5 Text-Based Games You Can Play in Your Browser
Pinterest Whatsapp
Advertisement

Today’s mainstream video games often feature stunning graphics, professional voice acting, and more impressive elements. But what if you’re tired of modern games and want to enjoy some simpler experiences?

Text-based games (also known as IF or Interactive Fiction) is a classic genre where all the interaction takes place through on-screen words, and they’re still alive today. While they were born from hardware limitations, text-based games can still be played on modern devices.

And you don’t have to pay or install anything to do play these titles. Instead, you can just play them right now in your web browser. Here are some great text-based games available to play.

1. The Dreamhold

Text-Based Games - The Dreamhold

Specifically created for first-time IF players, The Dreamhold is an excellent way to get acquainted with this genre. Aside from its relatively short length and low difficulty, the game also features a “tutorial voice” that gives you hints throughout the experience.

If you’re not a novice, you can still enjoy The Dreamhold, though. Just type tutorial off to disable that part of the game. And if you’d like ever more of a challenge, type expert to enter Expert mode, which makes some puzzles harder.

As for the game itself, the plot here revolves around you waking up inside a cell. You don’t remember how you got there, and need to explore to figure it out.

Play Now: The Dreamhold

2. Zork

Text-Based Games - Zork

Zork is one of the earliest and best-known text games. Originally launching in the late 1970s, it has survived the test of time due to its high quality of storytelling and advanced text recognition. For such an old game, the text parser is not picky about what you enter.

Zork was actually split into three parts. This first one starts you in front of a white house with no further instructions. After working your way into the house, you’ll begin the adventure proper and need to collect as much treasure as you can.

Zork supports saving and restoring, and you can even change how much information the game gives you about new locations using the brief and verbose commands. This classic is a great starting point for getting into text adventure games. Give it a try and see how long you can survive before you’re eaten by a grue.

Play Now: Zork

3. Spider and Web

Text-Based Games - Spider and Web

Spider and Web is a text-based game from 1998 from the same creator behind The Dreamhold. This adventure has you play as a spy who was captured when masquerading as a tourist. You gradually figure out what’s going on at the same time your character does.

Notably, the dialog options in this game are simple compared to others. When asked a question, you can only answer Yes, No, or stay silent. This makes it easier to decide what you want to do, but that doesn’t mean the game is easy.

It’s often tough to keep track of what’s going on and keep your story straight, so expect a high level of difficulty. You can save and restore to avoid having to replay large chunks; the game also includes an Undo command for when you fail.

Play Now: Spider and Web

4. Night House

Text-Based Games - Night House

Are you in the mood for a must-play horror game The Scariest Must-Play Horror Games for Halloween The Scariest Must-Play Horror Games for Halloween In the spirit of Halloween and all things scary, here's our pick of the scariest and most atmospheric horror games of the last few years. Read More ? Night House has you play as a young boy who wakes up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. He soon discovers that his family isn’t home, and is thrust into a much scarier experience than he imagined.

Night House is unique in that it has a few extras aside from text input. The right side of the screen contains basic directional inputs that you can enter to move around. It also keeps track of your inventory and what’s around you. A simple map at the top of the screen helps you keep your bearings.

With extras like the sound effects of the ongoing thunderstorm, Night House adds a little extra to the text adventure experience. Give it a try if the other games were too rudimentary for you.

Play Now: Night House

5. Torn

Text-based games aren’t limited to interactive fiction. Torn is an online RPG with thousands of active players. In it, you start a life in a new city and decide the path you want to take. You can grow strong, become a criminal, and beat up everyone else, or become highly educated, follow the law, and run a successful company.

When you start, the game reminds you that it’s a long-term experience. This makes it a great game for a quick fix 20 Addictive Web Games Perfect for Short Breaks 20 Addictive Web Games Perfect for Short Breaks Waiting for your next class to start? Have another 10 minutes before your office lunch break ends? Then you'll love these small, lightweight, no-commitment web games. Read More whenever you have time, as you don’t need a huge commitment. After you get through some tutorial missions, you’ll be on your way to making your life in the city whatever you’d like it to be.

Unlike the other games on this list that you can start instantly, you will have to make a free account to play Torn. However, it only takes a moment. While it offers a much more robust interface than other text-based games, Torn is still an enjoyable text experience.

Play Now: Torn

More Text-Based Games You Can Play

Two sites you should check out for additional interactive fiction games 5 Great Interactive Fiction Games You Can Play Online Right Now 5 Great Interactive Fiction Games You Can Play Online Right Now Interested in the genre of text-based adventure games? Want to try playing a text-based game? Here are several you can find online right now! Read More are Versificator and TextAdventures. You’ll find plenty of games to try out here across a variety of genres.

If you’re a newcomer to these types of games, check out this introductory cheat sheet created by the interactive fiction community. It details the most common commands available in these games.

Text-Based Games Cheat Sheet

If you’re ever unsure of what you can do, try entering about when the game starts for basic instructions. Most games also have a help command that will provide more information.

Interactive fiction combines the player choice of a video game with the great storytelling of books and movies. If you don’t like all the action of modern games, this is a great genre to try. The bonus being that most text-based games don’t cost anything to play.

And if playing these games has inspired you, check out the best tools for making your own text adventure games 3 Tools to Create Your Own Text Adventure Games 3 Tools to Create Your Own Text Adventure Games Want to try making your own text adventure game? Here's your chance! These three tools will help you create your own complex and playable story. Read More .

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Kungfuspacebarbarian
    August 23, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Crypt Shyfter is another great series of free text adventure games you can play in your browser ;)

  2. RedStingray73
    May 15, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    If you're into drag racing, there's text based game for that called: GTRacer and is located at GTRacer.net. I've acquired the game and will be the owner soon.

  3. JollyGG
    May 14, 2018 at 1:57 am

    Another good option is Legend of the Green Dragon. Its engine can be customized so much that I've seen some pretty creative themes, but most popular and widely used is medieval, Lord if the Rings types. Also fantasy based is a good one, a good friend if mine runs Sanctuary, found at lotgd4adults2.com. Of course I've done more than just playing this game, I've helped develop fun modules for it to keep players coming back for more!