ChatGPT created a text adventure for me
There I was, waiting in the doctor’s office lobby. Normally I’d mindlessly scroll through <insert-social-media-site>. But not this time. For some reason1, I opened up the ChatGPT app2 and typed in the following:
Pretend you’re a text based adventure game. I’ll give you commands for things like walk north, east, west, south, etc, pick up and use objects. Have the setting be a haunted house
To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect, but you might be able to guess. Almost immediately, it spit back out:
You find yourself standing in front of a creaky, old haunted house. The air is thick with an eerie silence. The front door is slightly ajar. What would you like to do?
Interesting. I continued:
me: Look around
chatgpt: You scan the surroundings and notice a dimly lit hallway to your left and a dusty staircase leading upwards to your right. To the south, the front door awaits your exploration. What's your next move?
Hmm. Thought I was outside the house, but there’s a dimly lit hallway and a staircase?
Anyway, what WAS my next move?
chatgpt: You strain your ears, and in the unsettling quietness, you catch a faint whisper echoing from the hallway to your left. It seems like a mysterious voice. What will you do next?
Now listen, I know this is probably plagiarised from existing text adventure games. And there were some inconsistencies. Even so, I couldn’t help but be intrigued.
me: Go into the hallway on the left.
chatgpt: You cautiously enter the dimly lit hallway. The creaking floorboards beneath your feet add to the eerie atmosphere. As you proceed, the whispers grow louder, guiding you deeper into the haunted house. Suddenly, you encounter a door to your right and a staircase leading down to your left. What's your next move?
me: Open the door to the right
chatgpt: You slowly open the door, revealing a musty room filled with old furniture covered in dusty sheets. A flickering candle on an ancient desk illuminates the room. In the corner, you spot a wooden chest. What would you like to do?
I legitimately debated about whether it was a good idea to follow the creepy whispers or not. And now, of course, there was only one thing to do with this wooden chest.
me: Open the chest
chatgpt: You approach the wooden chest and cautiously open it. Inside, you find a tattered journal and a rusty key. The journal seems to contain cryptic writings about the history of the haunted house. The key appears to be for a door somewhere in the house. What's your next move?
Ancient journal containing cryptic writings about the history of the haunted house? Let’s put ChatGPT’s summarizing abilities to good use.
me: Summarize the journal
chatgpt: The journal describes a dark history of the haunted house, detailing mysterious occurrences, tragic events, and the restless spirits said to roam within. It hints at a hidden room in the depths of the house, accessible with a key. The journal suggests that uncovering the secrets may provide a way to appease the spirits. What will you do with this newfound information?
me: Take the key and the journal
chatgpt: You carefully stow the rusty key and the tattered journal in your bag. Armed with this newfound knowledge, you feel a sense of purpose within the haunted house. The whispers persist, urging you to explore further. What's your next move?
The haunted house wasn’t the only thing with a sense of purpose now. I felt a need to keep exploring and see what would happen.
Something else occurred to me. An adventure game needs an inventory.
me: What’s in my inventory?
chatgpt: Your inventory now consists of:
These items may prove useful as you continue your exploration. What would you like to do next?
Here’s hoping they’d prove useful. What’s interesting is it kept track of the things I told it to pick up3.
me: Anything else in this room?
chatgpt: As you glance around the room, you notice a faded painting on the wall. It depicts a family that once lived in the haunted house, their eyes seeming to follow you. There's also a decaying wardrobe in the corner. What would you like to investigate further?
me: Generate an image of the painting
chatgpt: I'm afraid I can't generate images, but I can help you visualize it with a description. The faded painting depicts a Victorian family with stern expressions, framed in an ornate golden border. Their eyes seem to follow you, and a ghostly figure is subtly blended into the background, adding an eerie touch to the scene.
Dang, I was hoping I could get it to spit out an actual image of the painting. But alas, this is the free version. But perhaps on a paid plan I could’ve done something like that.
Would’ve been interesting to see how it visualized this ghostly figure.
me: Look closer at the mysterious figure
chatgpt: You lean in for a closer look at the mysterious figure in the painting. As you scrutinize, you notice that its features are obscured, appearing as a shadowy silhouette with an unsettling aura. The figure seems to merge with the darkness, leaving an air of unresolved mystery. What would you like to do next?
I could’ve done more with this figure, but decided to move on4.
me: Go back out to the hallway, and then down the stairs.
chatgpt: You descend the creaky staircase into the lower levels of the haunted house. The air becomes colder, and faint echoes of distant moans reach your ears. At the bottom, you find yourself in a narrow corridor with two doors—one to your left and another to your right. The whispers grow more intense. What will you do next?
