The very first thing I wrote when I first learned how to program was a Text Based Game. There's always been something magical about Text Based Games, whether they be about collecting equipment, killing creatures, and tinkering with magic, or collecting transfers.
This addiction has manifested into several addictive habits over the course of my life, some of which I've kicked. Thankfully.
- Writing a Text Based Game involving travelling along the Toronto Transit Commission subway lines with friends, collecting transfers at stations and purchasing objects along the way. I wrote about a quarter of it, and got fed up with the limitations of GWBASIC. Not to mention, the huge finite-state machine I was generating for the game started to get unwieldy to implement. (But in the process I -did- write a cool program to renumber my GWBASIC lines when I discovered you couldn't put line 32.5 between 32 and 33.)
- Playing on the "Encounter BBS" in Toronto. Although not traditional RPG Text Based Games, BRE-X, Land of the Red Dragon, and Tradewars are always fun.
- Becoming addicted to the multi user dungeon Moon Gate. A friend introduced me halfway through my grade ten year. I proceeded, from that point forward until my last year of high school to play about two to three hours a day (my character, Ardant, of course, had over 1500 hours of play-time). In retrospect only the first few months were lots of fun and soon after Moon Gate turned into addictive, time-sucking busy-work.
- Trying again to write a single-user-dungeon or similar text based game. Failing again.
- Nethack. The ever-popular dungeons and dragons style game. Although I was never as big a fan as say, Karl Knechtel, I still got sucked into that too.
- Working with multi user dungeons almost ever day now, after helping host Text Based Games while working with Dune Internet? for the last year and a half.
- Started applying abstraction to Text Based Games in general to see if a sort of abstract engine or core can be used to run any type of virtual world (or to emulate current communication environments such as IRC). Ended up on a still-continuing two year journey which has plunked me squarely in the realm of XML and event-responsive agent systems. Still thinking about it.
- The Lost Dimension? MUD. A brand new addiction. Unfortunately this place closed down.
Graphical Games that are Text Based Games in Disguise
- Neverwinter Nights. Disputably too early and new to deserve a place in the annals above, this one is turning into a major time suck. Aha, but it's graphical you say. I really don't see it as more than a MUD with a GUI for inputting the commands differently. In the end, it all comes down to the exact same stuff.
- After I beat the game, I never played it again. Which is a good thing, because, I had exams to write.
- Battle For Wesnoth. A fun RPG, where you march units around the map and devise strategies to bring your opponents down.
Text based rules.