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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Play as a row in a database where your objective is to fight the other rows to decrease their numbers and increase your own. It's a numbers game, pure and simple, and by not pretending to be anything else, mySQLgame has managed to take the ubiquitous browser-based MMO and distill it down to the very essence of the genre.
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)?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
"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.
Thule Trail is a re-imagining of the grade school classic, Oregon Trail, but instead of playing a family of 19th century immigrants, you play a group of 20 somethings road-tripping to a music festival. Instead of going to Oregon, you're going to Santa Barbara. The game takes its name from the 20th century occult society that sought the road to Atlantis; the music festival you travel to is called Atlantis, so it works. The rest of the game follows suit like a friendly slacker.
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.
About a year and a half ago we posted a logic puzzle published by Coudal Partners, the people behind The Show and the ones responsible for recording the recent live tours of both the Pixies and Dead Can Dance. Well, they have just published a new one, and this one will surely give your brain a tickle.
Façade is an interactive drama that puts you in the role of a dinner guest catching up with your old college friends, a married couple named Grace and Trip. Using the mouse and keyboard, you're able to move around their apartment and manipulate objects inside, but Facade is no escape-the-room adventure game, most of the interaction involves, get this, talking to Grace and Trip.
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.
In the browser-based HTML game, Slave Hack, you take on the role of a vaguely tech-savvy Internet addict who has now decided to make a living out of his/her own talents. If your ethics do not prevent you from pretending to infiltrate other computers to use them as spam relays, warez-sharing nodes, or even as tools to bring down an enemy's computer with a massive DDoS attack, then you are excellent material for the world that is portrayed in Slave Hack.
Those of you who enjoy a stripped-down text adventure game and don't mind a bit of repetition will get a bit of fun out of these DHTML-based Enchanted Forest games. The point is to get as much gold as you can. For such a simple game it's surprisingly addictive, but don't worry—if you're a true casual gamer, you can leave your game at any time and when you return, it will be waiting exactly as you left it.
The Museum of Broken Memories is a beautifully woven interactive narrative that may even be considered a work of art. It is a point-and-click game, yes; and yet it is so much more than that. Like any work of art, personal interpretation plays an important role here, as there are many images and words to browse through and interact with, and an array of emotions that will be evoked.
Thy Dungeonman 3: Behold Thy Graphics! is a parody of the old 5¼-inch floppy text and graphic adventure games. Made by Videlectrix, Homestar Runner's fictional software design company, Dungeonman 3 sports "state-of-the-art amber monochrome visuals" (circa 1980), real-time simulated medieval English text, a parser that talks back to you, and enough mocked adventure game cliches to fill your beer stein twice full.
Legend of the Green Dragon is a free, browser based homage to, and extension of, the Legend of the Red Dragon, an original and humorous RPG from the golden years of modems and BBSes. The creator, Eric Stevens, has done an excellent job preserving the style of the original while adding tons of new features, characters and monsters, as well as vastly enlarging the world to include multiple cities and an afterlife.
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...
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.
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.
Urban Dead is a fantastic and superbly original MMOG that was created by Kevan Davis. To put it simply: it is a text-based zombie survival game that runs in any browser. Even if this sort of game isn't usually your thing, I'd thoroughly encourage you to give it a go, as it's an extremely original and absorbing experience.
As I enter Guano Junction inside the Bat Hole, I check my equipment. Chef's hat? Check. Rubber axe? Check. Frilly skirt? Check. Dirty hobo gloves? Check. Pine-Fresh air freshener? Check (well, one can never be too careful). I am ready for anything.
From Homestar Runner comes this hilariously funny game that pokes fun at itself and the text-based adventures and 8-bit graphics of years gone by. Boasting “lush 16-color landscapes,” this game puts you in the shoes of a short-panted peasant named Rather Dashing who sets out on a quest of revenge against Trogdor the Burninator. A fun and quirky classic.