IFaq graphical version

I F a q

The world of IF (short for interactive fiction) games -- sometimes known as Text Adventures -- is, to the surprise of many people, still going strong. Here are some frequently-asked questions with brief answers and links to websites giving more details.
The questions are listed in three categories :
  • Playing IF games
  • The history of IF
  • Writing IF games

  • Playing IF games

  • OK, so how do I actually play one of these games?
    The rules are usually simple and consistent between games. See Adam Cadre's introduction to playing IF:


  • Sounds fun; can I try some of this stuff online?
    Surely! Here's one of the sites offering a good choice:

  • I think I know what it's called -- how can I find the game?
    Most games are in the IF Archive; Baf's Guide is very helpful.

  • But this game doesn't run when I click the file!
    IF games usually need a separate interpreter; choose one here:

  • Can you recommend some more good games like that?
    Here's a site with categories and recommendations:

  • I'm stuck! Where can I find some clues (or the solution)?
    If there are any they're likely to be in the Archive.

  • You've answered hardly any of my questions! Where next?
    Subscribe to rec.games.int-fiction on Usenet. Here's its FAQ.

  • The history of IF

  • Didn't this all start with a mainframe game called ADVENTURE?
    Yes, back in the mid-1970s. The game still attracts attention and is widely available.

  • What happened to Infocom and is ZORK still available?
    Bought out by Activision who nowadays don't do much with IF. ZORK is now free.

  • Can I read more about what's happened in the last 25 years?
    The nearest thing to a definitive summary was written by Graham Nelson.

  • All this historical stuff is boring. What's going on nowadays?
    Lots! Stephen Granade provides the best day-to-day news.

  • Who are the people currently writing new IF?
    All sorts. Many of the authors with web pages are listed here:

  • Writing IF games

  • I've had a great idea! Is there any advice on game design?
    Mostly written a few years ago but still very relevant:

  • Should I use Visual Basic or is there a better language?
    Please, please PLEASE use a specialised IF authoring system!

  • Perhaps I could collaborate with someone else.
    There are two lists of potential workmates. Here's one:

  • It seems to work! Where can I find some testers?
    You're sure to find some helpful playtesters here (email Lucian for details):

  • How should I release the game for people to play?
    Post details to rec.games.int-fiction or perhaps enter a competition like...

  • Can I get people to write reviews of my game?
    You can't. But they might if you're lucky. Here's one useful scheme to help:

  • I've read the manual but I can't make things work. Help!
    Ask on the Usenet group rec.arts.int-fiction (but read its FAQ first.)

  • Last update 24th January 2005; maintained by Stephen Griffiths (stevgrif "AT" actrix.gen.nz)