CIRCA:Text Adventure (Computer Game Genre)


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Definition and Typical Features

Text adventures are a genre of computer game requiring the player to input descriptions of actions (e.g. 'look,' 'go north,' 'open door')on a computer command line by typing, which when entered correctly prompt the computer to return clues or descriptions of advancing events in a virtual fictional narrative. Typical features of the genre include:

A screenshot of ca. 1977 text-adventure Zork I showing the textual description given when the game starts.
  • Textual descriptions-- including locations and objects and the effect of actions as they are called for by commands. Early text adventures designed for computer systems not capable of displaying graphics rely solely on textual description -- later versions of text adventures often incorporate pictures as well as text.
  • Second-person narrative perspective -- the main actor in the narrative is referred to by the pronoun you, indicating the person playing is responsible for instigating the action of the game through their input. E.g. "You are standing in an open field..." (Text shown in the image to the right).
  • Items storable in a personal inventory -- for example, keys to a door.
  • Puzzles with multiple steps -- for example, entering the command 'use key in door' might be required to open a door, and only work once the player has used 'look in mailbox' to find the key and 'get key' to add the key item to their personal inventory.
  • locations -- contexts where certain commands will work. e.g. the command 'look' typically provides a textual description of the area the player last entered and clues such as whether there is a key or a door nearby.
  • alternate narrative branches -- possibly including alternate endings to a story, mistakes involving death, ways of gaining or losing 'points'
  • puzzles -

  • Second-person perspective.
  • things
  • other things

interactive fiction

The genre has also been termed interactive fiction, underscoring its position as an alternative style of fiction to longer-established literary forms such as the novel. A somewhat misleading term, because not all fictions with which one can interact are computer games, least text adventures.

Interactive fictions

improvisation, alternate choices and outcomes)

prompt the computer to update the user with a textual or graphical description of the actions those verbs stand for being performed in the context of an ongoing story .

the results of those actions in an imaginative scenario or story that progresses according to. 

Context Points arguements

Will Crowther's

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