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Freeware Garden: (The Aptly Named) 3DTextAdventure

Freeware Garden searches the corners of the internet to highlight one free game every day.

Sometimes experiments don’t need one of those fancy imaginative titles and, appropriately, 3DTextAdventure doesn’t have one. It’s content with attempting to do what it says on the tin and, crucially, succeeding.

3DTextAdventure then, a game most obviously in 3D, lets you navigate its space via the traditional WASD-mouse controls but only allows you to meaningfully interact with it via a simple text parser. Not surprisingly, the thing tends to answer back in competently written text too and actually plays more like a 3D version of an early Sierra adventure than a full blown interactive fiction.

I suppose I was expecting to type in cardinal directions in order to move around and rely more on prose for the world building, but that’s only old-fashioned me. Innovation-loving me found the experiment extremely intriguing (and, yes, successful) and would love to see it evolve into a full game, maybe incorporate one of the many highly versatile open source text adventure engines out there, and polish up a few rough edges here and there.

What really matters though, is that this particular fusion of mechanics and graphics works; I mean, it really, properly works and it works well. Graphics, descriptions, the parser-based interface, the mouse-based exploration they all combine seamlessly into a new and exciting adventure gaming sub-genre and I am certain this could lead to some amazingly atmospheric offerings.

As for the game itself, well, it’s definitely worth a try, even if you are not interested in exploring its genre-fusing interface and mechanics. Provided you are aware of the number π, playing through 3DTextAdventure will require less than an hour of your time and provide you with an interesting sci-fi story and some fun puzzles.

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Konstantinos Dimopoulos

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