Video Gaming (EL 250)

2 Jan 2006

Thy Dungeonman

Part of Strong Bad's Videogames animation.

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I have never played a game like Thy Dungeonman before and I'm not sure that I like it. Maybe it's because I am a visual person but I did not like that the game is all text and no animation. Thy Dungeonman is confusing to me because it will not allow you to do somethings like picking up the flask and it just seems like it takes you around in circles. This type of game I would avoid because it doesn't seem like a fun game to play.

Posted by: Kayla Lukacs at January 2, 2006 03:32 PM

Just like Alexander Pope's Mock Epic story; Thy Dungeonman is a Mock Text Game. To play a Text game you must constantly work your imagination. Commands like "Look" in most text games will reveal a novel like description. It's like deeply analysing a page in a book to get the full experience.

As I said, Strong Bad mocks the common incomplete description of text games. Two mistakes creators often make are not having enough description and only allowing very specific commands. Allowing a limited number of commands: while "grab the jar" might not work "Take the Jar" might. The Zork Series is well written and I bet you could find a free download online. If you want some extra work or get bored of reading Hemingway.

Posted by: Stephan Puff at January 2, 2006 05:03 PM

The real novelty of the game of Thy Dungeonman at the end is that it is unwinnable. Try "making stuffeth up," too!

Posted by: Evan Reynolds at January 2, 2006 06:18 PM

Puff, that's an insightful comment about satire. Kayla, we will actually look at some more text-based games, and you'll see that the "real" games are limited in many of the same ways that "Thy Dungeonman" was playing with. But the "Storytelling in Computer Games" reading (for tomorrow) talks a bit about the technological limitations -- these games had to run on computers that were sold to home users in the late 70s.

My calculator probably has more computing power than those old machines had. And there were 20 or 30 different machines on the market, and none of them were compatible -- so if you wanted to sell a game, you had to make it work on a dozen or more of the most popular systems.

We humans know many thousands of words, and a good text-adventure game recognizes hundreds. All games are limited -- there are only so many buttons on your controller, so all games are limited somehow. Learning to play a text-adventure game is a skill, just like learning to play Centipede or Space Invaders.

Evan, I suppose it depends on what you mean by "win," but there is an ending to "Thy Dungeonman" that suggests a happy ending!

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 2, 2006 10:41 PM

Umm... it's deffinitely winnable.

Hint: Talk to dennis

Other Hint: you can give things to people

Posted by: Jeoshua at June 12, 2006 11:51 AM
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