Emily Short on the limitations of parser-based IF.
And I’ve finally, about fifteen years on, accepted that there is nothing I know how to do that will make a parser-based game a sufficiently inviting prospect for the majority of players. Tutorial text, external help materials, more synonyms, better error messages, attempts to highlight key nouns and list key verbs for the player — you can spend hundreds of hours on those sorts of helps and still not manage to make a parser-based game that is as immediately comprehensible as a choice-based game is by default. It doesn’t matter that there’s a map provided and a hint system and a novice mode and that the story is based on something familiar: with all that, Bronze is still a harder sell th
an Choice of the Dragon, because the parser gets in the way. —ifMUD IF discussion | Emily Short’s Interactive Storytelling.