Text adventures, visual novels and gamebooks may be the next evolution of RP. If you aren’t familiar with the terms, they are taking a popular page of gaming history and combining it with modern, even cutting edge, technology. The pen and paper versions were popular in the 1980’s and they even transitioned to early computer networks, message boards and IRC forums (I can attest to that, having played all these flavors of games when they were in vogue).
What I find most interesting, however, is how few role players have heard of, let alone experienced these amazing adventures in storytelling. You would think that the collaborative storytelling community, whether on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress or anywhere else text-based RP is found would be a natural place for developers to go. After all, role players are used to reading, writing and making choices. Most are thrilled when they can add simple visuals to their storylines. They would be overjoyed to experience an SL that included a soundtrack and video. Instead, it seems (based on this article) that the companies developing these gamebooks is focusing on attracting traditional video gamers. Let’s hope someone introduces them to RP soon. I think it would be a match made in heaven…don’t you?