At long, long last, Jordan Mechner's (creator of the original Prince of Persia game) adventure gaming masterpiece The Last Express is available as a digital download! The game was first released in 1997 where, despite being an amazing interactive experience, it failed to gain much commercial traction. Its cult status survived the turn of the century largely due to the unique nature of the gameplay, the incredible writing, and a visual style that's more like an animated television show than a video game. No more tracking down rate copies of the original CD-ROM. Just download, install, and enjoy!
Kentucky Route Zero: Act I is a curious mash-up of an old school adventure game and a cinematic text adventure. Created by Cardboard Computer (which includes A House in California developer Jake Elliott), the game is packed with phenomenal visual and sound design, setting an atmosphere that's one of the most intriguing in recent indie gaming history. it's a bit like Twin Peaks meets a moody old school adventure game (on a dark night in the middle of Kentucky).
Blue Lacuna is one of those rare experiences that turns your set of assumptions about a medium on its head. Like Memento or The Usual Suspects or The Outsider, Aaron Reed's game transcends its medium to become more than the sum of its parts, an artwork that leaves a measurable change in the player. You might finish this game, but it may never leave you alone.
So what's your stance on twu wuv? Does it make you sigh and set your little heart to pitty-patting, or are you currently walled off in your cootie-free-fort to ride out the epidemic? Regardless, there's more than just a pretty face to this latest text RPG adventure from Choice of Games. As the eldest son or daughter of a declining noble family, you are sent to Court for a Season to see and be seen. Will you find a suitable match? Wind up alone? Or become embroiled in dangerous political intrigue? The choice, as they say, is yours.
Prepare yourself for an interactive fiction that peels back the truth in layers as you become more and more entwined in this tale of superscience and space exploration. The narrative begins with an itsy-bitsy clue that not all will be as it seems, followed by your character waking up in a fairly unadorned abode. From there, it's up to you as to what you do and how you go about it, but be wary of those who comment on your every move...
"Suveh Nux" is a short, puzzle-oriented piece of interactive fiction by David Fisher, with a neat premise: the player is trapped in a vault (that's not the neat part) and can escape only if he learns the magical language that controls his environment. Plenty of interactive fiction games involve puzzles about magic words. "Suveh Nux" takes this a step further with a whole magical grammar to learn, including verbs, nouns, and modifying phrases.
Enter into the experience of visualizing visualizing (whoa, meta!) in the CGDC7 award-winning interactive fiction title Dual Transform by Andrew Plotkin. Take on the role of a virtual engineer, of sorts, feeling the pressure of really making this project something to remember... something that really feels real.
New from inkle studios, the team that brought the interactive novel Frankenstein to iOS in 2012, Steve Jackson's Sorcery! is a digital re-imagining of the Fighting Fantasy roleplaying gamebooks. You don't have to be a fan of the classic series to enjoy Sorcery!, nor do you have to be an avid reader (or own a pair of dice). You just need a little bit of curiosity and a love of interactive stories.
In this piece of interactive fiction, the premise is quite simple: you are the prime candidate for the position of Director of the Museum and Institute for Puzzles and Problem Solving. In order to prove your aptitude in this field, you must solve one "simple" puzzle yourself. Explore a single room, gathering clues and solving puzzles, until you finally reach the unknown problem's answer.
After thousands of years, the Mugunghwa, sent into space to establish the first interstellar colony, has been found floating dead. You're sent after it to discover what happened to its crew with the help of two very different AIs, but the truth is vastly more complicated than you might think, and nowhere near black and white. In Christine Love's debut commercial visual novel release, take part in a captivating, clever, and emotional story that deals with love, politics, forgiveness... and hate.
Make It Good is a dark, noir-esque detective mystery from Fail-Safe author Jon Ingold. You are cast in the role of a down-on-his-luck detective struggling to solve a murder case or risk losing his job. Moving about a complete, living world, you'll turn over every potted plant, scrutinize every room, and question every character as you attempt to stitch together shards of information to discover just what happened.
Violet is a richly engaging one-room puzzle game from the annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2008). The problem? You're a graduate student working on your dissertation, but you haven't gotten any writing done in months. Your girlfriend Violet has put her life on hold, waiting for you to finish, and she's getting fed up. If you don't get a thousand words written today, your relationship is over and she flies home to Australia.
