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Updated by Sandy Stachowiak on 23 January 2017.

While there have been many advances in technology and gaming, some still appreciate the old-school challenges Emulate Classic DOS Games Right In Your Browser For Free Emulate Classic DOS Games Right In Your Browser For Free Play retro DOS games in a couple of clicks, thanks to The Internet Archive. Read More . Interactive fiction (IF) games do still exist and there are plenty of options available online. So, whether you are a current fan of the genre or simply intrigued by it, here is a terrific list of online, text-based fiction games for you to check out.

Lost Pig And Place Under Ground by Grunk

Pig lost! Boss say that it Grunk fault. Say Grunk forget about closing gate. Maybe boss right. Grunk not remember forgetting, but maybe Grunk just forget. Boss say Grunk go find pig, bring it back. Him say, if Grunk not bring back pig, not bring back Grunk either. Grunk like working at pig farm, so now Grunk need find pig.

So begins this less-than-epic quest, in which our hero attempts to find a pig.

No, really: that’s the plot. And it is amazing.

This short game’s narrative voice is deceptively simple, and will have you laughing out loud more than once as you play it. It also features some pretty good adventure-game-style puzzles, but don’t give up too quickly. You can deduce pretty easily, which makes this a great game for beginners.

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You can find more information about Lost Pig on the game’s website or start playing from the Interactive Fiction Database.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

As the story begins bulldozers are waiting to reduce your house to rubble to make way for a motorway bypass. While you attempt to deal with this problem, your rather strange friend Ford Prefect drops by to tell you that the Earth is about to be demolished to make way for an interstellar bypass!

Whether you have read the book, watched the movie, or neither, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an interesting interactive fiction game. And, if you are familiar with the story already, you will be in for some twists and turns in this online adaptation of the tale.

The real charm of this game is its narrative voice – the text was written by Douglas Adams himself. This game is not easy and includes no hint system. But, devotees of Adams’ work should struggle through – it’s worth it just for the one-liners.

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You can check out more details about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or begin the game on the Text Adventures website.

For A Change by Dan Schmidt

The sun has gone. It must be brought. You have a rock.

If you think that reads more like poetry than it does a game you’re probably right. This is a game as well as a poem, and a good one at that.

A surrealistic adventure featuring an invented vocabulary provides an experience no other medium possibly could, and makes a strong case for the continued existence of text games. Prepare to really use your imagination, envision what is taking place, and then check this one out.

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Further details about For a Change and a link to play online can be found on the Interactive Fiction Database site.

Photopia by Adam Cadre

Less a game than it is a story, Photopia is considered by many to be the most influential piece of interactive fiction Where Can I Find Old and New Interactive Fiction Games? Where Can I Find Old and New Interactive Fiction Games? Back in the 1980s, I remember a game on my MS-DOS computer that was played solely by reading directions or clues, and typing responses. Read More in the post-Infocom era. As the game begins, you are waking up in the car from a night of partying as your friend speeds down the road. Then, you are suddenly a girl, the first on the red planet.

Going any further into the plot will give too much away, which is one reason this is an intriguing game. The game really is beautiful, although there has always been controversy surrounding it, so decide for yourself.

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To start playing Photopia or just look at more game details, you can head to the Interactive Fiction Database site.

Whom The Telling Changed by Aaron A. Reed

The heat of the fire and the glow in the storyteller’s eyes made the past present, and the path to the future clear. The power in the telling was immense, subtle, divine. What man would dare subvert it?

As your village in ancient Mesopotamia decides whether or not to go to war the legendary story of Gilgamesh is told. Your role is to, by asking the right questions, manipulate public opinion toward fighting or not fighting. This game is great if you have a working knowledge of the Gilgamesh epic (read it free here) and even better for repeat playing, as there are multiple possible endings.

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You can review more information about Who The Telling Changed or begin the game on the Interactive Fiction Database site.

Are You Ready to Explore More?

Infocom Games

If you are wondering where Zork is, the answer is that it is hard to say. Technically, Activision owns the rights to the Zork trilogy and the rest of the (amazing) Infocom library, which fueled the 80’s text game craze. The website seems to feature pretty much all of them; however, and you can play them in your browser.

Playfic

For discovery of new games and even for those interested in creating their own, Playfic is a great source. This online community site lets you write Get Paid To Write Interactive Fiction. Find Out How! Get Paid To Write Interactive Fiction. Find Out How! You could get your work published under their Hosted Games label and make some good money for your writing. Read More , share, and play games created by others. You can check out the newest, most popular, or featured challenges.

