit" instead of "excruciating pain causing me to writhe". Sometimes you also can't read fast enough as is the case during large group combat and just watch the text scroll past you without any idea as to what is actually going on.

I definitely agree - sometimes actually seeing your character do whatever cool stuff instead of reading a description of it is far more fulfilling. Especially when you get tired, your brain just processes the vibrant text as "got hit" instead of "excruciating pain causing me to writhe". Sometimes you also can't read fast enough as is the case during large group combat and just watch the text scroll past you without any idea as to what is actually going on.

I tend to play both at the same time, there's something about using your imagination that draws me to muds


and the freedom

Whenever I play graphical MMOs, I can feel my stress/antsiness level increasing by the minute. All the running around, the clickity-clickity, the CONSTANT AND FOREVER HOLDING DOWN THE WALK BUTTON. Yes yes, there's an "auto-walk" button, but its annoying to toggle on and off and sometimes it runs you off a cliff. Text games are obviously superior, in every way imaginable. Games like WoW are just grindfests or PvPfests, and granted theres alot of grinding and PvP in text games but with a constantly shaping world, theres always new reasons to fight, its not just like, Horde vs Alliance blabla, your character fights for beliefs, etc. Also, online text games.

The other fascinating perk of text MUDS is that it takes a very long time for you to get bored with it. When you're playing that shiny new Xbox game, sometimes you'll race through the campaign mode.. only to be finished with it sooner than you thought. It's rare that you find games that are fun to play the story mode multiple times through, but with MUDS, there typically isn't that feeling. Because they're growing and evolving every day, new challenges and experiences can creep up on you from anywhere, leaving it in a constant state that feels simply fresh.

I've played my fair share of MMORPGS but they just don't hold my attention as much as MUDS. I've lvled my toons on WoW to 85, and had to stop because it was all grinding. Then after that, what else is there to do? Keep running the same things over and over and over until you're so bored of the  place you refuse to play it anymore. I always end up meandering back to MUDS in some way shape or form because, when I've been gone a year and suddenly come back, tada, new skills and new classes galore! Its worth playing a MUD.

Imagination is way better than... well, whatever graphic games do.

I mean, when I am playing Lusternia I am not just reading a text description, I am inside the world, maybe not seeing it as it is described, maybe not seeing it at all, but seeing it the same way I see when I dream.

And that is way more interesting than having it all given. I don't care how a character should look, it looks the way I feel like too in that particular moment, and changes when my mood changes. Having it all "real" and "concrete" can be eyecharming but boring in the long run.


So, go text MUDs go

The only graphic games that's kept my interest for as long / longer than Achaea is the Infinity Engine games (BG/BG2/IWD/IWD2/PS: T). All other graphic games is come, play it a bit, leave then a few month later repeat the process. Donno what it is!

I find my relation with MUD's to be somewhat odd and confusing. I don't have a very long attentions span, my heart and sole is in Console Gaming, I don't really care for any RPG's after since Super Nintendo, i detest the repetitition in -ALL- MMORPG's (hell, the only one I have ever liked was City of Heros/Villains and that was just fun for making super the character.) If I could play any kind of game from card and board games to WOW or MKO, it would be the God of Wars, the Devil May Cry's, the Resident Evils, and the Modern Warfares. Those are my kind of games! Yet, here I am..... posting pointless comments I otherwise wouldn't waste time with to get 1 single bound credit for my character on Midkemia. I've been playing MUD's (mostly just Achaea but tried out many and have found I love MKO) for about 8 or 9 years now. I move or lose net, still come back in time. I give up on my character, still come back in time. I sit for hours on end submerging myself into an online world I can't get enough of..... and I'm really not even a big reading kinda guy to top it off. It's an odd attraction indeed and I still  don't understand how I play something without the amazingly brutal and oh-so-kicka** graphics of the games I mentioned earlier.

I'm still around, still playing text based muds.


Because of potentially awesome playerbases, and the ability to constantly write my characters whole life story out anyway I wish, and see all the many interactions of relationships of all sorts played out over and over.


That, and there are just times that you need to kill something, and doing that on a Mud is ...legal. :D

If I pay <x> amount a month for a game, I've GOT to play enough to justify it. But with MUDs, I could get up and walk away if I feel like it.

