Text Adventure Games: Three Things Text Games Have Prepared Me For In Real Life

Text Adventure Gamer

By Derek McCullough

For many of us, gaming is a chance to learn and grow. Sure, we may have fun with the game itself, but sometimes there are also lessons that come from playing that bleed over into every day life. Here are three things that I've noticed which I've gained from my experiences playing text-based games that bled over into my real life.

1. Typing Skills are Improved.
First and foremost, my typing skills have dramatically improved in the ten years which I have been playing online text games. I never was much of a 'homerow typer', mostly because my memory is awful. But somehow, through many hours of playing text adventure games, my muscle memory took over where my mental memory died off (almost literally). With so many hours logged playing these text games, I went from typing a meager 30 words per minute to almost 110 words per minute. Sure, I get mixed up from time to time like anyone, but for the most part, my typing is spot on with roughly 90 percent accuracy.

2. Social Skills Galore
For shy people like myself, there is some comfort in having a computer screen between you and someone new that you are talking to in text games for the first time. It may seem kind of weak, but I find it easier to talk through text than I do through voice. In the beginning of my text gaming, I was never very social. I was always afraid of being judged and mocked. Luckily for me, that slowly changed over time (with the help of some really awesome players I've met in my time playing text adventure games), and now I'm more willing to engage with people. Now, with the bleed over, I find myself more willing to approach people of whom I have little knowledge in the workplace and am able to strike up a conversation. My public speaking skills have drastically improved. And above all else, I find myself a happier person overall knowing that I CAN talk to people.

3. Creative Writing Skills are a Plus
I was never much of a creative writer (I'm still not that great). However, with my exposure to text adventure games, I've found certain creative elements within my brain that are getting more and more exercise through playing text games. From coming up with roleplay story elements to describing, in detail, a character's appearance or some other aspect of the text game, I'm vastly improved from where I was even a few years ago. And it's not just creative writing, but writing in general. I'm better versed in the English language. I've expanded my vocabulary leaps and bounds, as well as increased my knowledge of grammar and sentence structure.

So, what do you say? Maybe text-based games, or MUDs, can do something special for you, too. Who knows? You might even find that you're capable of more than you thought. All it takes is simply logging in to a text adventure game and giving it a go. What have you got to lose?

Experience the benefits of text adventure games today with some of the top text-based games.

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


As funny as this may sound, I actually find typing skills regressing. While there has been some increase in actual speed, I find that punctuation, capitalizing and even spelling in some cases tends to get worse (especially with a slew of aliases). I also find that you get used to trying to type everything super fast, it increases typos.

I do like the article and the other two points mentioned for sure!

My typing skills have drastically improved since I started playing IRE games, but then again, I also started playing Achaea back when I was eight, so I guess I could do nothing but improve over time, heh.

I find my critical thinking and problem solving have also increased. When I first started playing with a now deleted character, I couldn't do much to resolve quests. Now, I can explore and figure out how to resolve quests, and this spills over to my daily life, as I often find myself facing new situations that need to be resolved differently each time.

I have found ways to handle anger issues, through working them out via Achaea, Imperian and now onto Midkemia Online. When faced with someone wronging you, I used to get so upset and want to issue the player. Now, I've matured and think more appropriately. This also applies in my life as a soldier. If it is a matter of shooting the enemy, I will, but sometimes I need to be mature and resolve my issue without violence, by using some form of diplomacy and possibly cunning.

If you decide to go the way of politics in one of the IRE games and become a leader, you can learn how to better work with people, even lead them, in school or work. If nothing else, playing a leader in a text-game can cause you to become more self-aware; your strengths and weaknesses in communication - most aspects of it - become more apparent when revealed to you by people who are behind a screen and don't feel so intimidated not to call you out on your behaviour. You also get to see how complex being a leader can be, all the little nuances of the job, so at the very least you can understand the position of a leader better than you had before.

I'm in the same boat as Llocke as far as typing skills go - mine weren't that great starting out, and the only thing that's changed is that I type faster but backspace much more often.

This is true to a point. Some leaders get it and some don't, and I think the difference is the ones who do get it have those mentor types to call them out. Others have sycophants and... that ends less well.

Text games provide a veritable playground within which to flex your scripting muscles, particularly with the depth and complexity of IRE combat and curing.

playing lusternia has helped my english mark rise

Writing my own curing system has certainly developed my ability to design scripts.

I must also agree with this. I may still be learning, but I must say my own scripting has improved.


My typing skills are better, but my writing ability, my vocabulary, and the finesse with which I can build sentences is *largely* due to Achaea. There's just no substitute for a text-based game when it comes to mastering the english language! Teachers should explore the possibility of using text-based games as a way to help straggling linguists to catch up!

deffinately improved my creativity

wish I could say the same my creative writing skills need some help

I'm not sure my typing skills have improved any, simply because I am always shortening words into aliases in Achaea. But I have developed a greater love of fantasy and also certain periods of history from playing the game.

Most importantly, it works your imagination. This can tie in to creativity, but if you do not use imagination much then you find that its harder to access it as well as if you did.