It's a dark and stormy night. Wait, no, it's pretty sunny outside, so neither of those. You take the leaflet from the mailbox... gahh, no, not that, either. You know what? It doesn't matter. It's time to play. Time to play JayIsPonies, an "epic" choose your own adventure sort of game where you collect pizza and probably do a bunch of other halfway crazy stuff!
King of Bees in Fantasy Land, a Twine adventure game by Brendan Patrick Hennesy, hails to an earlier time of gaming plotting; one where "all your base are belong to us". Thought there's not much action to speak of, this little choose-your-own-adventure tale of a Space Knight taking on the Evil King of Bees in the year 2888 is a quick, smart, piece of video game comedy.
Alabaster is an exquisite and addictive piece of interactive fiction created by a team of eleven talented writers and spearheaded by Emily Short, one of the Grande Dames of the genre, authoress of such classics as Floatpoint, that takes the oft-Disneyfied, candy-coated tale of Snow White and recasts it in rather darker hues.
A duck may want many things. A simple life? An education? High adventure? Clearly there are choices to be made, and you're just the one to help! A Duck Has An Adventure is a humorous piece of CYOA interactive art by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, and while it has more art than gameness, it's a quacking good time.
Slouching Towards Bedlam is a work of interactive fiction created by Daniel Ravipinto and Star Foster. Set in the Bedlam Hospital insane asylum in a steampunk-style 1885 London, you begin in an office with a brass-laden phonograph playing a demented soliloquy. It's a subtly disturbing game that draws you into a rich, elusive world of intrigue and allows you to react to the story however you see fit, carving out five unique endings based upon your interpretation of the plot.
The road to magical greatness is difficult, littered with dragons, enchantments, adventure... not to mention test scores, rival students, detentions, and trying to keep your ghostly familiar in check. This incredibly ambitious text adventure from Black Chicken Studios is one part life simulator, one part fantasy RPG, and a whole lot of fun if you have the patience to let yourself become immersed in the tale of the making of the greatest mage of all time... you.
The sequel to 2010's text adventure RPG Choice of Romance has arrived, and picks up right where the original left off. Will you be able to hold onto your new power in the court, or have you just painted a very large target on your back... and who can you trust to watch out for a dagger pointed at you when everyone has their own agenda?
Socrates Jones doesn't get why you'd care about philosophy if you don't have a long white robe and a longer beard, but a freak accident means he's about to learn more about it than he'd ever thought he needed... in fact, his life depends on it! An educational visual novel inspired by Phoenix Wright, Pro Philosopher will teach you how to debate intelligently and constructively, and keep you entertained along the way.
In Lost Pig, you are Grunk, a rather dim creature who works on a farm and who, evidently, loses a pig. Using your best typing skills, find your way through the forest and beyond and retrieve that darn swine. It won't be easy, since pigs in Grunk's world are not cooperative. Utilize your intuition (and maybe a little luck) and you'll find your way out of Grunk's mess in this hilarious interactive fiction.
An unnamed cubicle slave grinds his way through another day at work, his biggest worry being whether or not someone left the coffee pot dry. That is until the scream comes. Now you have to help him get home to his wife before zombies get her or you in this choose your own adventure style game.
Hotel is a 10-episode interactive narrative from Han Hoogerbrugge about a scientist named Dr. Doglin who drugs his patients to perform tests on their response to freak accident injuries. The rather disturbing piece was just recently finished in its entirety and worth a look if you're the mature, adventurous type.
"Hero" is such a broad term. Don't you think, cowboy? You were just liberating that silver after all. Before you can ride off into the sunset, you'll need to get out of this jail cell. Hoosegow is a tongue-in-cheek bit of interactive fiction set in the wild west, and the proud winner of CGDC7.
In this creepy bit of Twine-delivered interactive fiction, a young girl's father becomes obsessed with digging a hole beneath their house. As the years pass, he begins to resemble less and less the man she once knew... and perhaps even less of a man at all...
It's another great day for the end of the world! Oh, wait, I forgot... that was yesterday! Dead Frontier: Outbreak 2 is a text adventure about trying to survive in an undead world. Having survived the events of the first game, you set out in search of much needed medical supplies. Making the right choices is important if you want to see the end of the day.
