Magnus' Interactive Fiction Page

Interactive Fiction

(or IF for short) can apparently mean radically different things to different people. On this page it is used as a synonym for text-based adventure game. This usage was invented by Infocom in the 80's. I like it because it emphasizes the literary aspects of IF; the thing that distinguishes a text adventure from most other computer games is the reliance on text to describe places, events, emotions and people, which in my opinion makes it literature (or at least gives it the potential to be literature). If you disagree with this last statement on the grounds that a computer game can't be literature because a game's a game and literature's literature (or whatever), you should read this analysis.

A satirical definition of IF that I had to remove from this page since people kept taking it too seriously.

Far more information about IF, and lots of interesting links, can be found on the Interactive Fiction Page.

My Own IF

So far, I've published four pieces of IF myself:

Download these games. Or look at the solutions.

Find out what happened to the sequel to Zebulon.

Writing Your Own IF

There are a number of programming languages and development environment specialized for writing IF. The two most commonly used (and, arguably, the most advanced and most feature-rich ones) languages are Inform and TADS.

I strongly recommend that you at least check these languages out before trying to write IF in a traditional programming language (which is of course possible, but harder).

IF Criticism

So who said that IF couldn't be art? This analysis of Andrew Plotkin's So Far shows how even a lowly computer game can be used to treat quite deep questions.

New (December, 2004): My own analysis of some aspects of Andrew Plotkin's Dreamhold: part 1, part 2.

Here is the complete text of Adam Thornton's review of another game by Andrew Plotkin, Spider and Web. (A de-spoilerized version of this review was published in SPAG #14).

Carl Muckenhoupt has written capsule reviews for a lot of games. His sites also has links for direct downloading of each game.

I've written a few reviews myself. All of them but one have appeared in SPAG and can be found on the SPAG website. My review of The Dreamhold is at the IF-Review website.

SPAG magazine Last, but hopefully not least, there's SPAG , an e-zine devoted entirely to reviews of text games.

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Magnus Olsson (

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