List of text-based computer games

Last updated

The following list of text-based games is not to be considered an authoritative, comprehensive listing of all such games; rather, it is intended to represent a wide range of game styles and genres presented using the text mode display and their evolution across a long period.


On mainframe computers

Years listed are those in which early mainframe games and others are believed to have originally appeared. Often these games were continually modified and played as a succession of versions for years after their initial posting. (For purposes of this list, minicomputers are considered mainframes, in contrast to microcomputers, which are not.)

TitleYear CreatedCreatorNotes
BBC1961 John Burgeson Baseball simulator
The Sumerian Game 1964 Mabel Addis, William McKayThe first edutainment game.
Unnamed American football game [1] 1968 or beforeUnknownFor the Dartmouth Time Sharing System. One of "many games" in library of 500 programs.
The Sumer Game 1968Doug DymentAKA Hamurabi
Highnoon 1970Christopher Gaylo
Baseball 1971 Don Daglow
Oregon Trail 1971 Don Rawitsch
Star Trek (strategy game) 1971 Mike Mayfield
Hunt the Wumpus 1972 Gregory Yob
Star Trek (script game) 1972Don Daglow
TREK73 1973William K. Char, Perry Lee, and Dan Gee
Cornell U. Hockey 1973Charles Buttrey
Wander 1974 Peter Langston
dnd 1975 Gary Whisenhunt and Ray Wood
Dungeon 1975Don Daglow
Colossal Cave Adventure 1976 Will Crowther The original adventure game
Dukedom 1976Vince Talbot
Empire 1977 Walter Bright
Mystery Mansion 1977Bill Wolpert
Zork 1977 Tim Anderson,

Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels and Dave Lebling

Acheton 1978 Jon Thackray, David Seal and Jonathan Partington Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe
Decwar 1978Hysick, Bob and Potter, Jeff
MUD 1978 Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle The first multi-user dungeon. See List of MUDs for later examples.
Battlestar 1979 David Riggle
Brand X1979 Peter Killworth and Jonathan Mestel AKA Philosopher's Quest
HAUNT 1979 John Laird
Martian Adventure 1979 Brad Templeton and Kieran Carroll
New Adventure 1979 Mark Niemiec
FisK 1980 John Sobotik and Richard Beigel Text based adventure game
Hezarin 1980 Steve Tinney, Alex Shipp and Jon Thackray
Kingdom of Hamil 1980 Jonathan Partington Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe
Monsters of Murdac 1980 Jonathan Partington Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe
Quondam1980Rod Underwood Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe
Rogue 1980Michael Toy, Glenn Wichman, and Ken Arnold
LORD 1981 Olli J. Paavola Based on Lord of the Rings
Avon 1983 Jonathan Partington Shakespearean adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe
Castle 1983 Barry Wilks
Dunnet 1983 Ron Schnell
Fyleet 1986 Jonathan Partington Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe
Crobe 1987 Jonathan Partington Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe
Nidus 1987 Adam Atkinson
Quest of the Sangraal 1987 Jonathan Partington Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe
Spycatcher1989 Jonathan Partington and Jon Thackray Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe; released commercially by Topologika Software as Spy Snatcher

On personal computers

Commercial text adventure games

These are commercial interactive fiction games played offline.