9:05, by Adam Cadre, is another snack-sized text adventure that is just right for a casual audience. Even if you're new to the genre and are looking for something short and simple as a primer, do give this one a try. You've screwed up on the job before, but never like this. You've overslept in a major way, and you're in for a world of trouble if you don't act fast.
Ah, human drama. The trials and tribulations of star-crossed lovers, the agonizing decisions made on the battlefield, the ...supreme annoyance of having some rotten kid try to steal your favorite toy? And so unfolds the very entertaining yet surprisingly complex scenario of baby vs. baby in this unique one-room themed piece of interactive fiction.
An ingenious piece of alternative history interactive fiction created by Adam Cadre. In Varicella, you have the pleasure of abandoning your usual scruples to play one of the most delightfully nasty antiheroes that I've come across: the eponymous Primo Varicella, Palace Minister at the Palazzo del Piemonte, and a tremendous opportunity awaits you. Can you seize the day (and the throne)?
YFYIAR is a simple interactive fiction game where you must escape from a room. As play progresses, however, the conventions of normal text adventures begin to break down as the computer narrator begins to express its dislike for you, your humanity, and all it entails.
Dead Like Ants is a sublime piece of interactive fiction by C.E.J. Pacian. You are an unnamed female ant, a simple worker. You and your thousands of sisters labor ceaselessly in the service of your colony; an unexciting, if productive, existence. Today, however, is very different. Your mother, the Queen has requested your presence Every spring, it seems, five dangerous creatures come to the colony and threaten the safety of all therein. When this occurs, the Queen sends one of her daughters to negotiate with these monsters, thereby averting trouble for another year. This spring, you are the chosen emissary.
Enlightenment is a snack-sized text adventure set in the general neighborhood of the Zork universe, with Infocom-esque humor, sly quotes and footnotes, and a wealth of entertaining but unnecessary actions. It doesn't play like an 80s game, though: it is short, polished, and focused, with lots of clues and guidance, and probably won't take more than an hour to play.
Lights... camera... URK. Lottie's got a problem the night of her big stage audition, and she's not willing to go down without a fight. Sarah Morayati's snappily written interactive fiction piece about teenage girls under the limelight suffers slightly from some unintuitive puzzle design, but is easily carried by a memorable cast of characters and some genuinely funny storytelling. Broken Legs is an over-the-top and snarky adventure worth a look from anyone who has at any point ever been a teenager, stereotypes aside.
Google blogger, information technologist, and sometimes game developer, Philipp Lenssen of Germany, has created a "choose-your-own" adventure game called The Google Adventure that takes place at the Googleplex, which is where you've just begun a new job...
For those of us who love the idea of digital espionage but who don't have the ability to hack our way into a paper bag, Exoriare is here to fulfill all of our cyberpunk fantasies. The new alternate reality game from Smoking Gun Interactive sucks you in to a world of government conspiracies and stands poised to keep you hooked for a long time to come.
Jonas Kyratzes delivers an experience both magical and melancholy in this Twine-based choose-your-own-adventure game as you play one of seven heroes chosen to take up arms against a legendary beast that rises every hundred years to bathe the land in flame.
An experimental text-based adventure game from ScriptWelder that has you waking up disoriented in an unknown place, trying to get information from a source that not too eager to give anything away. A short but intelligent sci-fi yarn, with an up-to-the-task conversational parser that the author is dedicated to improving through community feedback.
Gamer Mom, by Mordechai Buckman and Kyler Kelly, is a unique text adventure about a Mom trying to convince her family to play World of Warcraft together and mend their broken relationship. But it won't be easy! Your daughter hates you and only wants to text on her cellphone all day and your husband is a workaholic who doesn't want to spend anytime as a family. Even if you manage to succeed in your goal, the game doesn't end there and you might be surprised at what happens next. Gamer Mom is a short, but lasting, experience that manages to be sad, poignant, and even funny...just like life itself.
When Todd gets a visit from the future (namely, himself) he finds his life changes drastically when he receives information that may get him the one thing he wants most. Is this text adventure a simple story about doing anything for the one you love? Or is there something much more complicated, and much darker, going on? With 35 different endings and an extremely forgiving play style, Thousand Dollar Soul is a lot more complicated than you might think.
