Nothing enthrals a reader like a fictional character making bad AF decisions (we see you, Mr. Poe). Born out of this frustration for omniscient novelists lording over every character’s fate in our favorite novels, Interactive Fiction was created. I think. Maybe I’m just projecting. But playing Interactive Fiction or IF is the type of literary catharsis every frustrated reader needs, especially after a good book ends in questionable taste.
IF is a genre of gaming that allows the reader or, well, gamer to have a text-based adventure. Think “Goosebumps” horror adventure books without needing to physically damage a printed copy. Finally.
Here’s a list we compiled to get you started on an IF binge playthrough:
Let’s start with the basics. There is a hidden text game easter egg accessible only through Google search. Using Chrome, Google search “text adventure” and once results pop up, press“Ctrl+Alt+J.” The page code will appear on-screen with a secret message: “Would you like to play a game? (y/n)”
Type ‘y’, click ‘Enter’. Enjoy.
In the peak of cryptic, indie online games being featured on the channels of known YouTube gamers, one such game that made rounds was an IF called “Facade.” Here, you play a guest visiting your old friends Grace and Trip after many years apart. Mix their loaded domestic drama and your free-type message box for a good many hours of digging through tense AI-fueled conversations.
3. For a Change
“The sun has gone. It must be brought. You have a rock.” And so the iconic line opens the game. This particular IF has gone on to win several distinctions for its surreal theme and vague, visceral language. For readers who enjoy E.E Cummings or exploring literary work that can get, for lack of a better term, disorienting as shit, go try “For a Change.”
“The Temple of No” has an interesting mechanic of having the reader click underlined text to progress through the story. If you enjoyed playful (and highkey snarky) authors like Lemony Snicket, this snappy literary adventure is a fun bet for your first IF adventure.
It wouldn’t be a niche game list without any creepy horror selections, so here it is: “the relief of impact.” The hand-drawn visuals, perfectly timed text animation, and slow burn fades are eerily accurate recreations of your sleep paralysis demon creepin’ up at odd hours of the night. Try at your own risk and sweet dreams.
Stills from The Temple of No, Google, Facade, For A Change and the relief of impact