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
- The Interactive Fiction Database : A big database of all the works of interactive fiction known to it, rated and tagged and added to users’ recommendations lists, etc. to help players discover games they might want to play.
- IF Archive : Described as “the main repository for free interactive fiction”.
- Textadventures.co.uk : Another repository of free interactive fiction, but this one is specifically for games made in the Quest format (see below).
- Borogrove.io : Another repository of free interactive fiction, hosting games in a range of formats.
- Interactive Fiction Community Forum : A forum, as the name suggests, where people discuss the games they read and write.
- IFWiki : A wiki that collects loads of information on 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 : 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 /Inklewriter /Inky : 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 : 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 : Another gamebook-style editor, by the same people behind the Textadventures.co.uk website (above) and Quest (below).
- Quest : 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 : Is an extremely full-featured, but seemingly complicated, format for parser games.
- TADS : Similar to Inform 7, but seemingly even more complicated, and hasn’t been updated since 2013. Still in use by some authors, though.
- ADRIFT : Another software option for making parser games, this time with an easily intelligible GUI, although it only runs on Windows.
- Dialog : Another language for creating parser games, with its own compiler and interactive debugger.