On this Page: Description of Interactive Fiction
Interactive Fiction to download
How to play
How to create Interactive Fiction
Interactive Fiction or text adventures is a fascinating combination of literature and computer
games. Most well known is the Zork-series from Infocom, where you strolled around and
solved problems in "The Great Underground Empire". Infocom and Level 9 made commercial
text adventures in the 1980:s.
In the past 15 years with better computers, programming languages and internet it has arrived
a great number of games, and most are free to download. Many of those that first got fascinated
by the original games have moved on and made their own. There is a number of genres and
concepts. The quality varies, however. In almost all games you proceed by finding out the
solutions to trickery problems you encounter.
Here is a presentation of some of the games on this page:
Aisle - A one move and one room game. Easy to play.
Anchorhead - Horrorgame in H.P. Lovecraft's genre. You play the wife of a man that becomes
strange after the move to an anchestry house in the town of Anchorhead. The game is a real adventure
and has an excellent use of time. Something that it is unfortunately quite unique at among IF games.
But, the gore is somewhat exaggerated and I don't like the end. Good for beginners. There is a
walkthrough text available if you get stuck.
Lydia's Heart - Aimed for youngsters, but an excellently written game. Good for beginners.
Desert Heat - This is rather a textbook-adventure than a normal IF game.. You bring the story
forth by selecting alternatives. Easy to play.
Curses - A big classical puzzle-solving game. Hard.
Divis Mortis - Very good feeling in this zombie-horror. Focus on survival. I am missing more
Fine Tune - 20:s style humor. Sad that the game ends in the middle of the story.
I-0 - A game by Adam Cadre. A girl student get an engine failure in the middle of a desert
on interstate zero.
Leadlight - A 2 word parser game in the style and implementation of the oldest games.
Funny if you like this type of game.
Party Foul - Escape from a boring party-game.
Savoir-Faire - A proper puzzle-solving game by Emily Short. Unusual kind of magic Hard.
A nobleman returns to his family manor and finds it empty.
Shrapnel - Short game by Adam Cadre where you try to understand what is happening.
Violet - A funny game where you need to write a thousand words task or your
girlfriend will quit.
Varicella - About the intriguer Varicella that needs to get rid of all competitiors and survive
at an italian noble house. An advanced game by Adam Cadre.
Earth and Sky Episode 3 - A superhero-adventure
Blue Lacuna - Discover an island. Might be a good starting-adventure.
Zip-Files with Games and Programs
I have collected some of what I think are the best games in some zip-archives that you can
download here. First, you must download a zip-archive with the interpreter programs
needed to play the game files. When you have installed them, it's just to click the game-files.
In some of the game folders there are additional files like solution-texts and pictures.
If you are using Macintosh, Linux or some other OS, please go to the section about IF
IF Interpreters.zip - 13886 Kb - Tads, Hugo, WindowsFrotz, WinGlulxe, Adrift.
00-Int Fiction Lib A.zip - 10610 Kb - 17 games- Aisle, Anchorhead, Curses, Damnation Memoriae,
Desert Heat, Divis Mortis, Fine Tuned, Galatea, Hoosegow, I-0, Leadlight, Ms Pepper's Nasty
Secret (children), Party Foul, Savoir-Faire, Shrapnel, Varicella, Violet.
00-Int Fiction Lib B.zip - 15711 Kb - 18 games - 9:05, Andromeda Awakening, Babel, Bad Machine,
Blue Chairs, Blue Lacuna, City of Secrets, Crystal and Stone Beetle and Bone, Dangerous Curves,
Earth & Sky 3, Friday Afternoon, Generic New York Appartment (sex), Jigsaw, Love-Jealousy,
Make It Good, Narcolepsy, The House of Fear, The Primrose Path, The Sleeping Princess (children),.
00-IF Non-English.zip - 4311 Kb - 5 games - Edificio 25 (spanish), Filaments (french), Filaments
(italian), Klub Karisma (german), Storforsen (swedish).
Lydia's Heart should have been included in a zip, but it is not allowed to download it from other than
Jim Aikins homepage
http://ifdb.tads.org - The Interactive Fiction Database. The big site with reviews and download..
http://www.brasslantern.org - Articles etc.
http://inform7.com/learn/eg/dm/IntroductionToIF.pdf - Beginner's Guide
http://www.microheaven.com/IFGuide/ - Another beginners' Guide.
http://www.getlamp.com/ - Interviews with game creators.
http://www.intfiction.org/forum/ - Discussion forum
http://www.ifarchive.org - Archive.
http://www.wurb.com/if/index.html - Baf's guide to IF Archive
Some well-known creators of IF to check:
http://emshort.wordpress.com - Emily Short.is a guru within IF. She has made a number of fantasy and
SF games as well as been one of the programmers behind Inform 7.
http://adamcadre.ac/ - Adam Cadre has made games like Shrapnel, Narcolepsy, I-0 and Varicella.
http://www.joltcountry.com/ - Robb Sherwin has made several games with graphics and music.
