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bluejay

Do you consider text adventures as video games?

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A discussion in this thread kind of inspired me to create this thread; do you consider text adventures(or interactive fiction, if you prefer to call it that) as video games?

In my opinion, absolutely.

According to Wikipedia, "A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device, such as a joystick, controller, keyboard, or motion sensing devices, to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV set, monitor, touchscreen, or virtual reality headset."

A text adventure, such as Zork, has an input device(the keyboard) and generates visual feedback(the text on the monitor), causing entertainment of the player.

I mean, I'd like to know why people think they're not a video game.

Text adventures are definitely not interactive books(fiction). An interactive book wouldn't give you so much freedom of choice and/or control.

You have a character you control that responds to your controls, an objective, and some obstacles in between. Exactly what a video game is.

So, what do you think a text adventure is?

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Of course they're video games.  They're games you play on a computer.  It's an adventure game with a specific kind of interface and display.  IMHO they have very little overlap with RPGs and are two very different genres, but they're both video games nonetheless.  I coudl see thinking about text adventures as the precursor to RPGs.  Anyways, I'm not sure what the argument is that they're not video games.

 

FWIW I never liked the term "interactive fiction."  Most text adventures are very light on narrative, character, plot... which you'd expect from a written work of fiction.  Despite being text, there's not actually much writing compared to a real book.  There are exceptions, of course.

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Yes.  They were among the first I played.  At the time we had the VCS and some graphical computer games.  

 

The text adventure fit right in.  Most of my peers, and myself all thought they were amazing.  

 

Today, if I had time I would definitely want to revisit some of the classics and add sounds.  Keep it something one reads, but let sound augment theatre of the mind.

 

But yeah.  There is video and there is a game.  Video game.

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Input:  I type "go west" on a keyboard.  Yep...

Display:  CRT displays "go west" with pixels arranged as text.  Yep...

Visual feedback: "It is pitch black, you are likely to be eaten by a grue." .. which I read with my eyes visually.   Yep...

User Interface:  "Junction Score: 0  Moves: 3"  Yep...

 

Game confirmed.  ;-)

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Sure those are video games. Same goes about various business simulations, management games, early flight simulators where you typed in commands etc. Just because the games don't display graphics or have an timed action element to them doesn't disqualify them as video games, or perhaps computer games is a better term since most consoles lacking a keyboard input mechanism have a harder time implementing the same game.

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2 hours ago, carlsson said:

Sure those are video games. Same goes about various business simulations, management games, early flight simulators where you typed in commands etc. Just because the games don't display graphics or have an timed action element to them doesn't disqualify them as video games, or perhaps computer games is a better term since most consoles lacking a keyboard input mechanism have a harder time implementing the same game.

Good point but perhaps we should technically call them Teletype games. Adventure Games debuted on Teletype, and we could take that parchment scroll with us and read the interactive fiction story we just created as the main character. This was really novel at the time - creating our own novel. This was possible to emulate with home computers that could redirect to the printer but not native.

 

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Well, wasn't there a computer in the other end of the teletype? I know some reference to text adventures as keyboard games because you type instead of pointing and clicking, but there would be many types of keyboard games, not only the adventure type.

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6 minutes ago, carlsson said:

Well, wasn't there a computer in the other end of the teletype? I know some reference to text adventures as keyboard games because you type instead of pointing and clicking, but there would be many types of keyboard games, not only the adventure type.

Perhaps Teletype Computer Game or mainframe game might be the most accurate description.

 

Lunar Lander started out that way too with the scrolling Teletype display providing the animation instead of a VDT.

 

A Teletype Terminal has a rolling parchment display it's just a different type of Display Terminal than a VDT.

 

VDT's like Teletypes were not really computers on their own but had just enough processing power handle markup to render display animation via VT100 protocol, somewhat reminiscent of the way a modern web browser or an Atari 2600 ARM game renders the display from a mainframe game in that respect.

 

 

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I still think teletype and mainframe games are subcategories to the computer games (vs games played on a dedicated video game console). Calling a text adventure a mainframe game would fail as soon as you play it locally on a microcomputer. I mean for instance Colossal Cave Adventure could be played on a PDP-10 through a terminal, or multiple home and personal computers. When does the same game change from being a mainframe game to a computer game?

 

Sure, the same can be asked about Pac-Man. Does it change from an arcade game to a video game, a console game, a computer game depending on where it is played? :)

 

By the way, it made wonder if there is a Pac-Man text adventure. It turns out many people have already taken that approach:

http://www.pactxt.com/

https://www.masswerk.at/pmd/

https://www.theverge.com/2015/5/22/8645093/pac-man-text-adventure-game-35th-anniversary

https://codepen.io/stevenmcstravog/pen/GxwJyK

etc

 

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9 minutes ago, carlsson said:

Sure, the same can be asked about Pac-Man. Does it change from an arcade game to a video game, a console game, a computer game depending on where it is played? :)

 

By the way, it made wonder if there is a Pac-Man text adventure. It turns out many people have already taken that approach:

http://www.pactxt.com/

https://www.masswerk.at/pmd/

https://www.theverge.com/2015/5/22/8645093/pac-man-text-adventure-game-35th-anniversary

https://codepen.io/stevenmcstravog/pen/GxwJyK

etc

 

Thank You so much for those links. Something I would have NEVER thought to Google myself, or would have even considered being something that existed!!!

