I have tried playing Genesis from my iPhone. An while the developers of the app MobileMUD do their best to make it work on the iPhone there are still some serious limitations. Simply because the size of the screen you cant get it to look good, either you have to word wrap very strangely, or the text becomes too small to see. I suppose Genesis would need to have some type of mobile version, or a dynamic word wrapping for it to really work. The other big limitation is of course to actually type on your phone. Most of the population I think (or is it just me??) simply cant write quick enough to have a good text game experience.
Allthough it might work better on an iPad I suppose. Atleast it wont be a problem to read the text, typing I assume is pretty awkward even on an iPad though. (I havent tried one). But clearly "pads" are here to stay, and mobile phone screens are getting better and better so perhaps with some work on a client it might be usuable. For instance if you could touch things (words) in the text to interact with the world it would be pretty cool. So instead of writing "examina stone" you simple touch the word "stone" and you will examine it. Or "A ship arrives", touch the "ship" and you'll board it. Touch the orcs to kill them, etc, etc. Using voice recognition for commands and talking to others would also be pretty interesting to try out. Even though voice recognition never really got a breakthough yet. I suppose people dont like talking to themselves with others around, and I admit I may be a little disturbed if someone was going "north, north, north, kill orc" at the desk beside me all day...
Pads give you the "book" feeling though which computers mostly dont, so yeah, I do think text games could have a future there, but I still think its most convenient to play on your computer, atleast in the year 2011.
I think we should focus on making our game successful on a computer before trying to target another media. In all honesty, graphical games are still more made for the small screens and the0 interface of phones and pads. In a few years we'll surely see world of warcraft type games and very good looking graphics on phones. So the future of graphical games will probably have even more of an edge on text games than they do on computers imho.
Anyway, I personally think text games could have a great future if they wanted to. Books are still very popular. Why could not "interactive books" be?
The only reason they are not is nobody have made a serious attempt to make it successful imho. All text games suffer from being developed and played mainly by an aging bunch of old computer geeks from the 80s and 90s. That target group is almost gone, and targeting people who love MMORPGs might not be right either. I think our future lies on those who want to "live their book". Be it young teenagers who just have discovered the fantasy book genre, or moms who want to escape reality awhile. Fantasy books are very successful, fantasy interactive books could be as well.
Text games still have a huge edge on graphical games. Just like books, it's about the imagination of the reader / player. Graphical games do not have that, and will never have that. Just like a good book often can beat a good movie, so could text games. If we could manage to sell it the right way, and to the right people!