If you like to play with words, good news


I cut my geek teeth on old Infocom games back in the very pre-Windows days. I’d like to introduce my 8 yr old to this genre of games. Can anyone recommend text-based games for the iPad or PC that would be age-appropriate?

The IFDB is the first place to look for text-based games by any criteria; there’s an excellent search option.

It took me about two minutes to find a list of child-appropriate recommendations.

How to play depends on which of the (several) popular IF writing systems was used for the game. Probably the most common are “Z-Machine” based games, which are direct descendants of the old Infocom engine and usually written in Inform. Games using TADS are also popular; there are good PC interpreters available for either.

(Personally, I use Gargoyle for the PC, but a little time with Google will produce many fine alternatives.)

For the ipad I couldn’t find a good TADS solution, but z-machine games (which are in the majority) will run fine using iphonefrotz.

1 Like

Also: If you like to really play with words, don’t miss Nick Montfort’s Ad Verbum, a text adventure about the English language. A favourite of mine, for sheer brilliance of concept and puzzle design.

Someone at Slate was all aflutter over Hadean Lands a little while ago.

Remember HyperCard? I rememebr HyperCard. It was so damn easy to put together something fun like this. I wonder if it ever could have been competition to html?

1 Like

The most brilliant text adventure game I played recently (or… at all, in the last 10 years) is Counterfeit Monkey, where you can change reality by manipulating words using (mostly illegal) high-tech devices such a letter-removing guns, homonym paddles, reversing mirrors and the like.

For example, suppose you needed to go down the highway, but have no vehicle. Fortunately, there is a chair near-by. Zap out the ‘i’ and you’re left with a fish flopping on the ground – a char. Zap out the ‘h’ and drive away in your brand-new car. (Assuming you have the keys, of course.)

Or need to remove a screw? Try ordering a vodka-orange juice from the local pub and using the homonym paddle.

It’s extremely well-thought-out, very deep and detailed (as it would need to be, since it allows you to change huge numbers of things into other things, all within the confines of a text-adventure) and takes place in a very deep and believable world. (Here’s a more in-depth review.)

Unfortunately it’s a little harder to start up than going to a website – you have to download a runtime engine. But apparently it’s a pretty common one that lots of text adventure games use.

Sounds a lot like Infocom’s Nord and Bert Couldn’t Make Head or Tail of It.

[quote=“Boundegar, post:6, topic:53275, full:true”]Remember HyperCard? I rememebr HyperCard. It was so damn easy to put together something fun like this. I wonder if it ever could have been competition to html?[/quote]Oh yes, quite unforgettable, that.

As far as text adventures go, Inform 7’s intuitive syntax gets some attention these days.

I used Andrew Plotkin’s ‘The Dreamhold’ as my son’s introduction to IF; it’s playable, engaging, and very much designed as an IF introduction.

After that, we went through all 3 Zork games together.

We’ve also played ‘Lost Pig’ and ‘Counterfeit Monkey’.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.