What would you teach a group of 12 year old kids about text-based games?

Submitted by boris on Wed, 2008-05-14 19:14

I work in K- 12 school (ages 6 to 18). I am thinking about designing an after-school course on text-based games.

I think I can sell it to parents "A game your kids have to read..." and I'm pretty sure I can generate enough excitement with the kids to get 5 or 6 students. The class would last an entire school year (September to June), meeting once a week. So we would be looking at about 30 class meeting times (probably more like 20 with interruptions and field trips).

I have thought about this a bit, and here's my basic outline:

Text based games

The classics:

play part of Adventure
play part of zork I
play mud II (bartle's mud)


Talk about different code bases
Play some muds:
science fiction
popular fiction


build a mud using (mud code base 1)
build a mud using (mud code base 2)

interviewing a mud builder
interviewing a mud creator


Talk about different mushes
Play some MUSHES:
science fiction
popular fiction


Build a mush using the pennmush server


playing muxes
playing a Battle tech mux

Interactive fiction

The big difference in interactive fiction and MU*'s
playing IF
designing IF using Inform 7

Puzzles: what makes a puzzle fun?
Good writing
How to write a good story
How to write a good bad guy
How to run a TP
Coded systems versus free form RP

What do you all think?