Text Games: Short? Simple?

It kinda bothers me that a lot of the text based(tm) games today need to be short. But I don’t want (as in: I’m almost incapable to read!) to read a whole bunch of text so it must be broken up in very small pieces.

In a conceptual artistic context like in climbing 208 feet up the ruin wall by Porpentine or Capsule by Paperblurt there are hardly ever more than 6 lines of text and oftentimes less. This is effective: I read all text that is shown. I even can cope with the occasional wall of text if the game eases me into it. The text is also written in a big font.

Inklewriter might be another example: The presentation makes it easy to read the text and to play the game without getting tired too fast.

So we can’t make games with a lot of text? Or is it just a matter of breaking down the text?

Let’s derive from the current situation. I think it’s time for a manifesto*.

A Manifesto of Text Games(tm)?

  1. Make Text Games
  2. Text Games are made of chunks
  3. Chunks should be as short and simple as possible
  4. Chunks should convey something at first glance
  5. Hide Chunks and Use paging to create shorter Chunks

So we all know that simplicity and complexity somehow are opposite to each other but I am a strong believer that we can tell big stories and have great interaction if we follow the manifesto rules. Or maybe I’m wrong, who knows?

(tm): meaning games where you have to read words of a language as opposed to something like dwarf fortress

  • It’s not really time for a manifesto

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