An Introduction to Interactive Fiction


Slide Presentation

A work of interactive fiction (IF, a.k.a. text adventure) is a puzzle game with

·         nonlinear storytelling with user-directed actions driving story,

·         text-based interaction (e.g. “go north”, “unlock door with skeleton key”), and

·         text description of locations and objects.

The story environment changes with user interactions.  Puzzles are often solved by finding hidden objects or discovering creative uses for non-hidden objects (e.g. swamp gas + wine bladder + flint + steel + brick wall = loose bricks + new passage).

Beginner Tutorials and Information:

·         Introductory Presentation Slides (

·         PR-IF Reference Card (

·         Emily Short Intro (

·         IF Wiki FAQ (

·         Brass Lantern Guide (

IF playable online:


·         Infocom adventures online:

Though lacking the graphical glitz of modern graphic adventure games, IF as a text-based medium is alive and well, just as books persist alongside video storytelling.

Two main competitions where you can find the best representative modern work:

·         XYZZY Awards (

·         Annual IF Competition (

·         IF Community favorites (


·         IF Wiki ( – up-to-date information concerning games, competitions, authoring systems, etc.

·         IF Archive ( – where you can find the latest interpreter software, games, authoring tools, etc.

·         Interactive Fiction Database (IFDB;


Todd W. Neller (