Can anyone recommend a PG game to introduce middle school students to text adventures?

I’ve tried several suggestions, with a small group of students, but sadly, I’ve failed to gain their interest.

My hope was to create an end-of-year project where the students create their own world or story in this format, but obviously the medium is unfamiliar to them so I had to start out with letting them try the game. Can’t really expect them to make a game without having minimal familiarity with the format, right? Sadly, many gave up quite quickly and wanted to read the Scholastic magazine instead. I will try again with some other groups of students next week…and may try by forcing it as an assignment with competitive a task, “Be the first to locate room X”, that way they’re at least forced to get far enough into it that they might understand it.

I think the classic games are ones more likely to get them interested. Lost Pig is interesting from the point-of-view of a player who already understands IF, but since the very basic north south east west commands don’t work, students end up spending 5 minutes reading “sorry, you can’t do that” and end up completely confused by what they witnessed.

Though I’m not super involved and up-to-date on IF, I really enjoy the medium, so am quite disappointed I couldn’t attract their interest…will not give up yet though. …sadly, with the library being closed, they’ve also fallen out of the habit of reading.

It wouldn’t be too big a spoiler to tell the students to LISTEN twice in their first moves. After that, Grunk gets his bearings and compass-commands work fine.

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This is what the text adventure literacy jam is all about. To provide adults with the resources to teach kids about text adventure games such that they don’t need to be forced or coersed into enjoying it - they will enjoy it all by themselves.

We’ll see how this experiment goes too - it may also end in failure.


I have not played this one to the end yet, but The Lost Islands of Alabaz seems like an excellent introductory and PG game.
It starts in tutorial mode and it is playable in-browser.

The Lost Islands of Alabaz - Details (

And it was written by Michael Gentry.


Uh…dare I ask?

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Spoil sport! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Back in 2010 I was thinking about the fact that innocuous looking software that you might be willing to use in an education environment might in fact contain very objectionable content. It seemed to me – in fact, it still seems to me – that only open source software could even come close to not having this problem; although, on the other hand, one might also be able to get by with trust.

Anyway, to illustrate this I wrote a little game that identified itself, when started, as Fluffy Bunny Friend: a cute game for unattended young children. But the game was called Hidden Nazi Mode. And there was indeed a hidden Nazi mode. After showing it some testers, I realised that it wasn’t really making any non-obvious point. So I renamed it The Game Formerly Known as Hidden Nazi Mode, took out the hidden Nazi mode and released it along with the source code.

That’s probably how it happened. There might be nothing false about that account.

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This reminds me of

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Have you looked at Suveh Nux? There’s a context sensitive hint system if they get stuck, and learning magic might appeal to kids. All PG stuff.


This one has pictures and a GUI, so it’s ouside of the realm of pure text adventure, but the BBC has an excellent version of Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as a text adventure game, and there’s a hint page as well.

The game: BBC Radio 4 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - The Game - 30th Anniversary Edition

The hint page: BBC Radio 4 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Game hints


Yes! Let’s expose prospective young IF-players to the Babel-puzzle. Let’s see how that turns out! :smile:

Let’s watch those innocent young minds crackle and pop!

(I still haven’t played all the way through H2G2, but this is indeed a great version.)