"People are crazy no matter where you are."

Playing Achaea has drastically improved my descriptive writing skills. I have discovered a talent I didn't know I had for turning the images in my head into engaging descriptions in text. This to the extent that I have now been paid several times by other players to design things for them!

I now have an ambition to try my hand at a novel, something I wouldn't have felt confident to do without the practice afforded by Achaea.

Being English not my native tongue, I could say that playing Lusternia helps to keep fit my writing in this language. Sometimes it really pushes my English skills to find the best way to express what I want exactly to say. Sometimes it challenges my reading too, when I don't exactly get what the other player is trying to tell me.

So, that's another thing to add to the list.

Can only say 1/3 apply... 2 not so much.  I go outside for that!

I completely agree! i've recommended MUDs to others for those reasons!

I won't comment on my [significant lack of] social skills, my typing skills have seen a pretty great increase in the past four or so years.

There are many Spinorthos, Warthogs, and Mist Wraiths around my property, and I never knew how to deal with them before starting Achaea.  Now, they're no problem!  My orc neighbors complain about the hunting noise, though. 

Wholeheartedly agree! I've had people comment on my fast typing skills, and it's the MUDs that I have to thank for them! :)

I have to agree that these games help foster great social skills!

text games are definitely one method of improving social skills, to a degree. i say that because once you become addicted to text games you won't be going outside to use your newly found social skills

I agree with all these points. I've even shared with my wife that I get plenty of social time in the game and don't need to branch out in other aspects. She doesn't really let me though...

Achaea has more or less done nothing but improve those three things listed above for me.

if anything probably hurts since you spend less time talking with people IRL.

I've taken care of this problem by never prioritizing Achaea over time with IRL friends.

It has made me more likely to speak to people I don't know. Not sure if that's a good thing.


I love interacting with people from all over the world. Has been great to get to know all of them.

Taught me to prioritise between play/work.

Warning to students: You will go through extreme Midkemian withdrawel during exam time. Fight the urge to log on and play!

I always thought learning to type was very boring. Playing text games gave me a fun way to learn how to type quickly. It also produced some really bad writing habits at first. I use to type save every so many minutes.

Lusternia used to help my typing skills...but then I discovered aliases. >.<

For fun, I sometimes play without using my aliases...mostly to see if I can remember the commands :P

Aetolia taught me about various forms of weaponry.

Everyone is still amazed at how fast I type and ask me how I do it.  I tell them it's all from text based games.  Woohoo for 150 WPM.

I can't say that my typing speed has increased...it's probably actually down from high school where I was practicing speed and accuracy daily (in a far more boring format). But I would definitely agree that my creative writing has improved, especially descriptions and similar things. Social skills? Well, I have no life but I'd say it may possibly help with dealing with the plethora of people types at work (sadly mostly jerks and idiots for customers...it is Walmart afterall).

While it may or may not help individuals improve their typing skills, your mastery of the English language WILL improve via playing these games, especially if you end up working closely with your administrative team to make pets, fiddle with skill lines, or design and create tradeskill items. MY tenure as a trademaster in Lusternia also awoken an affinity for fashion in real life, and has actually led me to learning the ways of the needle and thread (albeit slowly).


Heck, I lost track of how often listening to Fain's posts and shouts made me dive for a dictionary when I first started. More recently, though I've found that I'm able to pick up on the words I don't know by context with other big words I DO know. I've also started typing in British English, though, so there's a trade-off.

Achaea has definately turned me into the Speed Racer of the Keyboard. 


I've also broadened my vocabulary and creative writing knowledge.

My typing skills/speed improved no doubt, as well as my general experience in designing scripts. The problem solving and critical thinking in scripting and designing strategies is helpful. My creative writing probably didn't improve that much, most of the text I filter through mentally for the useful bits, although sometimes I do take the time to read the long passages.

I can attest to the first and last, though social skills... I learn a lot more from going to a party.

I completely agree with the third point. Lusty has given me an opportunity to at least channel that small amount of creative energy I possess. I do enjoy the design system implemented and how the reviewers correct my grammatical mistakes which in turn keeps my English going.

Living in a country where English isn't the main language can cause your vocabulary to slowly deteriorate...

I agree and that's why I still play

In addition to those, MUDS especially those with complex curing has made me explore some basic coding like lua and C++

same here. Mapping work with C gave me quite an idea about that language.

I agree with three completely, but not so much one and two. I already had good writing/typing skills and I'm not sure MUDs are the place to go to learn social skills, heh. I have learned a lot of other things through MUDs, though. I learned what "vivisection" is, so I guess that counts for something. Thanks, Achaea!

...the new world army!

Having moved out to the middle of literally no and where in the desert, Achaea is a nice place to socialize when you know no locals. I'm still a faster texter than typist though, anyone who knows me, knows that painful truth. I spewed my morning coffee with Somerleds' comments... thank you for that

I used to take creative writing for a hobby, but found my writing skills deteriorating as I entered university and couldn't do it so much anymore. I began playing the game again and it's basically what keeps my skills still working...