Cryptozookeeper is probably in filesize the largest IF game ever with 580 MB to download. Try that
game or Necrotic Drift to see if you like his style.
http://nickm.com/ - Nick Montfort. There are several interactive poetry here.
http://planet-if.com/ - Blogs collected.
http://sparkynet.com/spag/ - E-zine
http://www.infocom-if.org/ - Info about Infocom
http://solutionarchive.com/ - Classic Adventures Solution Archive
Malinche and Textfyre were two commercial firms producing IF:
http://textfyre.com/- 2 games to download for free
How to play
IF is played with text commands. In order for the game to understand it should be simple sentences
like "unlock door with brass key". As a beginner, you might step through a game with a walkthrough
/solution text to get you started.
Begin a new game with reading through the texts on the help menu or about. There is usually specific
information for that game.
In almost all games you move around by typing the compass directions:
The room description will tell you which exits are available. In some games you can use the
n, w, e, s, nw, ne, sw, se
l or look
x or examine
t, take or get
Prints the room description again. Sometimes you need to type: "look under table".
A more careful inspection. Usually, you have to use examine all the time on new
things you discover. Ex: x lamp.
There is sometimes a limitation for how much you can carry. You may
carry more by putting things in for example a rucksack.
Wears something you can wear.
Wait a turn.
Saves a position
Restores a position.
Other common commands are:
put (with in or on)
throw [object] at
say ("word" or "phrase"-must use double quotes)
look (at or in or under)
Conversation with characters you meet:
ask x about y
tell x about y
In other cases the conversation system is usually well described.
talk to x
help Gives help in most games.
hint In some games there is a hint system.
How to create Interactive Fiction
If you would like to create interactive fiction, you'll probably want to look at the two biggest systems: the
programming languages Inform and TADS. With Inform you create games with file extensions starting
with z: z5, z8 and zblorb as well as gblorb and .blb. It's the old Infocom system that has been updated.
The Z-games are opened with Windows Frotz or other Z-interpreter. Gblorb and blb are opened with
Glulxe and that can be larger games with multimedia like pictures and sounds included. With the TADS
interpreter you open tads-games with the file extensions .gam and .t3.
Inform is to be recommended to beginners. In the latest version: Inform 7, it uses so-called natural
english, which means that "The Desert is a room." is a program line. TADS-The Text Adventure
Development System appeals in first place to programmers and especially those competent in C.
Both systems are free to download with extensive documentation. At Brasslantern.org there are articles
comparing these two and other systems.
There is a another system called Adrift where you do not need any programming. You build an
entire game with an editor. That might be the easiest way to create a text adventure, but it comes
Aaron A Reed has written a book about Inform 7: "Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7".
Jim Aikin has written "The Inform 7 Handbook", available as PDF.
If you run Windows, you only need to download IF Interpreters.zip from this site to be able to
play most IF available. You might want to add Gargoyle, which is an interpreter with a typo-
graphically nice interface that can play many formats. Notice however that Gargoyle takes
over file associations of other programs.
If you are not using Windows, please follow the following links to download interpreters.
See the link to IF Guide at the end for more uncommon OS:s.
Compiled for Gargoyle: Agility, Alan 2 and 3, Frotz (glk port), Glulxe, Hugo, Level 9, Magnetic,
Scare, Tads 2 and 3
Spatterlight: AGT, Adrift, AdvSys, Alan, Glulx, Hugo, Level 9, Magnetic Scrolls,
TADS (text-only), Quill, and Z-code (except v6).
http://ccxvii.net/gargoyle/ - Gargoyle for Windows, Mac OS X and Ubuntu.
http://ccxvii.net/spatterlight/ - Spatterlight is made for Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher.
http://inform7.com/if/interpreters/ - Z-Interpreters for Win, Mac OS X and Linux.
http://www.tads.org/ - TADS-Interpreters for Win, Mac OS X and Linux.
http://www.adrift.co/cgi/adrift.cgi - Adrift for Win and Linux. Spatterlight plays Adrift for Mac.
http://www.generalcoffee.com/hugo/gethugo.html - Hugo runs on most platforms.
If you don't find interpreters of all sorts for your OS on these pages, you might go to this one and
download the interpreters on the following page.
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