Dan Efran's title Ka, an entry in our interactive fiction and escape themed Casual Gameplay Design Competition #7, starts in decidedly close quarters, with your royal spirit crammed in next to your corpse. Most text adventures struggle to some degree with pacing, but in Ka, at least, your initial goal is clear: leave. After that? Well, you're dead. You have to come to terms with it sometime.
This lyrical work of interactive fiction, brainchild of Jonas Kyratzes who created The Book of Living Magic, will envelope you in a surrealistic experience of discovery, a gentle stroll through a timeless pastoral state where your decisions are rewarded with rich verse and life-pondering revelations. Each passage presents you with a choice which will determine your path; stroll slowly through the experience and play more than once to fully appreciate the outcomes of each option. Arcadia: a Pastoral Tale elevates the oft misjudged browser game onto the loftier plane of artistic poignancy.
Hospitals are full of all sorts of hazards, like paper robes that don't close all the way, doctors with cold hands, and... zombies? HM! Lynnea Dally's undead apocalypse begins with you waking from a rather impromptu bout of unconsciousness in the hospital radiation room, but you have more things than a rather impressive headache to worry about in this horror interactive fiction game.
I don't suppose you've ever felt trapped at a really tedious party, wishing you could throw off the shackles of social convention and impale your host on a cocktail weenie toothpick, make a rope out of your own hair to escape out the bathroom window, beat yourself unconscious with the cheese tray--anything to avoid listening to some guy tell you another story about his golfing ability? In real life it's the opposite of entertaining, but in Party Foul, it makes for a hilarious puzzle to test all your escaping power
Crafted in the style of classic 'choose your own adventure' games, Zebulon features the exploits of a somewhat wayward space crew. The story itself is relatively simple; you're the captain of a small ship that runs regular courier missions for Asmico, a delivery and service IT company. With you are your shipwright and communication officer; your shipright Hariett is a straight-laced, by-the-book stick in the mud while Reynolds, the communication officer, is unlikely to win 'Employee of the month' anytime soon. Your choices in your interactions with them, and certain events, will determine your outcome.
Zork is a text adventure, which is a form of interactive fiction, like a cross between a novel and an RPG with some escape-the-room type puzzles thrown in. Originally conceived in the late 1970's by a research group of MIT, the first game of the Zork series has been ported to PHP for your gaming pleasure.
What you think is irrelevant, in this text-based adventure/interactive fiction by John Cooney. The man behind the mirrored glass tells you that you are a llama and if you know what is good for you, you will believe him. Following any and all instructions given to you is also not a bad idea if you enjoy things like breathing and not being dead.
Without even a computer to play solitaire on, it's Monday, 16:30, and time is standing still in this piece of interactive fiction. Maybe with the help of the office gnomes you can beguile your true love in the tower next door with mime and paper airplanes?
Fail-Safe is a work of interactive fiction created by Jon Ingold. It could be one of the strangest text-based games you've ever seen (in a simple, subdued kind of way), as Ingold removes all meta-commands from the parser, forbidding you do to things like saving your progress. But there's a good reason for this. Fail-Safe immerses you so deeply in the world that even the conventions of playing a game would snap you out of it. And when you start playing, you'll see why that's a crucial part of the experience.
Lost. In space. Alone. On a badly damaged ship. It's a bad day for anyone, and it's even worse for you since you can't remember how you got into this predicament. Fragile Shells is a clever, clean bit of interactive fiction from Stephen Granade, and a runner-up in Casual Gameplay Design Competition 7.
Though one should strive to live without regrets, considering all the different paths a life might have taken is an inherently intriguing concept. Some games attempt to analyze the psychology of our decisions and their consequences. On the other hand, some games, like Relive Your Life, an interactive movie by FrozenFire, will have you button mashing to fend off a competing sperm, before failing to acquire a preferred toy at recess kicks of a chain of events that leads to a popular resurgence in nudism/bear-wrestling. And it'll rhyme too! Clever prose and voice-acting by Egoraptor are highlights, and make up for tacked-on minigames.
The decisions you make in this YouTube interactive fan fiction game (based on the AMC television show) not only determine the fate of one Madison Avenue advertising agency, they might just save the world. Help Don Draper regain his confidence, inner peace and good ideas while preventing his untimely death. Although it's disappointing this isn't a true platform game since your involvement doesn't extend beyond clicking an occasional option, Mad Men: The Game is an entertaining and enjoyable parody of 1960s culture and the show that has everyone talking about it.
