Any recommendation for the first parent-kid parser game?

Yesterday, I shortly played Zork with my 8 year old son. It was fun, but:

  1. We’re both ESL, so our active English vocabulary is limited. That has always hindered me when playing parser games, and it does doubly so when I play with the kid and don’t want to just say the verbs myself. (“Let’s examine this, shall we?”)
  2. The kid clearly craved more action. He wanted to play as a barbarian, not a nerd. For example, he got really excited about the elven sword in the living room, but was disappointed that he couldn’t immediately do anything with it.

Are there any parser games that you would recommend for this case? Something more sandbox-y, or with lots of action and fewer puzzles? Ideally, a power fantasy of some kind (ship captain, powerful knight, space pilot)? With very simple vocabularies?

I found this more general 2019 thread about kid-friendly parser games but I thought I’d ask in case some of you can recommend a game off the cuff.

For what it’s worth, I wrote a prototype of a game in similar vein called Giant Robot War 2 years ago. But that was when the kid was 6, so it was choice-based, extremely hammy, and possibly even more action-heavy than what I’m looking for now.


Check also this jam:

Games exclusively designed for children.


Ooh! Thank you both.

I especially like this one from the Text Adventure Literacy Jam!

Dungeons of Antur (TALP)


Excellent choice. What’s your first language? If it happened to be Spanish, Ricardo also did a Spanish version called Mazmorras de Antur.


In fact, there was a full Spanish companion version of the TALJ with 5 Spanish games submitted: Concurso de iniciación a las aventuras de texto -


This game was really popular all over the internet for a little bit during IFComp 2015, probably because of its simple language and structure but fun puzzles:

This game has simple language and lets you eat your pants!

There’s also a list of Czech games:


You’re all wonderful. Thank you!


Lost Pig is certainly the canonical answer to this question. In the IFDB “kid-friendly” tag it’s far and away the top-ranked game.

It’s also, specifically, by far the most forgiving parser game of any parser game I’ve ever played. You think of an idea? It’s probably going to work, and the game will respond with a funny joke response.

I had my 8yo daughter draw a map as we played (once we fell underground, in the first few minutes of play) and started by having her draw a compass rose, to remind her which direction is which.

I also had her draw the pictures depicted on the west and east wall in the Statue Room, especially the “pie” on the east wall.

I was the typist, and would ask her to type commands, and would occasionally type commands of my own to help.


Of the classics, maybe Wishbringer?


I can confirm that Lost Pig is a great game to play together with a child that age, and a good introduction to Infocom-style games. My daughter was about the same age (7 or 8?) when we played it. You’ll likely need to provide some guidance about the puzzles and talk it through a lot.

She then played two Adventuron Games by herself, just coming to me sometimes when she got stuck. They were Reflections, and Barry Basic and the Speed Demon.

On the iPad she’s played Dreamhold and Jinxter by herself, but not finished them.

She has since discovered Scratch (the children’s programming thing)…


The following recommendation is quite atypical but I think it fits the above description pretty well.

I recommend that you install Eamon Deluxe as the included games mostly fit your description. They have less puzzles on average and you are usually a hero fighting with swords or laser guns. It involves turn-based combat but that is very simple: you just type “attack pirate” and to repeat your command you simply hit enter. The great thing about Eamon is that if you find a cool weapon in one adventure you can bring it into another adventure. The player will learn to navigate with cardinal directions and so on and there will be few puzzles though some Eamon games have several. If you type a verb that the game does not know you will automatically be told all the verbs known by the game.

I would recommend to start out with “Beginners Cave” which isn’t the best but a good way to get familiar with Eamon. Then you can increase the difficulty level and go for “The Cave of the Mind” and later “A Runcible Cargo” etc.