Live action Interactive Fiction games

Remember those old text adventure games from the 80s, like Zork and Leather Goddesses of Phobos and Planetfall and Lurking Horror? I loved them, and I loved how they engaged my imagination while they encouraged me to solve puzzles.

When I was at Origins, I saw this game called JUNGLE ADVENTURE, which uses a system called Parsely. It's essentially a live version of the old text adventure games. A GM plays the part of the computer, reading descriptions and giving responses to a group of any number of players who are trying to solve the adventure.

I haven't played it at a con, yet, but I've read stories from people who played it in a room of a hundred or more people, with delightful and hilarious results.

I've had such a good time reading JUNGLE ADVENTURE and SPACE STATION, I went to RPGnow and bought ACTION CASTLE, the very first game that was released using this game engine. (Note: I didn't realize, until I started writing this post, that mementomori sells the games directly, so I've linked to those pages here; shut up and give them your money!)

I'm not entirely sure it would work on Tabletop, but I'm going to try it with my friends at our next game day. 

I'm just going to throw this out there: I bet it would be really easy to design your own games using this system… get excited and make something, Internet!!

21 thoughts on “Live action Interactive Fiction games”

  1. Sounds just like what used to happen on MUCKs, MUSHes, and MOOs, which were more sophisticated and freeform text games than MUDs and single player text games, but were actually better known for their social aspects. Heck, my one still active MUCK account will be 18 years old in July.

  2. In the grand traditions of leather goddesses, I am looking forward to Sparks McGee and the alien triplets. Don’t disappoint me, interwebz!

  3. This sounds very cool. I was way into books like the Lone Wolf series and many others…then I found this text RPG that some unknown person made for my TRS-80 CoCo that allowed you to progress through this castle where you could name your player anything you liked plus the addition of “Squire” which later was upgraded as you progressed farther. I can’t count how many games were played with “Squire Ass” “Squire Dipshit” and too many more much more vulgar and juvenile that those…good times!
    Years later I programmed a text based RPG in Hypercard of all things…released in on the Info-Mac Archives as freeware…got some positive feedback and eventually released a full version that sold around 20 copies or so to a small group of hardcore gamers. Man it would be fun as hell to do something like that again…but boy it sucks being an adult sometimes when you don’t have all the free time you did as a kid. ;)

  4. Awesome!
    We played Exits Are Out (Which I think uses the same engine? I could be wrong.) by the hotel pool on the night before JCCC2 and it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing a game with about 20 other people. I’m trying (and failing) to imagine the awesome that would ensue if we played a text adventure with 500 people on JCCC3. Please make this happen?

  5. Parsley games are nothing like MUSH/MUCK/MUX/MOOs. When you play a MU*, you try to pretend there’s no computer. When you run a Parsley game, you try to BE a computer. When you PLAY a Parsley game, you initially try to pretend like there’s no computer (because there isn’t one) – but that, my friend, will get you nowhere fast.

  6. I played Action Castle with my friends last night. The first time they ran into the ghost they were debating what to do and were killed for waiting too long. The same thing happened when they restarted. It was hilarious. Thanks for sharing the links and making us aware of this series.

  7. On the contrary, I think it is I who screwed up. I saw the name Space Station and made an assumption, with classic results. I think you were correct.

  8. This looks sweet, I always loved Zork and all the old school games back in the day. Have you ever heard of Usurper?? It was my first introduction to an multiplayer rpg. Of course it was way back in the day when BBS’s where the thing to do with your 2400 baud modem lol. all text based, only one player could be playing at a time, but it was pretty damn sweet.

  9. [Hello; new here. Note lack of social skills.]
    Well, dang. Once again somebody actually carried out one of the ideas I sat on and never bothered with. When will I learn? (A: 3535.)
    But this sounds like a lot of fun.
    –scott

Comments are closed.