Text-Based Web Game A Dark Room is a Gem to Stimulate the MindNovember 4, 2014
With the release of the next generation gaming consoles, we’ve been seriously focused on amazing graphics as a major facet of a video game. I was delighted to come across a game that stimulated my imagination and nostalgia all at once. A Dark Room is a text-based adventure game in which you build a hunter-gatherer society from nothing. To what end? I’m not yet sure.
The game begins with one option: “stoke fire”. A tab above the option reveals that I am in “A Dark Room” and that I can also select “A Silent Forest”. I toggle back and forth between gathering wood and stoking the fire until an event appears on-screen. A stranger has arrived who claims she can help me build things. I slowly (very slowly) expand my little village into a respectable town, fighting off beasts and invaders, eventually gaining the ability to explore the wilderness around the village. I’ve discovered mines, abandoned suburbs, old battlefields, and creepy swamps.
The game is designed by its creator to be left open in a browser tab throughout the day, as members of your village will continue gathering resources over time. I have A Dark Room open as I write this, because I still haven’t beaten the game. I’m not sure it can even be done, but I’m looking forward to trying. Don’t worry; you don’t have to beat it in one sitting. If you close the tab, the game will resume when reopened.
The curt, straightforward text gives off an eerie feeling, as if the landscape of the game is abandoned and colorless. The atmosphere cannot be compared to a graphically intense triple-A game for console or PC. It doesn’t look like much, but it lets my imagination take over and fill in the gaps.