Adapting a parser text adventure?

Hello! I’ve written a few parser/text adventure games in the past, and I was considering adapting one of them to be a hosted game.

It wouldn’t be traditional Choice of Games style at all; basically, it’s a murder mystery (called Color the Truth) where you talk to 4 suspects and explore their flashbacks, collecting discrete chunks of evidence, and then you ‘link’ the pieces of evidence to find contradictions.

So you would revisit the same pages several times as you talk to the suspects and walk up and down the halls (and revisit flashbacks as they change), and you would have some pages with 20+ choices (consisting of every piece of evidence that you can talk to the suspects about).

The original was about 60,000 words. It would have little replay value (I personally don’t replay Choice of Games except for Choice of Robots).

I’m interested in pursuing this in addition to some other CoG stuff. Does this sound like it might be at all interesting? The original game took 2nd place in the Interactive Fiction Competition. I would be hoping for 2000-3000 copies sold over a year or two, but I don’t know if that’s likely given that it’s not CoG style.


We have seen some linear games but they don’t really sell very well.

That said I think it would be best if you add some more aspects to the game rather than just copying the previous one. Make it as less as railroaded and have multiple endings. ( 3 at least )

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I agree. Could you write in some extra branches that circle back to the main storyline. (That way people can do different things, or interact with different people without affecting the main storyline) A few little side quests could make it more replayable. Could even give the player the chance not to catch the right person if they don’t find the right clues or interoperate them wrong or have more than culprit.

In saying that, it could come across ok as is, but your reviews might get hit if people play it more than once and everything is the same.


I agree that games that don’t follow the usual COG style often aren’t particularly popular, but I personally would love to see a game like this. I’d say murder mysteries are one of my favorite kind of games. I wouldn’t mind having to go back and forth between the same pages since, if it was a page I’d already read, I just wouldn’t bother reading it again. :yum:

Thanks so much for everyone’s input. It sounds like it would be a marginal game with some small interest. I still might do it just to learn Choicescript; also because the text is completely written already. Maybe even add some branches, never know.

Thanks everyone!


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I think there would be definite interest in a murder-mystery style game; I know I’d be interested! I also agree with the previous replies, including the part about not getting discouraged. It’s probably better to think of a Choicescript version as the Deluxe/Remastered/Super Alpha Turbo version instead of a straight port: For example, adding new interactions or additional characters and different endings, like a Loss ending where you don’t collect all the clues/analyze them correctly or even an ending where you can choose, for a story-appropriate reason, to let the true culprit go or even implicate another character. This wouldn’t just attract players who are more used to the less-linear nature of CS games but would also give people who played the original text adventure version incentive to play the new one. Character creation is also basically a requirement at this point, even if the name and gender of the viewpoint character has nothing to do with the rest of the game, as some people won’t even try out a CS game without that minimum of customization.

I used to play a lot of IF some years ago and, at the time, I don’t remember monetizing parser-style text adventurers as being “a thing,” although I was just playing and not creating so I could be wrong. I think it’s worth giving this project a shot if you’re even slightly interested in learning CS, since as you said you’ve already got the heart of the game in place: Any extra content would be require relatively little time to create compared to making something entirely new, and I can see the concept of the game itself adapting well to the Choice of format. The demo for Samurai of Hyuga Book 3 has a sleuthing element and I enjoyed it greatly; as much as I love narrative-based games, I also really enjoy it whenever a CS game incorporates more “game-like” elements (puzzles, ect) that are more common in parser-type games.

One specific bit of advice, if you do go ahead with it: Twenty-odd options on one page might get a little cumbersome, so it might be a good idea to split the clues up into different categories so the player can select subpages of clues instead of having all the clue-options on one page. Not sure how you’d prefer doing this (clues separated by the character they’re related to? Maybe by the location the clue was found?) but I think it’d make examining and talking about the clues less of a chore and easier to take in at a glance, ex. “These are all the clues related to Bob the Grocer” or “These are all the clues I found in the library.”

You could separate options by category:
#Look at something
#Talk to someone
#Leave the room

And then these would have further options underneath. Select a character to talk to, then a subject (and probably have the option to keep discussing different things with the same character until you indicated you were done). Look at something would lead to a list of things in the room, and after reading a description you’d see the options to interact with it (pick it up, use it with something else, maybe examine it further in a unique way – listen, smell). And leave would of course give you options for directions. Instead of an option to list what was in your inventory, you can move that information to the stat screen (though you’d still have to use it from the main screen)

Does that sound workable? Basing the categories on about 3 parser games I’ve actually played…

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