Several players on this board seem to prefer typing commands over clicking on them, for reasons that are ostensibly other than a simple preference for parser over hyperlinked games. Typing, to some, is inherently more interactive. I don’t think that clicking through hyperlinks is any more mindless than going from room to room in a parser game and always examining everything and taking anything that should be portable. I think that hyperlinked games are mindless in the sense that the choices are usually arbitrary or pointless (e.g., examine table; why wouldn’t everyone always click that?), but the interface itself isn’t. Authors just need to make games with choices that have meaningful consequences, forcing the player to think about the options.
So, for people who like to type, would it be worthwhile to offer that option in a hyperlink-based game? Consider a game which offers its choices as hyperlinks following this design:
Today is different. You are ready to take control of your life. Of everything.
You roll out of bed but don’t turn on the television. Not today. You look at yourself in the full-length mirror and decide who you are.
(1) I am a woman.
(2) I am a man.
Note that the choices can’t always be reduced to simple verb-noun constructions or, if they can, the phrasing of the action will not be clear. Also, in this design, only these two commands will be recognized at this time; typing “x me” or “inv,” for example, will not print an appropriate response.
Do you think that allowing the player to type a choice number would be satisfactory for those who prefer to type? Does typing need to involve a command? If so, what form does this command need to take? In the example above, should the choices be formatted like so:
(1) I am a woman (identify as a woman).
(2) I am a man (identify as a man).
Here, the parenthesized text would be the command the player would need to type. Or can we skip the verb and suggest that the player need only type a gender?
The question is, at what level is typing meaningful? A number representing a choice? A word or two summarizing a choice? The choice itself? Alternatively, is it a waste of energy and time to design a game that offers the option of typing (limited) commands in an otherwise hyperlinked game?