Text Adventures

Similar to Playfic and the source mentioned for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is Text Adventures. This is another community of interactive fiction game creators and players. And, it also happens to have Zork I. Take a look at featured games or select a category like puzzle or fantasy.

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Interactive Fiction Database

The Interactive Fiction Database serves as an online catalog of the many free games available, including those mentioned here. You will also find downloading instructions for any particular interactive fiction game Love Interactive Fiction? Fill Your iPad Or iPhone With Text Adventures Love Interactive Fiction? Fill Your iPad Or iPhone With Text Adventures Interested in interactive fiction or text adventures? Then you'll want to download these apps for your iPhone or iPad. Read More there.

Conclusion

This is but a small number of the text-based games Play Practically Any Interactive Fiction Game With Spatterlight for Mac Play Practically Any Interactive Fiction Game With Spatterlight for Mac Text-based adventures aren't exactly top sellers today. They haven't disappeared, however - a massive online community creates, plays and discusses these games. Unfortunately, when you download a game, it's not immediately obvious what you're supposed... Read More you can find online, of course. If you have never played, do you think text games could be fun? Or, do any interactive fiction fans recommend games not listed here? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments below!

Image Credit: Billion Photos via Shutterstock.com

  1. LizzyDEE
    December 6, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you forthis list! I am always looking for games I can play that don't need too much hand-eye coordination or unique games. I love interactive story and adventure games. Yay!

  2. Michael Hayes
    June 2, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    There were a number of text adventure games I played when I was in college. One of the more well-written ones at that time was Anchorhead. Its genre is Lovecraftian Gothic horror, which seemed to be a favorite among IF writers at the time. I liked it though, because a lot of effort went into the room descriptions, capturing the feeling of being in a New England coastal village. It even avoids the mundane "you can't go that way" response by telling you what lies in which direction. It starts as a carefree exploration, and gradually pulls you into the discovery of an ancient sinister plot. Of course, any recommendation of IF games shouldn't leave out the ones by Graham Nelson, lauded as the father of modern IF. Curses and Jigsaw were tough but rewarding. I still remember playing Jigsaw and staying on board the Titanic until the last possible moment. I'm glad you mentioned Photopia, probably the best of the "puzzle-less" sub-genre of IF. Too bad that and the other puzzle-less IF, at least at that time, were all morbid. There was also Mercy, which takes place in the fictitious near future where a new smallpox epidemic is killing everybody and the main character is a euthanasia doctor. Then there was In The End, which covers the subject of suicide. As for Zork, I was glad that Activision at least had created Zork: The Undiscovered Underground concurrent with their release of Zork: Grand Inquisitor. Even if it was relatively short and poorly-written (I know grues were mentioned in passing in other Infocom games, but actually seeing one and then entering a grue convention was just lame), it was at least a nod. The recent game Call Of Duty: Black Ops I has an easter egg where the player can use a computer to play the classic Zork.

    • Nandini
      November 20, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      I really want to play In the End. Can you tell me where to get it online for free. I have already tried Google.

      • Justin Pot
        November 21, 2015 at 4:05 pm

        I'd be curious too, I can't seem to find that one.

        • Justin Pot
          November 21, 2015 at 4:05 pm
        • Michael Hayes
          November 23, 2015 at 4:56 pm

          It seems to have been taken down from the IF Archive. Maybe it was at the author's request. I also noticed that the author of Interstate 0 made himself anonymous. I'm glad it's still available somewhere. It's pretty short, and there's only so much to do, but as long as you are warned in advance it's about suicide, then you can enjoy the atmosphere for about an hour or so.

        • Justin Pot
          November 23, 2015 at 5:15 pm

          The author of Interstate 0 is Adam Cadre, also behind Photopia which I linked to above. I'm not sure it's a work he's proud of anymore, though – he's removed it from his website.

  3. Aryamaan Giri
    August 11, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    How on earth are we supposed to play these games ??!!

    • jhpot
      August 11, 2010 at 2:47 pm

      There are direct links to the games themselves in playable form, so I'm guessing your question is about how Interactive Fiction works in general. In most games you can type "help" to get a pretty good guide, but basically what you need to do is type what you want to do.

  4. Joseph Michael Daryl
    July 30, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Drug Lord.....

  5. Joseph Michael Daryl
    July 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    You Forgot Championship manger . It's a Soccer Base Manager Game Which was popular till 2002. Text were use to describe the game.This was one true classic.They don't make games like these anymore.

  6. Aibek
    July 30, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Give it a try guys and let us know.

  7. Coper
    July 30, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Never tried this kind of stuff but it seems to be fun. I'll give it a try

    • Malik Thowne
      July 30, 2010 at 10:53 am

      thanks, sounds interesting, will give it a try as well

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