Byzantine Perspective is a tight little heist game from this year's annual interactive fiction competition. You're a student with less-than-legal plans for how to fund your education: get into a museum of Byzantine artifacts, get the valuable antique chalice, get out again. You're rigged out in your best cat-burglar clothes, with your best cat-burglar tools — some of them borrowed from an acquaintance, which raises never-answered questions about what sorts of company the protagonist keeps.
Flaws, the interactive work of fiction from author Jon Ingold, is a difficult game to categorize as well as a different game to review. For starters, it isn't really a game in the traditional sense, more like a choose your own adventure produced for modern, Kindle-enabled devices. Then there's the nature of the story, where discussing even a few of the details can spoil whole bits of the experience. Suffice it to say, Flaws is an intriguing interactive fiction "game" about finding treasure and fame, the Andromeda galaxy, a mysterious diadem, and a possible assassination.
A nice piece of interactive art, The Little Girl Nobody Liked is a picture-perfect picture book minigame by Deirdra Kiai. Even with all its multiple endings, it only clocks in at a couple minutes in length. Still, it's soothing, adorable, and subversive, and is just the thing to check out before an afternoon nap.
In Sagittarian 4: Berger by Hyptosis, you rejoin your old friends, Sage, Dusty, and Anna, in their quest to find safety after the zombie apocalypse. The small band of survivors are no longer strangers, but friends. Some are even lovers. Can you protect these people you've grown so close to over the last four games, or will you have to send them to their certain deaths for the good of the group? Combining great artwork, funny and well-developed dialogue, and even a dynamic soundtrack, it's an experience that really sticks with you.
A dark chamber, a missing memory, and a splitting headache... to get to the truth and find your way out, you'll have to encounter some uncomfortable truths as you solve puzzles and explore in this atmospheric horror text adventure.
The zombie apocalypse is hard on everyone, and paddling down a dank bayou isn't anyone's idea of a good time... unless you're playing the latest chapter in Hyptosis's choose-your-own-adventure series. With all the blood and profanity you've come to expect, if you enjoy this particular brand of interactive fiction and don't mind some unforeseeable deaths, make time in your coffee break to take a leisurely paddle down the water.
You are Victor the Tenacious, bravest, strongest, and most intelligentest knight in the whole kingdom. You have been tasked with rescuing the fair Princess Sonia from the Black Dragon Urquel. Oh yeah, and you've let your faithful squire has tag along for the ride too. A short-but-funny Twine yarn by David T. Marchand that fans of fantasy humor won't want to miss.
You're dangling from a chimney on a rooftop six stories above ground, looking for spider silk. Your brother's making sure the door to the stairs back down stays open. When he appears below you looking nonchalant, you get a deep sinking feeling. Roofed is an offbeat interactive fiction title with a clever narrative that'll leave you wanting more.
It's easy to immerse yourself in this beautiful, atmospheric audio-visual adventure by Connor Sherlock, but your time is limited. You have only 20 minutes before The Rapture Is Here And You Will Be Forcibly Removed From Your Home. So what do you do? Run! Use [WASD] to move and your mouse to look all around. Explore until your curiosity is rewarded with discovery. Or stand around and wait. It's up to you.
Lynnea Glasser (formerly Dally) returns to the interactive fiction scene with Coloratura. Play as a displaced alien who only seeks to get away from the blind, apathetic humans and return to their place of bliss. Without the ability to directly manipulate objects, you can 'color' the humans moods to create situations beneficial to your goal. Whether dealing with them violently or more peacefully, you will get back to your resting place. Whatever it takes.
When college student Miranda stumbles across a castle in Belgium after getting lost late one night, the last thing she expected was to find out vampires are real. Now, she's being held prisoner by two of them while they wait for the rest of the family to return in two weeks... but is there more to Adrian and Luca than meets the eye? A short but gorgeous pay-what-you-want visual novel with six endings and a dark side.
Your entire young life has been building up to this. You were born to it, your maternal line. You, Lalu, are the Usher, charged with guiding the queen's soul to the afterlife, a task of great splendor and nobility. But that doesn't change how you feel now. All you can think is that you've been raised to die. If only there were some way out. The Usher is a game of interactive fiction, an entry into our first ever interactive fiction competition, Casual Gameplay Design Competition #7. As such, you use a text parser to interact with the game.
