Commercial Text Adventures Month

Discuss text adventures here! The classics like those from Infocom, Magnetic Scrolls, Adventure International and Level 9 and the ones we're making today.

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bryanb
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Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by bryanb » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:43 pm

Spending eleven months of the year not buying text adventures is fine, dandy, and financially advantageous, but this December I've vowed to make a change. This month, by God, I SHALL buy text adventures, even if stretches my wallet to the very breaking point. Well, I guess that last bit is not actually going to happen, but I really do want to buy some recent (let's say released sometime in the past 10 years) commercial parser-based IF this month. I don't want rereleases of older games (I mean I DO, just not for Commercial Text Adventures Month) and ideally the games should be fun/worth paying money for. What titles should I check out?

So far I know I'll definitely be getting Hadean Lands and Thaumistry. The Crimson Diamond seems like it might be an interesting impulse purchase.

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Tdarcos
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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Tdarcos » Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:40 am

You mean people actually pay for these things? I'm surprised there's actually still a market for text-based interactive fiction. What's the usual price for these things?
"The lessons of history teach us, if they teach us anything, that no one learns the lessons that history teaches us."

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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:53 am

They sure do, Commander:





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bryanb
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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by bryanb » Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:59 pm

Tdarcos wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:40 am
You mean people actually pay for these things? I'm surprised there's actually still a market for text-based interactive fiction. What's the usual price for these things?
I often rag on Steam, but I have to admit it does serve an important function in the world of niche gaming. The biggest pre-Steam market for IF was probably eBay. The audience was made up primarily of collectors of Infocom and other old games. There was no real room for commercial releases of new text adventures there...for one thing, the potential buyers and sellers would probably never have even found each other. Steam is open, usable, and massive enough that it's perfectly realistic for a developer to produce a niche game, publish it there, attract a small audience, and make a little money in the process. The market size is definitely small. There are more commercial CYOA games available than parser games and they make more money, but it's safe to say that nobody's getting rich in the text adventure racket in 2019.

However, if you did decide to try your hand at an IF writing career, it might be worth a shot and would certainly be a reasonable endeavor to pursue alongside your other writing projects. You'd be a big fish in a small pond and you have a ready-made audience of ravenous text adventure players here on JC. Most importantly, Flack would be able to mentor you along either path...though it seems like he should perhaps do a commercial IF project of his own first just so he could better advise you.

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Jizaboz
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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Jizaboz » Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:38 am

Come join the DPRK dev team after you finish your first, comrade Paul.

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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Jizaboz » Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:59 am

bryanb wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:59 pm
Tdarcos wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:40 am
You mean people actually pay for these things? I'm surprised there's actually still a market for text-based interactive fiction. What's the usual price for these things?
I often rag on Steam, but I have to admit it does serve an important function in the world of niche gaming. The biggest pre-Steam market for IF was probably eBay. The audience was made up primarily of collectors of Infocom and other old games. There was no real room for commercial releases of new text adventures there...for one thing, the potential buyers and sellers would probably never have even found each other. Steam is open, usable, and massive enough that it's perfectly realistic for a developer to produce a niche game, publish it there, attract a small audience, and make a little money in the process. The market size is definitely small. There are more commercial CYOA games available than parser games and they make more money, but it's safe to say that nobody's getting rich in the text adventure racket in 2019.

However, if you did decide to try your hand at an IF writing career, it might be worth a shot and would certainly be a reasonable endeavor to pursue alongside your other writing projects. You'd be a big fish in a small pond and you have a ready-made audience of ravenous text adventure players here on JC. Most importantly, Flack would be able to mentor you along either path...though it seems like he should perhaps do a commercial IF project of his own first just so he could better advise you.
You bring up some great points, Bryan. With all of this weirdness I feel like I had I released one of my older comp entries in the last one, I would have done better because more people seem to be appreciating Infocom style complex parser games again for some strange reason. "This game helps me too much" was a weird complaint to get with the Meeting Robb Sherwin experiment entry.

I completely agree after reflecting on this about Paul's potential career in this field. He's got attention to detail and mathematics which is very important in old style games like this. Also, I seriously could use some help just having someone produce Hugo code. Blah blah work schedule and such. Roody has already wasted hours of his time helping me LEARN Hugo. The last thing I'd want to ask him is to help actually make shit I have scripted into my project design. Job tasks would be simple things like..

