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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.
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.)
|BBC||1961||John Burgeson||Baseball simulator|
|The Sumerian Game||1964||Mabel Addis, William McKay||The first edutainment game.|
|Unnamed American football game||1968 or before||Unknown||For the Dartmouth Time Sharing System. One of "many games" in library of 500 programs.|
|The Sumer Game||1968||Doug Dyment||AKA Hamurabi|
|Oregon Trail||1971||Don Rawitsch|
|Star Trek (strategy game)||1971||Mike Mayfield|
|Hunt the Wumpus||1972||Gregory Yob|
|Star Trek (script game)||1972||Don Daglow|
|TREK73||1973||William K. Char, Perry Lee, and Dan Gee|
|Cornell U. Hockey||1973||Charles Buttrey|
|dnd||1975||Gary Whisenhunt and Ray Wood|
|Colossal Cave Adventure||1976||Will Crowther||The original adventure game|
|Mystery Mansion||1977||Bill Wolpert|
|Acheton||1978||Jon Thackray, David Seal and Jonathan Partington||Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe|
|Decwar||1978||Hysick, Bob and Potter, Jeff|
|MUD||1978||Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle||The first multi-user dungeon. See List of MUDs for later examples.|
|Brand X||1979||Peter Killworth and Jonathan Mestel||AKA Philosopher's Quest|
|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|
|Quondam||1980||Rod Underwood||Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe|
|Rogue||1980||Michael 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|
|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|
|Quest of the Sangraal||1987||Jonathan Partington||Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe|
|Spycatcher||1989||Jonathan Partington and Jon Thackray||Adventure game originally hosted on Cambridge University's Phoenix mainframe; released commercially by Topologika Software as Spy Snatcher|
These are commercial interactive fiction games played offline.
|Adventureland||1978||Scott Adams of Adventure International||series|
|Zork I: The Great Underground Empire||1980||Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels and Dave Lebling||series|
|C.I.A Adventure||1980||Hugh Lampert of CLOAD|
|Softporn Adventure||1981||On-Line Systems|
|Madness and the Minotaur||1981||for Spectral Associates|
|The Hobbit||1982||Philip Mitchell and Veronika Megler of Beam Software|
|Time and Magik||1983||Level 9|
|Forbidden Quest||1983||Pryority Software|
|Valley of the Minotaur||1983||Nicolas 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|
|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|
|Dodgy Geezers||1987||Peter Jones and Trevor Lever for Melbourne House|
|Enchanted Castle||1987||Michael R. Wilk|
|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|
|Ingrid's Back||1988||Level 9|
|Dr. Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I.||1988||Michael and Muffy Berlyn|
|Avalon||1989||Yehuda Simmons||A MUD, notable for its pioneering introduction of various innovations such as plotted quests, real estate, banking and distinct skills|
|The Hound of Shadow||1989||for Eldritch Games|
|Islands of Danger||1990||Carr Software|
|Danger! Adventurer at Work!||1991||Simon Avery|
|Spy Snatcher||1992||Jonathan Partington and Jonathan Thackray for Topologika|
|The Yawhg||2013||Emily Carroll|
|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||1982||Bert Kersey, Beagle Bros Software|
|Sleuth||1983||Eric N. Miller|
|Beast||1984||Dan 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|
|MegaZeux||1994||Alexis Janson of Software Visions||Supports editing the character set to allow for more advanced graphical capabilities than most text mode games.|
|Chibot Ultra Battle||1999|
|PAEE||1999||Enrique D. Bosch|
|For a Change||1999||Dan Schmidt|
These are play-by-email games played online.
|Lords of the Earth||1983|
These are BBS door games played online.
|TradeWars 2002||1987||Gary Martin for Martech Software|
|Legend of the Red Dragon||1989||Seth Able Robinson|
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