Modern Parser Graphic Adventures

If you are a fan of classic graphic adventures that use a parser, such as the King’s Quest and Space Quest series, then you’ll want to check out the modern parser adventure scene, where people are building new games that look and play like games from that era but updated to have a more robust parser and avoiding problems like softlocks.

My favorite of these is Snail Trek. It’s a fairly short episodic series where you play as a group of snails checking out a planet to see if it can be a new homeworld for them. I loved how flexible the parser was and how it would offer word suggestions. The player is also encouraged to check out player deaths because they’re humorous and will reload you back to before you made your mistake. The first episode of four is free.

Gif from Enclosure 3D of a man entering and exiting a shower

Most of the modern parser graphic adventures seem to be on Itch so I made a list of them. I recommend playing all of them. None of them are too long and they all have something unique to offer. The Aching is a new game for DOS that has a Dosbox wrapper so you don’t have to do any weird configuration to play it in Windows. The Crimson Diamond is a mystery inspired by the classic Sierra game The Colonel’s Bequest. It’s currently in development so the download on the Itch and Steam page is just a demo but you can watch dev streams for the game every Tuesday. The Tachyon Dreams trilogy and Spy Quest series are by developers of modern adventure games like Blood Nova. Enclosure 3D is a remake of an adventure game from 2004 but with a really snazzy 3D engine that I would love to see applied to more parser games.

There’s also games not on Itch like Betrayed Alliance and Fortune and Glory, a text parser rpg that is currently in development. I’m sure there’s plenty of games I’m missing but it’s exciting seeing so many developers revisiting ideas from games in the 80s and building upon them.

screenshot from The Aching of someone walking next to a giant mouth in a wall

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