What an RPG or graphic adventure requires from you with a mouse click, the text adventure requires with a typed command.
So if the qualitative aspects are the same, why have text-based games not been able to compete in the industry in any meaningful way? Why are not more game authors flocking to this way of writing games? Why are more gamers not interested in these games? My point was that, yes, all games have mechanics. We all know that. It's the nature of the mechanics that ultimately matters to audiences.
Text games often tout their interactivity as being a key driver of what makes them a different experience. Yet, as you've just said, it's basically the same thing really. I'm saying that's not the case -- at least to audiences that left text adventures behind and those that continue to ignore them.
As for parser errors, or being "stuck" from a lack of ability to effectively communicate with the program, I can't imagine anyone would single out text adventures, which (in my experience) have never crashed in the middle of a level or a save/restore. I've never found my avatar inextricably spliced between two planes and had to restart in a text adventure. I've never found myself unable to shoot a target in a text adventure because the displayed pixels were calculated out of synch with the underlying engine's 3D map, nor found that my sound card was incompatible with my text adventure's prose.
Great points. I'm surprised it took someone this long to bring them up. But, yes, that is one value add of text games: they are not resource intensive and thus can be played on very minimal systems.
At present, there is no expectation that a work of art will employ every sense both literally and figuratively.
Among gamers, however, there is an expectation that games will engage them with different levels of interactive elements: which is why sound cards and video cards are such an important component of systems and why high-end gaming rigs are the norm. Gamers do have many expectations. Not of "every sense" -- which I don't think I said -- but certainly of multiple senses when interactivity with an environment is touted.
I enjoyed Ender's Game just fine without having to hoist a promotional poster above the book as I read for lack of visual stimulation.
But you can get visual stimulation by how the author evokes imagery in your mind. That's what you can get from books. Presumably from a good game author, you can get the same from a text adventure. But you can get the same from any game if the game author(s) are good. It seems like it's how you can interact that sets the games apart. (Again: I'm going on what I constantly hear -- that the interactive elements of text adventures are what set them apart from other games.)
Interactive fiction is a visual, symbolic medium which conveys an experience to the reader, founded on the author's input, and allowing the reader a degree of control over the revelation of the conveyed experience.
Which -- if I replace "reader" with "player" -- I could say about any game format, not just text adventures. (Again, to me "interactive fiction" is any type of experience that is fictional and interactive. That means most games fall into that category. It's ridiculous to me that people would somehow only equate this with text games.) The specific focus on "reader" along with "degree of control" does seem to suggest that these are the compelling arguments: someone who likes to read stories but would like more control over the lead character in the story. The mechanic they then have to accept is the parser.
What I was trying to find out is what is the appeal of text adventures that sets them apart from other games, making them a viable other choice. Since you can get control of the lead character in any game, the emphasis goes back to the reading experience, if everyone agrees that the mechanics of an RPG (or other game) are ultimately reducible to what you would do at a command prompt. In that case, the reading experience demands that you have good authors that can deliver.
Yet there's no getting around the fact that text adventures lost out in a big way to just about every other gaming format, even though people's desire to read during that same period of time certainly didn't diminish.