Fallen London is the best free-to-play text based computer game ever made
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"Game" in this context: an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a touchscreen, virtual reality headset or monitor/TV set
Text-based: an electronic game that uses a text-based user interface, that is, the user interface employs a set of encodable characters such as ASCII instead of bitmap or vector graphics.
Free-to-play: Doesn't cost money to play
Burden of proof is shared
“Fallen London is an anomaly today. It’s a free-to-play, text-based browser game… it’s an open-world RPG that subsists mostly on the written word to spin bizarre tales… and it’s an adventure game that encourages imagination in its players rather than illustrate every scene on screen, as players fill in the blanks of their tales with spirited recreations of their journey in their heads.”
“The bestest best words in all of gaming.”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
“Superlative… every bit as vividly drawn as the worlds built by Rockstar in Red Dead Redemption, or Irrational in Bioshock, or Supergiant in Bastion.”
“This is hands-down one of the best browser games we’ve ever played.”
Reviewers are also very intrigued by the relatively unique lore and concept, as from its website:“Fallen London is an anomaly today. It’s a free-to-play, text-based browser game… it’s an open-world RPG that subsists mostly on the written word to spin bizarre tales… and it’s an adventure game that encourages imagination in its players rather than illustrate every scene on screen, as players fill in the blanks of their tales with spirited recreations of their journey in their heads.”Unwinnable“The bestest best words in all of gaming.”Rock, Paper, Shotgun“Superlative… every bit as vividly drawn as the worlds built by Rockstar in Red Dead Redemption, or Irrational in Bioshock, or Supergiant in Bastion.”Tom Chick“This is hands-down one of the best browser games we’ve ever played.”Gamezebo
The writing style is also very unique. Even from the start, it's obvious this is not your standard game: "My dear sir, there are individuals roaming the streets of Fallen London at this very moment with the faces of squid! Squid! Do you ask them their gender? And yet you waste our time asking me trifling and impertinent questions about mine? It is my own business, sir, and I bid you good day."The horror within Seeking is especially well-written and showcases how much effort was put in.One example: "This is the last time. The walls of the well are studded with chunks of glass-sharp obsidian. You knew it must be so. But if you bleed to death before you drown, it will be for nothing.Your flesh rips as you fall. Both your arms and one thigh are ragged tatters. You scream with pain and fury into the water. Too much blood! You won't have time to drown. You won't have time to drown.You arranged your own betrayal. You made yourself a target. The venal and the vicious could not resist it. But they didn't chain you. They beat you and robbed you. Why can they not understand?"
The game play itself I will admit can get a bit slog especially with Nemesis's ending, or the Making Your Name in Empress Court, but there are a lot of options available for repeat even beside the main storyline, such as getting kicked out of University and trying to get back in, or exploring the Tiger's Labyrinth, or even (I'm not supposed to mention it, but I will for the sake to explain just how in-depth the game is) the secret Ambition Enigma which challenges your treasure hunting ability and understanding the few clues sent in your way.
My opponent mentions Torn City as 4.7/5 but fails to mention the mere 18 people who have reviewed it. He also doesn't tackle Torn City game play itself, which is arguably just as repetitive as Fallen London, if only a little more expansive. The bigger problem is also no overarching story, so it forces the player to make their own goals which may eventually be worse. Fallen London characterizes important characters in its story, whether it be Edwards from Light fingers, the Manager from Hearts Desire, the Vake from Bag a Legend, or even the Killer from Nemesis, and especially making you suffer as much as Mr. Eaten. Torn City is relatively safe for the most part, and it's difficult to tell the mood of one part of game play from another. One part of Fallen London within Light fingers has you trapped in a coffin with very few options to escape. Another has you sail across the sea, awaiting the next opportunity to come. Torn City mechanics are poor and dry, and resemble Fallen London without the big stories to tell.
As for Zork, the puzzles are interesting and fine, but the reviews are still mediocre, around 4/5 or 4.2/5. https://prnt.sc/sshj2m It has established a strong basis, and perhaps inspired a lot of people, but the game itself is rather simple. The story doesn't have that much lore, and the praise from Wikipedia seems to stem from its innovation relative to its time, the puzzles in general, so on and so forth. I mentioned Fallen London's mediocre parts because I admit it has flaws, but no game can be perfect. Unless there is another free-to-play browser game that somehow overcomes Fallen London's quality being able to beat its grind with interesting story snippets, then London remains the best. London is meant to be a game played over long time, anyways. A lot of people enjoy even idle games without any story whatsoever. London stands out from the crowd with its role playing options and its in-depth storyline.
my opponent only looks at metacritic reviews and forgets about other sites, such as touch arcade, rock paper shotgun, engadget, all supporting and giving it favorable reviews. Torn City only has reviews from more specific critics such as MMO's.com, ind13, MMOBomb, so forth. It clearly has a far more restricting audience.
It is undeniable that the game play is worse than fallen london, you are limited to gym, education, buying items, completing small missions for merely rewards (and no gain of lore of story for stronger empathy towards the story). You know practically nothing about your hirers' personality even as you progress onwards, and there are hardly any secrets to be explored. Torn City is just too simple compared to Fallen London.
As for Zork, it might've been mediocre fine and an old game, but it's still a bit of a stretch to say it was incredibly powerful as a game on its own. New text based adventures offer more depth and tricks to solve, and the old mechanics are rough to say the least. A lot of people give somewhat high reviews but their summary is silly, "you go on an adventure and get eaten by a grue", which is nowhere near as complex as Fallen London's "gather people to play a card game" (Heart's Desire), "try to steal a diamond but discover horrific experimentation in the orphanage" (Light fingers), "fight dangerous men and try to get revenge on the one who killed your love" (Nemesis), "track down assassins and figure out what--or who-- the monstrous Vake is" (Bag a Legend), or even "destroy yourself to a seemingly meaningless end as you replicate the experiences of the mistreated Mr. Eaten" (Seeking Mr. Eaten's Name).
Zork had good puzzles for its age, but Fallen London clearly understood you needed a story with depth, with plot twists, with mystery filled throughout. The characterization is far stronger than Zork, which focuses mostly on you and the game play of getting out of the dangerous temple, which many find annoying since it's not very straight forward. FL's Grind may be a double-edged sword, but it also helps casual gamer play more and not worry about constantly having to restart due to getting eaten by a grue.