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Me neither, to be honest. I think most of those are made as tongue in cheek.

 

If you want more, here is some Pac-Man fanfiction:

https://www.fanfiction.net/game/Pac-Man/

https://www.fanfiction.net/cartoon/Pac-Man-and-the-Ghostly-Adventures/

https://www.wattpad.com/stories/pacman

etc

 

(apologies to bluejay for bringing the topic quite a bit off-topic)

Edited by carlsson

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It's a technicality but if the game could be played without video, like the original lunar landing game, or the old star trek games, original oregon trail, or old sports simulatons; then technically it's not a video game.  It depends on how you want to define a video game.  Is video chess or checkers a video game just because it has video graphics.  It could just as easy note each move in text.  Computers can play video games but not all computer games are video games.

Edited by mr_me

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Since text adventures gave "win" scenarios and "lose" scenarios, I would say they are games.

 

There's a bunch of stuff called games that don't have that and I wonder why they are still called games.   Like how do you "win" at Flight Simulator? :)

 

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14 hours ago, bluejay said:

According to Wikipedia, "A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device, such as a joystick, controller, keyboard, or motion sensing devices, to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV set, monitor, touchscreen, or virtual reality headset."

That definition makes we think of a larger question tho.  Does a video game have to have video? (I know; sounds weird...  I do have a train of thought tho)

 

I thought that because, back in the day I had a friend who lent me his voice cartridge for the C64 (Votrax or something like that?).

I remember getting a "walkthu" for Zork, filtering it for unique words, and training those words so I could speak the game thru, which I did. (Only time I ever completed Zork, but as I had the walkthru, I don't count that..)

Anyway, I can't remember if that Votrax thing also spoke the text to me (it was a long time ago), but I know there are devices that can.

 

So you could, in theory complete the game using audio only.

 

Does that make it not a video game?   

Is a TV show (note the V in TV) not a TV show if you only listen to it?

(For the kids out there, TV is what we used before youtube...)

 

Hmmm....  ;-)

Edited by desiv

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6 minutes ago, desiv said:

I thought that because, back in the day I had a friend who lent me his voice cartridge for the C64 (Votrax or something like that?).

I remember getting a "walkthu" for Zork, filtering it for unique words, and training those words so I could speak the game thru, which I did. (Only time I ever completed Zork, but as I had the walkthru, I don't count that..)

Anyway, I can't remember if that Votrax thing also spoke the text to me (it was a long time ago), but I know there are devices that can.

It's easy to do this on an Android.   The "Text Fiction" app will play the Infocom titles, and has a text-to-speech option.   Android keyboards also have voice recognition so you can talk back.

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2 hours ago, mr_me said:

It's a technicality but if the game could be played without video, like the original lunar landing game, or the old star trek games, original oregon trail, or old sports simulatons; then technically it's not a video game.  It depends on how you want to define a video game.  Is video chess or checkers a video game just because it has video graphics.  It could just as easy note each move in text.  Computers can play video games but not all computer games are video games.

Chess isn't a video game. But Video Chess is. It has all the necessary things a video game should. MB released Zelda and Super Mario board games, and they were playable. Technically any 2D graphical adventure game could be played with a teletype or a board game if your teletype had a fast enough printer or if you designed the board game just right. If you're saying that if it can be played without the "video" part it's not a video game, then pretty much nothing is a video game.

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How do you win at flight simulator; by not crashing the plane.   But it's a fair point, perhaps flight simulator is not a game.  Perhaps Sim City is not a game.  Is a win or lose scenario, or a score a requirement of a video game or any game.  I can go out and throw a frisbee around with some friends; is that a game.  Is dungeons and dragons a game.

 

The game part for a text adventure is another question.  Is it a game or a multi-branched story selected by the user.  The same can be said about modern story based video games.  There's lots of story video but how much game play is there.

 

So for a video game to be a video game it must have video with game play.

Edited by mr_me

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Text is a type of video. In a text adventure you control a certain "avatar" inside the game with commands. You can move around and interact with things. An interactive story wouldn't allow you to do all that; it would just give you text, stop at a certain point, and give you a very limited amount of choices.

You have a score counter that keeps track of how well you're doing in the game.

6 minutes ago, mr_me said:

How do you win at flight simulator; by not crashing the plane.   But it's a fair point, perhaps flight simulator is not a game.  Perhaps Sim City is not a game.  Is a win or lose scenario, or a score a requirement of a video game or any game.  I can go out and throw a frisbee around with some friends; is that a game.  Is dungeons and dragons a game.

Winning and losing doesn't define a video game. It has, as the Wikipedia definition says, has to have an input device, video output, and some form of electronic device doing the work in between. Throwing frisbees isn't a video game; unless you're actually playing on computer with a bunch of virtual friends. D&D isn't a video game, unless you're playing it on a computer.

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Right.  Playing frisbee isn't a video game but it is a game even without score or winners and losers.  But regarding text based or video based interactive stories, is there enough game play to be called a game?

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24 minutes ago, bluejay said:

Text is a type of video. In a text adventure you control a certain "avatar" inside the game with commands. You can move around and interact with things

You play as a cursor,  just like in 2600 Adventure! 😄

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I considered Colossal Cave and the Zork series to be "video games" - however once Hitchhikers Guide Witness, etc.. came out I considered them more "interactive fiction" type games.

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