The IF thing: resources

This is a short addendum to the post I wrote earlier detailing why you should play Interactive Fiction. (Humour the evangelist, go read!)

So how do you go about playing experiencing IF?

Pick up the phone booth and die is a starkly minimalist (even by IF standards) foot-in-mouth piece of non-sequitur that takes about a minute to play through; try it now.

Emily Short, one of the revered exponents of IF, has extensive guides on everything from how to play to how to write your own games (more on this later).

IF comes in packets called ’story files’, available at several places on the Internet. Baf’s guide documents the most comprehensive collection online. Several story files were linked to in The IF thing, but if you’ve never played IF before, try Dreamhold for the real deal.

You’ll need an interpreter to play them. You would have to install several interpreters to play IF written in different programming languages- fortunately, it’s simpler than that. There’s the kitchen-sink-and-then-some Spatterlight for the Mac OS X, and Gargoyle for Windows and Linux (Source).

Alternatively, Linux users can install frotz and t23run from your repositories, which will let you play most Interactive Fiction from the terminal. There’s something to be said for the benefits of being able to play IF at your machine over SSH; especially since those around you will think you’re working.

Many text adventures can also be played in your browser, if you wish to be spared the hassle of installation.

Other tidbits:

  • There are two IF competitions of note held every year, with dozens of entries that anyone can submit- the IF Comp and the XYZZY awards. The winners of these competitions are among the best text adventures ever written, you can’t go wrong playing them. Also, all the entries in these competitions are available for download in one bundle.

  • Andrew Plotkin, Adam Cadre and Emily Short are among the most well known IF authors- they’ve been writing for ages now, and their websites make for an illuminating (and sometimes amusing) read.