Do you remember text adventures? They’re one of the oldest styles of game, a relic from the days when computers could scarcely manage to produce more than text. They gave the impression of nearly unlimited possibility, because the played interacted by typing in their actions rather than selecting from a list or pressing the ‘jump’ button.
I say relic, but they aren’t dead yet. People have continued to make them, they’ve just lost the notoriety they once had. In fact, lately I’ve been itching to jump on that bandwagon (maintaining my impeccable record of always being ahead of the latest trends) and make one myself. More specifically, I was frustrated with twine’s ability to represent the story I wrote for No Way Out, and a text adventure was exactly the format I wanted it to be.
(Twine is incredibly powerful, and in the right hands can do some very impressive things. It just wasn’t what I wanted. Not for No Way Out, anyway.)
Anyway, after some digging around, I found a program that would let me create my own text adventures without learning a whole complicated programming language, Inform. Of course, Inform has its own complicated set of rules and language, but it’s much easier for me to understand than any actual programming language.
Still, I wasn’t ready to jump write in and make No Way Out in it. You gotta take time with these things, learn the ropes. So I decided to make something small and easy to teach myself how it all works. I spent about twenty minutes thinking up a concept, and scribbling some notes on scrap paper. Then I spent a week wrestling with Inform as I learned how it worked, and how it didn’t.
I’m still not an expert, not by any means. I think I’ll probably write another text adventure before giving No Way Out a go, one that I’ll actually think about for more than half an hour. But until then, you can keep yourself occupied with Airborne, my first attempt at writing a text adventure. It’s nothing impressive, but I still think it’s kind of neat.
Play it here.
And there’s no remedy for memory
Your face is like a melody, it won’t leave my head
Your soul is haunting me, and telling me
That everything is fine, but
I wish I was dead
Every time I close my eyes
It’s like a dark paradise
No-one compares to you, I’m scared
Won’t be waiting on the other side