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TORN: If GTA 5 was a text-based RPG

Let’s face it: there are many text-based games on the Internet.

You’ve got text-based games of all sorts of categories and subjects. Do you want to rule a country? There are games for that. Do you want to experience the life of a mercenary? There’s a game for that. Do you want a choose-your-own-adventure text game where you can backstab your political opponents while operating a robot chicken suit? There’s probably a game for that!

Now, with all types of games saturating the figurative online market, can some of them stand out? The answer is, perhaps unsurprisingly, yes. Welcome to TORN.

Screenshot from the home tab in game

What is TORN about?

TORN is a text-based game that’s essentially GTA 5 in a text-based format. The game takes place in Torn City, and the aim of the game is to – and I’m quoting from the TORN wiki here – “[…]become the best. Earn the most money, own the biggest property, own the most successful company, drive the fastest car, lead the largest faction, have the most friends, complete the most missions, commit the most crime and be the strongest and hardest in Torn City.”

Alternatively, you could blow all your money on gambling. I admit to nothing.

Selecting jobs to run

What’s so interesting about TORN?

Well, for one thing, it’s not a nation-building game. Unlike a lot (and I do mean a lot) of other browser-based text games, TORN focuses on you as a human. You don’t start with a nation for you to control, or as a leader of an army. Instead, you start with literally nothing (and $750 as starting cash, but that’s beside the point).

Another unique thing about TORN is that it lets you become pretty much whomever you want to become. Run a gang? Sure, go ahead! Own a big house out of pure spite? TORN can let you do that. Run a hot dog stand for your job? Probably not, but I’m sure the developers will add it if enough people want it.

But in all seriousness, you are allowed to be whoever you want to be in TORN. In my playthrough of the game, I decided to join the Army and take an education course on computer science a few minutes later. I then decided to visit a candy store, buy a baseball bat from a gun shop, beat up some poor guy named Test Dummy #1 with it, got $55,000 from the poor lad, and then spent that money on a scimitar from the same gun shop. What a world.

However, perhaps the most attention-grabbing feature of TORN is its ability to wage warfare. With currently over 1.5 million registered users (or about the same population of Philadelphia, though I doubt the entirety of Philadelphia plays TORN), there’s bound to be fighting. And therein lies the unique thing about TORN that sets it apart from other games similar to it – it allows you to wage battles over ‘territory’ using a system.

Good luck and have fun!

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