About this project
Special inventory items now available to Kickstarter backers!
• "Skully" t-shirt (toner black—available as a pledge reward w/ a signed or unsigned hardcover book)
• "Skully" cloissoné-style enamel pin (free to all hardcover book backers!)
• A 3.5" floppy diskette bookplate (read/write protect your book—free to all hardcover book backers!)
• A "frequently used commands" bookmark (to help you SAVE GAME—free to all hardcover book backers!)
Parsely Games is a collection of live-action, text-adventure games inspired by my favorite computer games from the 1980s. Using only text and simple ASCII graphics, text-adventure games captured the imagination of countless players worldwide.
As a kid, I spent countless hours playing COLOSSAL CAVE and ZORK, then graduated to DEADLINE, PLANETFALL and WISHBRINGER. I even got a chance to be a game tester on SEASTALKER! But it would be another 20 years before I figured out to play text-adventure games without a computer.
Each Parsely game features a script and a map. The host ("The Parser") reads aloud from the script—describing the starting location and any visible items, NPCs or exits:
The players, usually arranged in a line, a semicircle or in single file, share a single character. On a given player's turn, they speak a simple command to the Parser: EXAMINE an item, GO in a direction, ASK a question or even SAVE their progress. Whatever the command, the Parser then responds as a computer from the 1980s:
Although sometimes, a command might contain an unknown word:
Or the Parser will misinterpret a command (often for comedic effect):
That player's turn complete, the next player in line may give a command—with one command/response per player—until the game ends.
Often, it ends in tragedy:
Sometimes, it ends in triumph:
When everyone gets involved, Parsely games are like logic puzzles crossed with karaoke or stand-up comedy.
In 2003, I created ACTION CASTLE and JUNGLE ADVENTURE while at a friend's party. I eventually published these games as laminated pamphlets in 2009. They proved to be popular when I ran them at game conventions, so I designed a bunch more games: SPOOKY MANOR, SPACE STATION, ACTION CASTLE II and the kid-friendly PUMPKIN TOWN. In 2014, I kickstarted Z-WARD and SIX-GUN SHOWDOWN and a few years later I started work on the latest, greatest Parsely games: ACTION CASTLE III and DANGERTOWN BEATDOWN.
Parsely Games will be a 300-page hardcover containing every Parsely text-adventure game I've ever designed, including revised game text, full-color maps and artwork, and a new and improved format for easy reading and navigation. Also featured is a foreword by Wizards of the Coast founder Peter Adkison, plus all the rules, tips and tricks you need to know to run a successful game.
“…the best game that I have played all year” —Chris O’Neil, co-author of Kobolds Ate My Baby
“…clever, silly, well-rehearsed, & a true homage to Zork.” —Steve Jackson, game industry legend
“…the awesomest awesome.” —Scott Rubin, co-host of the Geek Nights podcast
“Very rarely do new game concepts come along which impress me, but this one stands out as being something truly revolutionary. And yet, like many of the most brilliant ideas, it’s so fiendishly simply that you say “why hasn’t anybody thought of this before?”
—Andrew Looney, designer of Fluxx
Risks and challenges
All the games are written and the major pieces of game art are done. The next step is to finish the map illustrations and add lots more artwork. Burning Wheel is publishing the game, which means it's going to look amazing—and they're pros at this kind of stuff. I'm optimistic!
We will also be charging shipping for international backers AFTER the project is done before we ship the games. We hope this allows us to negotiate the best rates for you. If you're not comfortable being charged later, please pledge for the PDF edition!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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