If you enjoy interactive fiction or text adventures of years gone by, don't miss these works by award-winning author, Andrew Plotkin. Also known as "Zarf," Plotkin leverages his skills in programming, game and puzzle design to create engaging and compelling interactive fiction that are works of art.
A small time data smuggler in the corporate-dominated futuristic city of NeoSushi, Dogeron Kenan's job is to transport passcodes in his cybernetic arm, trying to keep one step ahead of both the lawful and unlawful who want to stop him. But things just went south, and now everyone in the town is out to get him. It's going to be a long night. An excellent piece of interactive fiction by the Cabrera Brothers, with an atmosphere that more than makes up for parser issues.
Floatpoint is a sci-fi themed interactive fiction game by Emily Short that walked away with first prize in the 2006 Interactive Fiction Competition. You play the role of an ambassador on a mission to a cold, icy planet called Alehart. Humans colonized the world ages ago, but an advancing glacier threatens to overtake the city and eradicate its inhabitants. As you try to negotiate a deal to bring the colonists back to Earth, a web of mysteries begins to unfold itself. This might not be an easy job after all.
Much interactive fiction requires a time commitment of an hour or two, and sometimes quite a bit more. Not so with the text adventure entries in the Commonplace Book project, in which each entrant took a line from a notebook by H. P. Lovecraft and spun it out into a game. This was an international competition, drawing entries in English, French, and Spanish, as well as a couple of graphical point-and-click adventures.
Your choices determine the outcome of this choose your own adventure style interactive comic book. Explosions and red clouds are on the horizon. Your cell phone loses reception. Something bad is going on...will you survive? Whether you help others along the way or decide it's every man or woman for themselves, This is Not a Test offers up a great story.
It starts with a letter from an old friend inviting you to dinner. How can something so simple, so innocent, throw you into a dark world of murder, mystery, and the supernatural? Set in London in 1603, this enormous Lovecraftian interactive fiction adventure will challenge and immerse you in a world that feels real and dangerous. Available as a free download or as an enhanced edition for Kindle devices and Nook tablets, this 12 to 15 hour adventure is a challenge, but one well worth undertaking.
Frankenstein is a brand new work of interactive fiction written by Dave Morris and released using the inkle platform. Based on the original novel by Mary Shelley, this modern narrative weaves a captivating story that takes advantage the mobile platform to deliver a strong visual impact along with its interactive elements. You are both reader and player in this experience (though more the former than the latter), choosing directions for your character to take and shaping the narrative in ways that are both subtle and obvious. The end result is a visual and textual masterpiece that you will be both thrilled and intrigued to experience.
There's been a murder at the Seafront Hotel, and it even has famous French detective Antoine Saint Germain stumped. That hasn't stopped him from gathering everyone together for one of his famous "someone in this room is the killer" monologues. Can you save Saint Germain's reputation as the detective who always closes the case? And oh yes, do try to accuse the right person.
The 2010 Interactive Fiction Competition is here! Yes, the competition that brought us such interactive fiction classics as Violet, Lost Pig, Floatpoint, and Slouching Towards Bedlam is back with 26 new games, 23 of which can be played in the comfort of your browser. Voting will end November 15, 2010, so get your votes in now if you want to help choose the next winner!
We're pleased to announce a very special Casual Gameplay Design Competition, one focused entirely on interactive fiction! For CGDC #7, we're calling on IF authors to craft one-room games incorporating the theme "escape". It's text-only this time around, so you can spend your time polishing puzzles instead of pixels. Full details are below, so fire up your Z-code compiler and get to writing!
This edition of weekend download highlights a few notable IF titles. All you need is a computer and the ability to read and you're good to go!
Two major events, the 13th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition and the 10th annual Independent Games Festival, are underway, sending a deluge of top-quality games right into our collective gaming laps. Interactive fiction continues to blossom as authors push the boundaries of gaming with better stories, deeper gameplay, and more rewarding gameplay using nothing more than words and creativity. Most of the IGF games aren't available for download just yet, but you'll recognize some of the games/authors and immediately jump for joy.