Text adventures on your smartphone

Over at our sponsor Intel's LifeScoop site, I wrote about playing classic, free text adventure games on your smartphone. From "Adventures in Text Adventures":
NewImageWhen I was a youngster, I devoured a series of books called Choose Your Own Adventure. Launched in the late 1970s, these books, geared toward middle-schoolers, literally put “you” at the center of the story, as a spy, detective, scientist, or the like. Every few pages, you, as the protagonist, would make choices leading you to specific pages and ultimately one of dozens of endings to the tale. Even though the choices were necessarily limited by the pre-written pages, the books were compelling and surprisingly immersive. Once I got my hands on my first personal computer, a Texas Instruments 99-4, it was a natural progression to the realm of text adventure games. I started with Pirate Adventure… Yoho!
"Adventures in Text Adventures"


  1. I loved those books so much! I always kept my finger bookmarking the most recent decision page, so I could go back to it if I found myself at a dead-end. I was too impatient to start back at the beginning. Who’s with me!

    1. Same here, except most of the choose-your-own-adventure books I read were the D&D Endless Quest books.  My sister and I had the entire collection (well, through the 80’s, anyway).

  2. If you wake the rabid bear and feed him your kid sister to distract him while you steal the village’s gold for yourself, turn to page 54.

    If you go back home and do your chores, turn to page 96.

    flip flip flip

    PAGE 96. You dutifully return to your parents’ house and do your chores. They are proud to have such an obedient and thoughtful child. 

    Later that year, the village comes to the attention of a nearby warlord, who has heard of its intact hoard of gold. His troops plunder your village, killing wantonly. You yourself are mortally wounded when an arrow hits you in the back as you do your chores. You live just long enough to see your kid sister carried off to a fate far worse than death.


    You have CHOSEN WRONG, like you ALWAYS DO

    and we know you kept your finger on the last page, CHEATER

  3. Pirate Adventure, or Pirate Cove as the Vic-20 version I played was called, was the first text adventure game I played (and the first game for our brand spanking new computer… ooh, the thrill of owning an actual computer!). I got stuck quite at the beginning… the same place I get stuck on most text adventures. :/

  4. My love affair began with “XYZZY” and ended with, “You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.”

  5. As a kid I was enthralled with the simple Scott Adams adventure series on our family TRS-80 Model I. Running from a cassette deck it took forever to parse single commands, but I plugged on anyway, waiting with immense anticipation to see if my directions would solve the puzzles.

    Coincidentally (or not?) after reading this linked article, I Googled his name to find out that he has just released his first new game in 10 years. http://www.msadams.com/inorder.htm

  6. This is what I expected in Monday’s Apple SteveNote when they reminded us iOS has Unix at the core… “Now, command-line on the lock screen!”

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