TitleYear CreatedCreatorNotes
Adventureland 1978 Scott Adams of Adventure International series
Zork I: The Great Underground Empire 1980Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels and Dave Leblingseries
C.I.A Adventure 1980 Hugh Lampert of CLOAD
Softporn Adventure 1981 On-Line Systems
Madness and the Minotaur 1981for Spectral Associates
The Hobbit 1982 Philip Mitchell and Veronika Megler of Beam Software
Valhalla 1983Legend
Time and Magik 1983 Level 9
Forbidden Quest 1983 Pryority Software
Valley of the Minotaur 1983Nicolas van Dyk of Softalk
The Wizard of Akyrz 1983 Brian Howarth of Mysterious Adventures and Cliff J. Ogden for Adventure International
The Biz 1984 Chris Sievey of Virgin Games Music band simulator for the ZX Spectrum
High Stakes 1984 Angelsoft
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy 1984 Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky of Infocom
Mindwheel 1984 Robert Pinsky for Synapse Software
Zyll 1984 Marshal W. Linder and Scott B. Edwards for IBM
The Pawn 1985 Magnetic Scrolls
A Mind Forever Voyaging 1985 Steve Meretzky of Infocom
Brimstone 1985 James Paul for Synapse
Essex 1985 Bill Darrah for Synapse
Hampstead 1985 Peter Jones and Trevor Lever for Melbourne House
Bored of the Rings 1985 Delta 4
Mind Wheel 1985 Brøderbund Software
Heavy on the Magick 1986 Gargoyle Games
Breakers 1986 Rodney R. Smith for Synapse
Terrormolinos 1986 Peter Jones and Trevor Lever for Melbourne House
Amnesia 1987 Thomas M. Disch The only entirely non-graphical text adventure ever published by Electronic Arts
Braminar 1987
Dodgy Geezers 1987 Peter Jones and Trevor Lever for Melbourne House
Enchanted Castle 1987 Michael R. Wilk [2]
Gnome Ranger 1987 Level 9
Jacaranda Jim 1987 Graham Cluley
Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It 1987 Jeff O'Neill for Infocom
Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels 1987 Bob Bates for Infocom
Shadows of Mordor 1987 Melbourne House
Knight Orc 1987 Level 9
The Guild of Thieves 1987 Magnetic Scrolls
Fish! 1988 Magnetic Scrolls
Ingrid's Back 1988 Level 9
Corruption 1988 Magnetic Scrolls
Dr. Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I. 1988 Michael and Muffy Berlyn
Avalon 1989 Yehuda Simmons [3] A MUD, notable for its pioneering introduction of various innovations such as plotted quests, real estate, banking and distinct skills [4] [5]
The Hound of Shadow 1989for Eldritch Games
Humbug 1990 Graham Cluley
Islands of Danger 1990 Carr Software
Danger! Adventurer at Work! 1991 Simon Avery
Spy Snatcher 1992Jonathan Partington and Jonathan Thackray for Topologika
The Yawhg 2013 Emily Carroll [6]

Miscellaneous games

TitleYear CreatedCreatorNotes
Wizard's Castle 1978 Joseph R. Power
Aliens 1982 Yahoo Software Space Invaders clone for Kaypro.
CatChum 1982 Yahoo Software Pac-Man clone for Kaypro.
Ladder 1982 Yahoo Software Donkey Kong clone for Kaypro.
Text Train 1982Bert Kersey, Beagle Bros Software
Snipes 1983 SuperSet
Sleuth 1983 Eric N. Miller
Beast 1984Dan Baker, Alan Brown, Mark Hamilton and Derrick Shadel
Kingdom of Kroz 1987 Scott Miller of Apogee Software
Mtrek 1987 Chuck Peterson of UCSC
ZZT 1991 Tim Sweeney of Epic MegaGames
Curses! 1993 Graham Nelson
MegaZeux 1994 Alexis Janson of Software Visions Supports editing the character set to allow for more advanced graphical capabilities than most text mode games.
Jigsaw 1995 Graham Nelson
Chibot Ultra Battle 1999
PAEE1999 Enrique D. Bosch
For a Change1999 Dan Schmidt
Shade2000 Andrew Plotkin
Shrapnel2000 Adam Cadre

Online games

Play-by-email games

These are play-by-email games played online.

TitleYear CreatedCreator
Lords of the Earth 1983
Quantum Space 1989
Atlantis PbeM 1993
Eressea PbeM 1996

BBS door games

These are BBS door games played online.

TitleYear CreatedCreator
TradeWars 2002 1987 Gary Martin for Martech Software
Legend of the Red Dragon 1989 Seth Able Robinson


See also

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  4. "Richard A. Bartle: Reviews - UK". Archived from the original on 2015-12-28.
  5. "Designing Virtual Worlds". Archived from the original on 2015-11-18.
  6. "The Yawhg". Archived from the original on 2014-06-01.