Oddly enough, I did a project over just this.  I love the history of text-based games, it is really interesting that through it all, text-based gaming has survived through it all, and I still find it more fun and interesting than video-gaming.  I have tried MMORPG's before, and some of them are just so boring... bash this so many times, then go bash this so many times... boooooring!

It really does allow you to use your imagination. Even with the most verbose room descriptions, you have to fill in all of the details on your own. That said, the map does help give you some much-needed sense of direction.

The reason I enjoy text-based gaming is the same reason I enjoy literature: it offers a certain flexibility and penetrates to a certain part of your brain that graphics do not. I enjoy graphics, too, in much the same way I enjoy movies, but words have a special place in my heart, so to speak.

Eye-candy is nice, community and ability to create as a player is nicer. 

I've always been a fan of RPG's on the consoles. Zelda, Final Fantasy, etc. But I never could submerge for hours on end in MMORPG's for some reason. MUD's on the other hand have drawn me in for some reason. Perhaps it's the infinite possibilities as mentioned in the article, or just the programmer in me enjoying the simplistic scripting from simple aliases for custom emotes to the ever-changing and ever-expanding combat system required to try and have a fighting chance to keep the character alive. Whatever the case, I am sure I will forever be a MUD player regardless of how fancy the graphics get on the MMORPG's out there.

I've been an avid player of text games for over 5 years, and I still play some graphic-heavy games, but there is nothing like the satisfaction you get from pwning someone in text-combat. Fact.

I remember starting out playing my first muds a long time ago. I then remember when it was so cool that I could play neverwinter nights online on AOL back when it cost an arm and a leg to use the internet. It was the written text combined with some graphics even though they started out rather basic. As new graphics and online games came out I transitioned over and over again. The games would have less and less of a roleplay aspect to them. A couple years ago I came full circle back to all text and found my first true love again and don't plan on leaving. 

I personally find text based games far more suitable for mmos than perhaps graphic based, due to text allowing more open gameplay and imagination then graphics alone. Graphic games are best for more straight forward gameplay where its more short sighted and more narrated.

I could never bring myself to play them for longer than a week For me, they lack the true depth and vivid imaginary world that I get from playing games like Lusternia. After three years in this game, every time I say I'm going to try something else with graphics, I wind up coming back. I don't know about the rest of you, but online MUDs are where it's AT!

To the IRE and especially to the Lusternia development team; thank you for making my gaming esperience an enjoyable and memorable one!

text can offer what graphics can't, but sometimes i just want to see pretty colors

I agree completely. Sometimes you just want to mindlessly waste time vegging out without care or concern of reading anything 

Happy times.

I am new to games like this sort, I used to sit at home and play lots of games on my xbox, and I randomly got an invite to join the world of Achaea.  I have played games with pen and paper at home with friends like Dungeons and Dragons and I figured this was where I could REAAAALLY act out a character to the best of my abilities.  My Jester in the game I created off a halfling rogue character I had played with friends before.


I am so far having a blast and am so very glad to have joined, the Crown Merchants are really cool people and Hashan has very helpful people in it so far.  I can say that I have diverted most of my time from my old graphics ways to playing Achaea.


My only complaint is the cost of credits, it is VERY expensive, but being a Merchant I have been able to pay for alot of it with gold I earn, so its more rewarding to me.  I am young though and I suppose it will encourage me to get a job to pay for some things!  Lots of skills to learn though for sure.  Maybe I will get lucky and win a competition like a Great Hunt someday!

I'll always prefer text games over graphics. Graphical games will always have limitations where imagination is without boundries. Being able to imagine something completely my own in my head and making it seem real is definitely more viable in a text world, because I'll never be versed enough in programming to make it into something with graphics.

Honestly, I myself am not much of an avid reader, but strangely I was drawn to muds.


THat's because the longer you played the less you actually read, you "see"

very nice article, Ive been into text games since i was 15, and just joined Achaea a few months ago.. and nothing i played before is like this MMO. 

There's just something about MUDs that transcend the 'replayability' aspect that so many graphics games try so hard to achieve.

