What percentage of games are plain text, using no multi-media?

An approximation will suffice

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It depends on whether you mean parser games or choice based games.

I’d say 90% of current parser games have no multimedia. The other 10% are mostly Adventuron games.

I’d by multimedia you solely mean picture and graphics, I’d say maybe 30-40% of choice-based games use them, with that percentage going up if you exclude games that were made very quickly.

If you include font and text/background color choices it’d go up to like 80% of choice-based games.


And are you just looking at modern IF? Historically the percentage is probably different, but would depend on platform.

For example a very rough figure for something like the ZX Spectrum is about 58% illustrated. (Which, even as a Spectrum adventure player and historian I am surprised by… I thought it would be much lower.)


I’m mostly familiar with parser-based games. My initial gut feeling was the same as @mathbrush , i.e. 90% plain text. However, many of the early commercial text adventures had graphics, as this was a big selling point. For example, many of the Apple II and Atari 8-bit games had graphics. The early Sierra On-Line games had graphics. Magnetic Scroll games had graphics. The Scott Adams, Brian Howarth and Level 9 games were initially text only, but later had graphics. A lot of C64 games had graphics. As @8bitAG pointed out, a lot of the later ZX Spectrum games had graphics (especially GAC games). A lot of Atari ST and Amiga games had graphics. The French were very big on graphics.

Graphics can be divided into character-based graphics (very popular on the C64), bit-mapped graphics and vector-based graphics.

Very few games had animation, music or sound effects.

In the modern era, very few games have graphics. @mathbrush mentioned Adventuron, but only about 50% have graphics. (There are many games that aren’t yet in IFDB that don’t have graphics.)

So, my revised gut feeling is that maybe 70% of all text adventures are text only, but I emphasise that this is only a gut feeling.


Which is really ironic, considering that technology has advanced tremendously since the 8-bit era of the ZX Spectrum/Commodore 64/Famicom (had to include this).

But since the focus is on the text, graphics are a bonus- including Twine, which has support for graphics.

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Most games have cover art which I would consider somewhere on the spectrum of multimedia. I like covert art, and even a bad or simple cover conveys some sort of information.

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For IF in general, it’s almost certainly less than 15%.