Play text-based adventure games that print out in real time, with Quest Smith: the Raspberry Pi Zero W–driven handheld gaming device from Bekir Dağ.
Text-based adventure games
Today I learned:
Around 1975, Will Crowther, a programmer and an amateur caver, wrote the first text adventure game, Adventure (originally called ADVENT because a filename could only be six characters long in the operating system he was using, and later named Colossal Cave Adventure).
But I’m sure you already knew that.
According to the internet, text-based games in their most simple form are video games that use text instead of graphics to let players progress. You read the description of your surroundings and choose from a set of options, or you type in your next step and hope the game understands what you’re talking about.
We have a conversation going in our team right now about whether the term ‘text-based games’ is solely used for video games of this nature, or whether choose your own adventure books also fall into the category of text-based games. Leave your thoughts in the comments.
After encountering a similar handheld gaming device in a Berlin games museum, Bekir Dağ decided to build his own using a Raspberry Pi Zero W.
For Quest Smith’s body, Bekir Dağ designed a 3D print, and he provides the STL files for free on Thingiverse. And for the inner workings?
A Raspberry Pi Zero W fits snugly into the body alongside a thermal printer, a battery, and various tactile buttons. The battery is powered by a solar panel mounted on the outer shell, and all components are connected to a TP4056 board that allows the battery to power the Pi.
The Quest Smith software is still somewhat of a work-in-progress. While users can build Quest Smith today and start playing, Bekir has put out the call for the community to submit their own parts of the story.
Each level requires two versions of the story, which makes the possiblities grow exponentially. So it will be very difficult for me to finish a single story by myself. For the player to reach level 9, we will need to have 1023 story parts to be written. If you can help me with that, it would be amazing!
To see more of Quest Smith’s build process, find the files to make your own device, and instructions on how to contribute toward the story, visit the Quest Smith Hackster.io page.
More text-based adventuring with Python
If you’re interested in writing your own text-based adventure game in Python, we’ve got a free online course available in which you can learn about object-oriented programming while creating a text-based game. And for a briefer intro, check out Wireframe magazine issue 6, where game developer Andrew Gillett explains how to make a simple Python text adventure.