I jump around a lot with games, but somehow, I always find myself coming back to Imperian. :)



I have found that quitting WoW (again) for Lusternia has been better for me this time around, but World of Warcraft always motivated me to do more with myself than Lusternia does. Not that the former is at all better than the latter -no, I reall appreciate the vast an awesome opportunities of IRE games, but I'm just kinda lazy at them

A well written article on how MUDs tend to work their magic. I tend to get easily bored to games I've gotten addicted to, but with MUDs, the addiction is constant. Not to mention that I don't feel like I'm wasting any time, since everything you do causes you to learn something or other. For example, a lot of the in-game politics, with a bit of thought, can be related to real-world examples and can be quite a fun topic to fill your head while you're relaxing and playing blackjack in the MUD. :)

I have always found that graphics may be beautiful and entertaining, but it leaves you 0 room for imagination.

Not to mention that text-based games can be played over the slowest of connections, or on the oldest of hardware... or even, now, on a smartphone in a field!

Playing a MUD is like reading a book. After the initial shock and when your mind wraps around the whole concept, it's way better than any graphics MMORPG. Plus, no graphics means no hardware limitations. Therefore the game can be way more complex...just like Achaea.

Indeed, graphic mmorpgs have their appeals, but nothing beats a well made textual world. Imagination runs wild!

This article made me compare the only MMORPG I've played with the only MUD I've played: WoW vs. Aetolia. I've enjoyed each for their own specific reasons, I've quit them both only to return later with renewed interest. One thing I like about WoW that IRE has yet to catch up on is the fact that there are a number of dedicated Warcraft-related Android apps for my phone. Lookin' forward to that IRE app that lets me honors anyone I want from my mobile!

There's still a place for visual arts in a text game, just look at the Artisanals. But the best part of MUDding is like the author said, you can extend your character and the game in any way you can imagine instead of waiting for the newest content to be released.

I've given World of Warcraft a few tries, six to be exact, and I keep coming back to Iron Realms. The dynamic environment and the freedom of play in Imperian allows me to have more fun without being confined to run dailies, run dungeons, run dailies, run dungeons.

I'm not much of a reader, but the depth of MUDs and the political possibilities granted to my character were pretty enticing.



It's the wide range of possibilities and interactions with the other players that makes this so addictive. No graphics means less limitations.

I'd like to see a graphical game try and do some Lovecraftian non-euclidean geometry.

Engaging my imagination engages me.




I've been doing text-based things since the little adventure game that used to be on my dad's old monster green-screened IBM from work, heh. Graphics are nice, but I love to read so it's not really a big thing for me either way.

It's the fantasy that gives the game, everytime you play a game with graphics it's just as the creater wanted it to be like, in an Text based you use your imagination and everyone got a different picture, also after talking to some people you can see it in another way. also I love Achaea because there is no end to it. in like WoW you can get the best gear and then it gets dull and boring in Achaea there's always new things to do. Top lists, get gear, get levels, fish, raid, combat, leader positions a lot. So I can enjoy a graphic game but it will always end the same way. I rush and get to the top and get the best things, then I can either wait for an expansion or I quit until the expansion is released. so I rather enjoy Achaea but a graphic game can be a break from it

If graphical MMOs ever offered half of the gameplay potential of their text based counterparts, I might seriously consider making one my new gaming addiction. That said real RP, immersive gameplay, player run orgs, player designed estates/objects/etc... these are the things that make MUDs superior to their flashier cousins, IMO.


Gain everything else

Are so limiting..



Never got into WoW or Aion, the last one looks pretty lame except for the flyyying. Spend way too much time on Achaea, and its good.


Achaea does everything better than graphical mmo's.

customizable objects and spaces give text games a big edge, and is really only limited by the players' imaginations (or writing abilities)

poor tv...

I love how some someone said, "quit saying 'addicting games'!" and it hasn't been used since. that aside, I love graphics, they give fuel to my imagination, showing me what things can look like and then my mind works off that, creating something better and more beautiful than if I;d never seen a snowy mountain or sparkling river.

for a credit. Graphicals are inferior.


I actually enjoy Achaea a lot more than the graphic games.

Tried to play graphical games, but after I started playing Achaea... there is no RP equivalent.  It's actually a soothing way to play, instead of frustrating.