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Who says you need a high-powered PC for those 100-gigabyte games? Some titles are simple to play with a mouse and keyboard — just like we did in the old days. Text-based AI games have stood the test of time, providing hours of fun and fantasy for whatever you like. So, what is the best text-based AI game? Let’s run through our eight best picks.
1. AI Dungeon
Have you ever wanted to write a story but didn’t know where to begin? We’ve been there with writer’s block. If you want a fun storytelling experience, try AI Dungeon. In this game, you chat with the bot and let it create a story for you. Yes, the magic of technology is incredible enough to do this action. Experts say AI’s market value will exceed $1 trillion by 2028, so it’s only growing from here.
First, pick a setting. Your adventure starts in fantasy, mystery, apocalyptic, cyberpunk or zombie-filled world. From there, you select actions, dialogue and important events to dictate the story. AI Dungeon gives you much control over the story, making a fantastic AI game experience.
2. Alter Ego
Some text-based games are as old as the internet itself. Ask your parents about Alter Ego and see if they ever played this game. Peter J. Favaro designed the game in the mid-1980s, and Activision released it in 1986.
You start the game as a baby, as in real life. Then, you can choose situations and see what happens to your character. Each decision you make has subsequent consequences, so choose wisely. You progress through life in Alter Ego and age into adulthood and, eventually, your golden years. This game is famous for combining hilarious events but also keeping it real. Sometimes, your character could die due to traumatic situations. It’s a great game to play with your friends to see how your lives compare.
3. Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead
Some text-based AI games require a purchase, but Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead is completely free. You can access the game on the publisher’s website and get started with your friends tonight! Beware, though, this game is dark. After all, it’s in the game’s title.
First, the game makes you navigate a post-apocalyptic world. That in itself is pretty scary! You must find supplies without any humans to help you through the madness. Oh, and zombies and robots are coming after you. You’ll need to dig deep into your survival skills to save yourself.
4. A Study in Steampunk: Choice by Gaslight
Are you into mystery? If you’re up for a wild ride, check out A Study in Steampunk: Choice by Gaslight. Hosted Games created Choice by Gaslight with inspiration from some classics — Dracula, Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes and other fascinating stories.
Choice by Gaslight puts you in control of an empire. You could be the leader and defend your kingdom from spies and criminals. Alternatively, you could ensure the empire’s downfall. There’s also romance, magic, science, and many more elements to have fun in the game. Check it out on Steam to see if you enjoy it.
5. King of Dragon Pass
If we made this list in the 2000s, King of Dragon Pass would have ended up on the worst games list. A Sharp released the game in 1999, only to see it as a colossal failure. However, a rebirth came in the early 2010s, when King of Dragon Pass got a re-release for iOS, Android and PC. Now, it’s the game we know and love.
In this title, you take over a Nordic clan dating back thousands of years. You’re the leader, so you’re in charge of war, trade and other important life aspects. You can build towns with other clans or take over villages. If you successfully navigate the game, you’ll become the king of Dragon Pass.
AI is getting better and better each year, and Novel AI might be the best example you can see on the market. Anlatan released NovelAI in the summer of 2021, and it uses language models to write stories and prose. You need a subscription to access the services, but it’s well worth the cost.
NovelAI trains itself on millions of examples of literature, so it knows what it’s talking about. The AI is quite literally your sandbox, providing plenty of freedom to do what you want. NovelAI sets itself apart from other AI games by also producing images. You must deliver images first so the AI knows what to base its picture on. If you’re looking for anime adventures, you’re in the right place.
If you seek maximum creativity, you may get what you desire through Scenario. This game runs on generative AI, letting you go as far as technology takes you. Scenario is even intelligent enough to translate your content into different languages, maximizing inclusivity and reaching worldwide audiences.
Start typing in a prompt, such as “Alice in Wonderland but in a post-apocalyptic world” or “Planet Earth dominated by robots instead of humans.” Scenario’s AI will generate all of this content for you, including character names, locations within the world and various creatures roaming the terrain. This game is fantastic for getting the ball rolling on your storytelling and creating amazing stories.
Last winter, Scenario graduated from Beta and debuted in 40 countries by early 2023. The developers say the game has encountered no downtime and produces approximately 100,000 images daily.
The question shouldn’t be how often you think about the Roman Empire. Instead, you should ask people how often they think about the underground empire in Zork. This text-based AI game has been around since 1977, making it the oldest game on this list. Visicorp (previously known as Personal Software) developed the game based on Colossal Cave Adventure, creating a fantastic adventure game requiring only text.
In Zork, your goal is to navigate the ruins of the underground empire. Here, you’ll find plenty of treasure to make yourself rich. However, you must solve puzzles to get your loot. Zork also throws you for a loop by encountering thieves underground. Will you fight or run away? If you thought the thief was annoying, wait until you meet a grue monster. See how far you can get in this creative AI game.
What’s the Best Text-Based AI Game?
These eight games stand out to us as the best text-based AI titles available. It’s hard to pick a favorite one, so let’s bring out the podium. The winners are:
- 1st: AI Dungeon
- 2nd: A Study in Steampunk: Choice by Gaslight
- 3rd: Alter Ego
What do you think? What games would make your podium? Did we miss any on our eight-game list?