“Interactive Fiction” here means text adventures—computer games that you type into. Like Zork! Remember Zork? What about The Lurking Horror?
If you’re unfamiliar with the form, you can listen to me and Jenni Polodna and others playing some games in a (relatively) accessible form on our podcast, “Clash of the Type-Ins.” Or you can play a tutorial game I wrote, and learn the basics of the maddening language of text parsers.
I have written a lot of these games, and below you can read about some of my favorites.
My first game is about a rat who spends his day off collecting ingredients for his friend’s stew. Play it online!
Taco Fiction is a game about crime. It won the 2011 Interactive Fiction Competition! If you are unfamiliar with the medium and its surrounding culture you may be wondering how big a deal that is. I’d say “a fairly big deal.” Play it online!
A game based on a They Might Be Giants song, but also based on an 18th-century opera. It has been very well received, even by players unfamiliar with any of the source material. Emily Short wrote about it, even! (Play it online!)
Is this a game about a person trapped in a dream-world as they struggle to recover from a coma? Or is it a game about a lazy person who claims to be in a coma but is really describing surreal adventures in a dream-world to forestall the distasteful prospect of getting out of bed? Play it online and find out (maybe)!
This is a short game about geocaching, solitude, memory, that kind of thing. Play it online!
Emily Boegheim and I collaborated on this story of high school kids staying in a church overnight to investigate a ghost. For the school newspaper. The game got 2nd place in IFComp 2013. Play it online!
In this game, Captain Verdeterre is a pirate captain and a rat, and you are his first mate, Tibert Dusachet, a human. Your pirate ship is in the process of sinking. Play it online!
This little game won Ectocomp 2013 (a competition for spooky games written fast). There’s not much to say about it. I like it a lot. Play it online!
StoryBundle commissioned this game, an introspective, wandering-based “adventure” in the vein of Wrenlaw. I don’t know if you’ve ever been obsessed with a Gothic tower before, but I have, and this game will tell you all about it. Play it online!
In this game, those two unscrupulous cops from Taco Fiction will do whatever it takes to get their hands on some cupcakes. Plus it’s Halloween. Play it online!
The Island of Doctor Wooby
In the same way Michael Crichton drew from The Island of Doctor Moreau to create Jurassic Park, and Seamus Blackley drew from Jurassic Park to create Jurassic Park: Trespasser, I have drawn from (and perhaps eclipsed) all these works in creating The Island of Doctor Wooby, a text adventure in which randomly-generated felt dinosaur dolls toddle around and occasionally trip over each other. Play it online!
Winter Storm Draco
This interactive documentary deals with the events of the 2012 winter storm of the same name (“Winter Storm Draco”). Play it online!
An Evening at the Ransom Woodingdean Museum House
This is a short, arguably scary game about a docent at a restored Victorian home. Play it online!
Reference and Representation: An Approach to First-Order Semantics
This is a game about a dumb caveman who deeply loves his cavegirlfriend. Play it online!
The Roscovian Palladium
Another game about talking rats! This one involves a daring heist in a human art museum. I feel like I’ve written a lot of games about museums. Play it online!