Additionally, trying to stay alive made me pay more attention to the surroundings. I tend to be rather absent-minded, losing track of things, but well, it's not possible when it's so easy to die or to get robbed.

typing skills... i type like 10x since i started playing muds hehe! 

I can definitely vouch for typing speed and critical thinking, social interaction however... may vary between different individuals. It really depends on if you see yourself hiding behind a computer and the anonymity of the internent, or you're always open and don't see it as a barrier at all. Those two factors can be what improves social interactions in the real world, or do nothing at all to improve upon it.

Still quite a ways to go, but MUDs had me take a (renewed) interest in speed reading and gave me an environment perfect for all the practice I could wish for.

I have to admit... particularly when it comes to those I've met first in-game and then met out of game... I'm a far more 'outgoing' person than I was before I started playing MUDs. Approaching people has never been a problem for me, but my sheer lack of an urge for 'small talk' has been mitigated a little by the general chatter of finding something to talk about in-game (IC and OOC). While MUDs are only one in a long line of various communication means I've used over the years, they promote such a solid level of interaction that's lacking in pretty much anything else. In other games, 'soloing' is often the norm, or the interaction is limited more towards achieving a single goal, such as a raid in your usual MMOs, IRC is often either easily walked away from or targetted to a single topic, depending on the channel, and mailing lists and forums are slower, more measured, often impersonal, means that serve a different purpose altogether.

My improvements for me don't count typing speed, already had that but my vocabulary DID improve quite a bit as well as my speed reading...heh, you have to speed read to keep ahead in text games


I'd like to think these things are even more true for people with a mother tongue other than English. Doing the things you do in text games teaches you things, doing those things in a language you're not too familiar with is an experience of constant development and learning.


Also, in MUDs one uses words in a completely different way than in real life, I hadn't ever considered writing poetry in another language than my mother tongue, yet Achaea made me do it nonetheless..

For what little it's worth, having to build aliases, triggers, and scripts (or at least decipher them and try to figure out why they're breaking) has improved my skills at working with machine code. Alas, if only there were a practical application in my life.


I can't say this has done anything for my typing, but what it HAS done is reduce me to the point where I can't tell anymore if I'm supposed to use "color" or "colour" when writing, and other cases of where IRE's British English is seeping into my American English prose.

Easy way to remember how to debrit yourself - When in doubt, loose the u. Its a redundant character anyways :P

Text games have helped me with all of the things noted above... but however, I do agree with some others, I have started finding myself typing aliases, or trying to put apostrophes in front of anything when I chat.  However, the benefits heavily outweigh the negatives.

I use MUSHclient to play in Achaea. Since the beginning it has helped with my programming skills. The best way to learn programming isn't necessarily or probably isn't school. I've never taken a programming class and learned everything on my own. What has helped me the most to gain knowledge and improve this skill was by having to do projects. Of course, one of the best motivators to do a project is being paid to do one. I haven't experienced a better place to practice programming than within a job setting. But games like Achaea come close. Although my project goals aren't too high: creating counters for things like shard weight or setting "reflexes" such that they only appear in certain situations, creating timers to perform tasks like setting up my defenses, they gave me the refresher and practice I otherwise wouldn't have cared to do. In this way I feel less guilty spending hours in front of a game on so much of my free time, because at least I'm learning what has been a useful skill, computer programming.

I completely agree with article, for it has improved my typing skills greatly, yet one thing the article didn't mention is that I feel like gaming has enabled me to become more open minded towards the ideas of others and more respectful of other individuals whether I agree with then or not.

I would say it has definately affected my typing. For one, I use lol/rofl/etc. almost never anymore, and indeed feel strange when I do! Though I have an odd tendency to leave the first letter in a sentence uncapitalized, since it usually gets done for me... yay for oversights, I guess? Likewise, I've had a decrease in emoticon/smilies (except on the end of sentences). Between designs and bardics though, I enjoy the outlet for creativity it affords me. Point two is a bit iffy - at times, the level of paranoia involved in anti-gank watching when out off-Prime hunting/exploring borders on silly!

Increased literacy for sure. Then again I also think Harvest Moon has prepared me for farming :3

Harvest Moon should be a newbies guide to farming...i wish farming worked like that.

I have noticed as well all of the above.  Great article.

In addition, I have noticed the following skills improve.


1.  Reading Skills

2.  Verbage Skills

3.  Grammar

4.  Memory

5.  Scripting and RegEx

It has done 1-3 and 5 for me, as well.

I used to love writing, and even won gold medals in school for "True Life" essays I wrote, that were actually completely made up. However, that was a long time ago, so my writing had gotten kind of rusty. Now with Lusternia, I get to put those skills into play again. Using your imagination keeps your brain active, and as we start to get older, anything that helps stimulate us is a good thing.

Iron Realms Entertainment games: Achaea, Aetolia, Imperian, Lusternia and Tears of Polaris have taught me some very valuable life lessons.

Achaea embiggened my vocabulary.

1 and 3 for me.

number 1 and 2