interactive fiction

Interactive fiction is a genre of games which is largely text- and story-based. There are two main subtypes of interactive fiction: parser games, where a player has to type instructions into the game (e.g. “examine bottle”, “go north”) and gamebooks (a.k.a. choice games, or choose-your-own-adventures), where a player chooses what to do out of a list of author-provided options. There’s a degree of overlap between interactive fiction and text-based RPGs. These days, IF is often played as browser games.

Playing & Discussing Interactive Fiction

Writing Interactive Fiction

I haven’t actually written interactive fiction since I was a kid tinkering with the “Neopian Adventure Generator” on Neopets, but I’m interested in trying, I guess? So with that in mind, here are some resources I want to have saved just in case I get around to it:

  • Twine(external link): Seemingly to be the most user-friendly place to start, Twine is something I’ve experimented with before (over a decade ago, probably). It’s also very versatile – it can be used to make choice-based games, sure, but it can also be used to make entire text-based, turn-based RPGs.
  • Ink(external link)/Inklewriter(external link)/Inky(external link): Similar in concept to Twine. Ink is the format itself; Inklewriter is a web app for writing (simple-ish) stories using it; Inky is a desktop app that’s kind of a dedicated text editor with live preview for ink-format stories.
  • ChoiceScript(external link): Supports things like character stats and achievements. I’m not sure how one would go about hosting their own game instead of submitting it to their “Hosted Games” platform, but it looks pretty awesome (and the forum is bustling).
  • Squiffy(external link): Another gamebook-style editor, by the same people behind the Textadventures.co.uk website (above) and Quest (below).
  • Quest(external link): This is an editor that can be used to make a parser game, or really a range of more complicated types of games (as well as gamebooks), by the same people that made Squiffy, above. Has a web browser version (with fewer features), or else a downloadable one for Windows (with more features).
  • Inform 7(external link): Is an extremely full-featured, but seemingly complicated, format for parser games.
  • TADS(external link): Similar to Inform 7, but seemingly even more complicated, and hasn’t been updated since 2013. Still in use by some authors, though.
  • ADRIFT(external link): Another software option for making parser games, this time with an easily intelligible GUI, although it only runs on Windows.
  • Dialog(external link): Another language for creating parser games, with its own compiler and interactive debugger.
Did you know? I’ve posted other content tagged ‘interactive fiction’! If you want to see what else I’ve written on this topic, you can do so here.