I’m thinking about types of challenges in text game design today, and how the reader can meet them.
I’m having fun!
So maybe someone would like to share the fun with me by talking about some specific challenges they think work in text games, or by talking about the best examples they’ve seen in the text games they’ve read
Also happy to hear about examples from other walks, like video games, particularly if you have an idea about how that could be applied in a text game (like I have no idea how a button-bashing physical challenge on a console controller could be emulated in a text game, so didn’t write it here…)
Some types of challenges:-
(When following context, lore, or subtle themes - maybe learned on optional side paths - may radically alter a decision. Like you’ve learned that the revolution is actually being funded by a faction of the elite that is using the revolutionaries as a stalking horse against a rival, making the decision to help out more nuanced.)
(Using clues to reach conclusions about whodunnit, or maybe working out whether you can get a two faction out of your way by pitting them against one another)
(More specific I think. Finding the right key to open a door, or standing on the correct two pressure pads at once to not be hurt by a poison gas trap. Collecting passwords, or working them out through coded information or literacy challenges.)
(Like remembering how an opponent has behaved in the past and adjusting your approach accordingly, or realising you’ve got about a minute to act while a character is turning into a werewolf because you’ve seen it take that long when they did it before)
(Who or what do I want to be? How do I want to approach this as a character? I think these challenges tend to offer opposing decisions, like morale decisions, or faction politics decisions)
(Like maths problems, or applying knowledge of game world physics, chemistry or biology you’ve learned during an encounter).
Quick thinking / pressure challenges
(Making decisions under pressure - is this less relevant in text games - particularly choicescript - as you can’t use time as a pressure? Maybe you can emulate time pressure with good writing and high stakes decisions.)
(I guess this could be important in a more open world challenge? Like a game that partly takes place in a labyrinth or something? Or perhaps where you gather resources from different places - like knowing ‘dragontooth’ flowers only grow on the pinnacles of the tallest mountains)
(Understanding how different skills in character builds complement each other. Weighting a character to achieve a specific outcome more easily - like building a dedicated fighter or a rogue)
(Like choosing to fight horsemen with pikes or occupying the high ground, or flanking your friends during a snowball fight to negate the advantage of their snow fortress)
(Allocating gold, inventory management. Choosing to set up one type of building to focus on gathering resources so you can get a more advanced specialist building - and its benefits - sooner. Trading goods)
(Empathising with npc’s goals, weighing a romantic relationship and your partner’s feelings against original conflicting goals)
Any thoughts, or fleshing out any of these, or any best examples you’ve seen are really welcome!!