Faint echoes of distant moans? Creepy.
me: Go in the door on the right
chatgpt: You cautiously open the door to your right, revealing a dimly lit chamber. A flickering candle illuminates a small altar at the center of the room. The whispers intensify, forming into faint voices that echo with sorrow. On the altar, you notice a worn family photo with faces that resemble those in the painting. What do you want to do in this haunting chamber?
me: Look closer at the photo
chatgpt: As you examine the worn family photo on the altar, you notice a subtle detail – a faint image of the shadowy figure from the painting is standing in the background, almost imperceptible. The connection between the family and the mysterious figure becomes more evident. The whispers reach a crescendo. What will you do next?
There’s our mysterious figure again!
Now, what happened next, dear reader, was pure, unadulterated user error.
me: What’s written on the back of the ohoto
Yes, “ohoto”. I mis-typed “photo”. ChatGPT… well, struggled with this.
chatgpt: You turn the
That was all it got out, and then stopped. The loading spinner spinned fruitlessly.
I waited. And waited. Did I break it? Did OpenAI’s servers crash because of me?
Eventually I clicked the stop button and carried on like nothing had happened.
me: Take the photo
chatgpt: You carefully pick up the worn family photo from the altar. As you do, the whispers in the room subside, and an unexpected draft extinguishes the flickering candle. In the darkness, you hear a distant sound, akin to a door unlocking. The room feels different. What would you like to do next?
At this point I wanted to push ChatGPT a little more, and decided to try to cheat.
me: Put on my night vision goggles
chatgpt: I'm afraid you don't have night vision goggles in your inventory. However, the room now appears dimly lit with an otherworldly glow, revealing a previously hidden passage behind the altar. The whispers guide you towards this newfound path. What will you do?
Wow, so it didn’t let me cheat, exactly. But still helped me out a bit.
me: Run down the hidden passage.
chatgpt: Before you stands an ancient study, filled with dusty books, arcane symbols, and a desk covered in old parchments. A large, ornate mirror hangs on one wall, seemingly untouched by time.
As you approach the ornate mirror, you catch a glimpse of your reflection. However, something feels off. The mirror seems to distort reality, showing subtle changes in your surroundings. Suddenly, the room around you transforms, and you find yourself standing in a grand library filled with ancient books and flickering candlelight.
The whispers grow more distinct, guiding you deeper into the mystical realm within the mirror. What will you do in this enchanting library?
me: Grab the nearest book and open the last page.
chatgpt: You flip through the pages, reaching the very end of the book. The last page contains a peculiar illustration of a keyhole surrounded by mystical symbols. Beneath it, there's a handwritten note: "Unlock the door between realms with the key of understanding."
I’m guessing the rusty key I picked up is this “key of understanding”. Now where’s this door between realms?
me: Go back to the mirror.
chatgpt: You make your way back to the ornate mirror, the whispers guiding your steps. As you stand before it, you notice the keyhole illustration from the book matches a similar keyhole on the mirror's frame. It seems that the key of understanding may unlock a passage to another realm.
What would you like to do with the key you have and the mysterious keyhole in the mirror?
Okay, kind of obvious, but let’s do it.
me: Stick the key into the lock on the mirror's frame
chatgpt: You carefully insert the rusty key into the keyhole on the mirror's frame. As you turn the key, a soft humming sound fills the room, and the mirror begins to ripple like water. A portal opens within the mirror, revealing a mesmerizing otherworldly realm beyond.
The whispers grow more intense, inviting you to step through the portal. What will you do?
What would you do?
me: Step through
chatgpt: With resolve, you step through the portal in the mirror, leaving the haunted house behind. The transition is surreal, and as you pass through the other side, you find yourself in a realm bathed in otherworldly light.
The whispers, now clearer than ever, guide you forward. Your journey in this new realm has just begun. What mysteries await you here? The choice is yours. What will you do next?
Indeed the journey has just begun. But this story has gone on long enough for now.
This whole exercise did raise some questions for me about entertainment, creativity, and whether co-creating an experience like this is better than passively consuming.
I don’t know the answer, and maybe I’ll write more about this topic soon. That is, once I’ve explored some more of the mysteries awaiting me in that new realm.
To be honest, I don’t even use ChatGPT that much. Really only to come up with bash 1-liners. So not sure why I pulled it up here.
Using the free ChatGPT 3.5. What, you think I’m made of money and paying for GPT 4?
So obviously it’s keeping track of our conversation? Let me know how this works, please!
By this point I had an idea I’d be writing an article about the experience, so wanted to keep things moving along.