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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Jizaboz » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:02 am

1. Fix my buggy ass janky BBQ grill. Meat says it's done. I take it and something unexpected happens.
2. Help me create something really offensive.
3. Help fix my grammar.
4. Stick to the script.

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Tdarcos
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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Tdarcos » Sun Dec 08, 2019 3:20 pm

Jizaboz wrote:
Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:02 am
2. Help me create something really offensive.
Okay how about a game where the purpose is to do really nasty things?
* Main character rapes the County Sheriff's 15-tar-old daughter.
* Video tapes the rape - without letting himself be seen - and sells it as child pornography.
* Rapes a nun, anally.
* Frames a priest for the rape.
* Advertises a huge free fried chicken banquet on Martin Luther King day, and announces it in the black areas of town, only the location is the parking lot of the local Ku Klux Klan hall.
* Holds a meet-and-greet between the police and local citizen with free coffee and donuts for police officers (civilians have to pay.) The police donuts are free because they are unfit for human consumption, being laced with rat poison.
* Sets fires in buildings wired with trip-wired explosives to kill firefighters just as they're getting ready to put out the fire.
* Steals dogs to sell to Korean restaurants.

By this time the audience is so disgusted they quit before we get to the really nasty parts, like...
"The lessons of history teach us, if they teach us anything, that no one learns the lessons that history teaches us."

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Jizaboz
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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Jizaboz » Sun Dec 08, 2019 6:18 pm

Added to the list!

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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:06 pm

bryanb: excellent reasoning on your next thing. I think I said I was going to look at Transylvania again, BUT they made 2 other ones. So in the interest of me not reviewing a game twice, I'd pick one of the sequels. I also forgot that David Welbourn has a ton of walkthroughs for games, so I may peruse his list before the next one I take on.

RFTK still lives. December will make it a bit tough to play a text game until I am home for a week between Christmas and New Year's. But it STILL LIVES.
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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Jizaboz » Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:18 am

So who has a copy of Greystone by Malinche Entertainment? hahaha

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bryanb
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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by bryanb » Thu Dec 12, 2019 10:57 am

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:06 pm
RFTK still lives. December will make it a bit tough to play a text game until I am home for a week between Christmas and New Year's. But it STILL LIVES.
I still hope to have a new review written before Christmas. Realistically it'd need to be written by the 23d given my holiday schedule this year. I've just had a tough time deciding what game from the pending pile I should take on next. One is a visual novel, but I feel guilty about being the one who deviates first from our parser game focus (well, Robb did review Bee...but that piece wasn't originally written for RFTK). On the plus side, the review won't be entirely complimentary. Another is a comp game, but I'm afraid there that my review will end up a little too mean...I definitely didn't like it as much as the people on the Intfiction forums seemed to. There's also another comp game I've been wanting to review since almost the start of the comp, but I know I haven't explored all its secrets just yet so I know I need to spend some more time with that game before I review it. I should probably just take the attitude that RFTK is (partly) my own freaking site and anything I write for it would be more or less OK.

Are you spending the bulk of December with family/in-laws or are you just traveling? If it's the former, then all I've got to say is good luck. I'll be in the same house as my sister and her family for three days around Christmas and I have no doubt it'll be at least mildly unpleasant. I don't think I could handle a week. Family holidays were much better when my dad was around to keep order -- he seemed to be able to do it without hardly saying a word, too. I still have a hard time believing he's been dead for over a decade now.

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bryanb
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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by bryanb » Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:04 am

Jizaboz wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:18 am
So who has a copy of Greystone by Malinche Entertainment? hahaha
That brings up a good point that's very appropriate for this thread: if you do decide to release a text adventure commercially and it kind of sucks, it can very quickly be lost to the sands of time. And if you present yourself as a one man continuation of Infocom in an extremely obnoxious manner, then even the Internet Archive won't want to save your stuff. That said, I actually hope those Malinche games aren't completely lost and will appear on the IF Archive at some point. Or the Hubris Archive, if it exists. Sometimes cautionary tales can be extremely valuable.

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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Roody_Yogurt » Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:35 pm

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:06 pm
bryanb: excellent reasoning on your next thing. I think I said I was going to look at Transylvania again, BUT they made 2 other ones. So in the interest of me not reviewing a game twice, I'd pick one of the sequels.
I have fond memories of all of the Transylvania games- not that they couldn't be frustrating- but I especially recommend you try out the third one. Even though it's pretty linear and simple, in other ways, it's super ambitious for a Transylvania game. It's basically the "Game of Thrones" of Transylvania games.

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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:27 am

Jizaboz wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:18 am
So who has a copy of Greystone by Malinche Entertainment? hahaha
He got kicked out of the ZIL group on Facebook last week if you were interested in an update on how he was doing.
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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:33 am

bryanb wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 10:57 am
Are you spending the bulk of December with family/in-laws or are you just traveling? If it's the former, then all I've got to say is good luck. I'll be in the same house as my sister and her family for three days around Christmas and I have no doubt it'll be at least mildly unpleasant. I don't think I could handle a week. Family holidays were much better when my dad was around to keep order -- he seemed to be able to do it without hardly saying a word, too. I still have a hard time believing he's been dead for over a decade now.
The 24th and 25th I will be spending with my in-laws, but I am very very very lucky in so much as the in-laws I have now are the absolute best people in the world and I could not possible be more fortunate. Some of the family of gals I've dated over the years were absolute shitstains. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop when I met my wife, but no, they are just awesome. Two nephews as well, aged 5 and 12. The 5 year old and I re-enacted the internet meme of "kids in a trenchcoat pretending to be an adult" for Thanksgiving if that gives an indication on how fun these family get-togethers are. "One ticket to Black Panther please!"

Last year we had a mercurial free spirit friend let himself into our house at 10PM on Christmas so he could CRASH with us for a few days and then gave us an unannounced visit on New Year's. That living situation has been extinguished so I may actually get some days off to work on my IF stuff between Christmas and New Year's, but to be honest I would gladly give up some days there to take the nephews sledding and such. It's a balance.

Are you anywhere near Bourbon Street? Three days in an unpleasant situation like what you have described would make me think of suggesting that HAY, let's all see how many Hurricanes we can all fit into our stomachs, SIster B!
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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by Jizaboz » Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:54 pm

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:27 am
Jizaboz wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:18 am
So who has a copy of Greystone by Malinche Entertainment? hahaha
He got kicked out of the ZIL group on Facebook last week if you were interested in an update on how he was doing.

Really! Ha wow. I’ll save you my thoughts on the stupidity of a ZIL Facebook group for now but wow. Really all I know of him are the stories and his appearance in Get Lamp. I downloaded the trial of Greystone years back and found a bad typo or something right off the bat. Emailed him about it. Didn’t hear shit back about that but man did I get some spam from the company about “deals” for 20$ off 2 games or whatever.

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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by bryanb » Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:58 pm

So far I've grabbed Cryptozookeeper, Hadean Lands, and Thaumistry for Commercial Text Adventures Month. I already had Cryptozookeeper, but I wanted to be an OWNER. Also, I'm not sure if this was planned or not but both CZ and Thaumistry were on sale when I got them. Commercial Text Adventures Month is a fantastic time for deals that just happens to overlap with Christmas and the Steam Winter Sale. Not surprisingly, Andrew Plotkin does not celebrate Commercial Text Adventures Month. The Crimson Diamond is actually still under development and not purchasable yet -- not sure why I thought it was already available, but it's a graphic adventure game with a parser that looks similar to the early Sierra games.

It looks like there might not be another 2019 review from me for RFTK. I'm trying not to just pump out reviews like I did in the old days...this time around, I'm determined to wait for inspiration to hit me so the reviews will be more memorable and worth reading. Quality over quantity, in other words. Unfortunately, that means that when inspiration isn't hitting we've got a very quiet website on our hands. 2020 is going to be awesome, though.

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Re: Commercial Text Adventures Month

Post by RealNC » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:31 pm

bryanb wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:58 pm
I'm not sure if this was planned or not but both CZ and Thaumistry were on sale when I got them.
Of course it's planned. It's called "Steam Winter Sale" :razz:

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