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Interactive fiction, often abbreviated IF, is software simulating environments in which players use text commands to control characters and influence the environment. Works in this form can be understood as literary narratives and as video games. In common usage, the term refers to text adventures, a type of adventure game where the entire interface can be "text-only". Graphical text adventure games, where the text is accompanied by graphics (still images, animations or video) still fall under the text adventure category if the main way to interact with the game is text. Some users of the term distinguish between "interactive fiction" that focuses on narrative and "text adventures" that focus on puzzles. Meanwhile, more expansive definitions of "interactive fiction" may include all adventure games, including wholly graphical adventures such as Myst.
As a commercial product, interactive fiction reached its peak in popularity from 1979–1986, as a dominant software product marketed for home computers. Due to their text-only nature it sidestepped the problem of writing for the widely divergent graphics architectures, this meant interactive fiction games were easily ported across all the popular platforms, even those such as CP/M not known for gaming or strong graphics capabilities. Today, a steady stream of new works is produced by an online interactive fiction community, using freely available development systems.
The term can also be used to refer to literary works that are not read in a linear fashion, known as gamebooks, where the reader is instead given choices at different points in the text; these decisions determines the flow and outcome of the story. The most famous example of this form of interactive fiction is the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, and the collaborative "addventure" format has also been described as a form of interactive fiction.
Text adventures are one of the oldest types of computer games and form a subset of the adventure genre. The player uses text input to control the game, and the game state is relayed to the player via text output.
Input is usually provided by the player in the form of simple sentences such as "get key" or "go east", which are interpreted by a text parser. Parsers may vary in sophistication; the first text adventure parsers could only handle two-word sentences in the form of verb-noun pairs. Later parsers, such as those built on Infocom's ZIL (Zork Implementation Language), could understand complete sentences. Later parsers could handle increasing levels of complexity parsing sentences such as "open the red box with the green key then go north". This level of complexity is the standard for works of interactive fiction today.
Despite their lack of graphics, text adventures include a physical dimension where players move between rooms. Many text adventure games boasted their total number of rooms to indicate how much gameplay they offered. These games are unique in that they may create an illogical space, where going north from area A takes you to area B, but going south from area B did not take you back to area A. This can create mazes that do not behave as players expect, and thus players must maintain their own map. These illogical spaces are much more rare in today's era of 3D gaming, and the Interactive Fiction community in general decries the use of mazes entirely, claiming that mazes have become arbitrary 'puzzles for the sake of puzzles' and that they can, in the hands of inexperienced designers, become immensely frustrating for players to navigate.
Interactive fiction shares much in common with Multi-User Dungeons ('MUDs'). MUDs, which became popular in the mid-1980s, rely on a textual exchange and accept similar commands from players as do works of IF; however, since interactive fiction is single player, and MUDs, by definition, have multiple players, they differ enormously in gameplay styles. MUDs often focus gameplay on activities that involve communities of players, simulated political systems, in-game trading, and other gameplay mechanics that aren't possible in a single player environment.
Interactive fiction usually relies on reading from a screen and on typing input, although text-to-speech synthesizers allow blind and visually impaired users to play interactive fiction titles as audio games.
Interactive fiction features two distinct modes of writing: the player input and the game output.
As described above, player input is expected to be in simple command form (imperative sentences). A typical command may be:
The responses from the game are usually written from a second-person point of view, in present tense. This is because, unlike in most works of fiction, the main character is closely associated with the player, and the events are seen to be happening as the player plays. While older text adventures often identified the protagonist with the player directly, newer games tend to have specific, well-defined protagonists with separate identities from the player. The classic essay "Crimes Against Mimesis" discusses, among other IF issues, the nature of "You" in interactive fiction.
A typical response might look something like this, the response to "look in teachest" at the start of Curses:
That was the first place you tried, hours and hours ago now, and there's nothing there but that boring old book. You pick it up anyway, bored as you are.
Many text adventures, particularly those designed for humour (such as Zork, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Leather Goddesses of Phobos), address the player with an informal tone, sometimes including sarcastic remarks (see the transcript from Curses, above, for an example). The late Douglas Adams, in designing the IF version of his 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', created a unique solution to the final puzzle of the game: the game requires the one solitary item that the player didn't choose at the outset of play.
Some IF works dispense with second-person narrative entirely, opting for a first-person perspective ('I') or even placing the player in the position of an observer, rather than a direct participant. In some 'experimental' IF, the concept of self-identification is eliminated entirely, and the player instead takes the role of an inanimate object, a force of nature, or an abstract concept; experimental IF usually pushes the limits of the concept and challenges many assumptions about the medium.
Around 1975, Will Crowther, a programmer and an amateur caver, wrote the first text adventure game, Adventure (originally called ADVENT because a filename could only be six characters long in the operating system he was using, and later named Colossal Cave). Having just gone through a divorce, he was looking for a way to connect with his two young children. Over the course of a few weekends, he wrote a text based cave exploration game that featured a sort of guide/narrator who talked in full sentences and who understood simple two word commands that came close to natural English. Adventure was programmed in Fortran for the PDP-10. Stanford University graduate student Don Woods discovered Adventure while working at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and in 1977 obtained and expanded Crowther's source code (with Crowther's permission). Crowther's original version was an accurate simulation of the real Colossal Cave, but also included fantasy elements (such as axe-wielding dwarves and a magic bridge); Woods's changes were reminiscent of the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, and included a troll, elves, and a volcano some claim is based on Mount Doom, but Woods says was not.
In early 1977, Adventure spread across ARPAnet, and has survived on the Internet to this day. The game has since been ported to many other operating systems, and was included with the floppy-disk distribution of Microsoft's MS-DOS 5.0 OS. Adventure is a cornerstone of the online IF community; there currently exist dozens of different independently-programmed versions, with additional elements, such as new rooms or puzzles, and various scoring systems.
The popularity of Adventure led to the wide success of interactive fiction during the late 1970s and the 1980s, when home computers had little, if any, graphics capability. Many elements of the original game have survived into the present, such as the command 'xyzzy', which is now included as an Easter Egg in games such as Minesweeper.
Adventure was also directly responsible for the founding of Sierra Online (later Sierra Entertainment); Ken and Roberta Williams played the game when it first appeared, and when unable to find any other games of similar quality, decided to design one of their own.
In 1978, Adams wrote Adventureland, which was loosely patterned after the original Advent. He took out a small ad in a computer magazine in order to promote and sell Adventureland, thus creating the first commercial adventure game. In 1979 he founded Adventure International, the first commercial publisher of interactive fiction. The company went bankrupt in 1985.
The largest company producing works of interactive fiction was Infocom, which created the Zork series and many other titles, among them Trinity, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and A Mind Forever Voyaging.
In June 1977, Marc Blank, Bruce K. Daniels, Tim Anderson, and Dave Lebling began writing the mainframe version of Zork (also known as Dungeon), at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science. The game was programmed in a computer language called MDL, a variant of LISP. In early 1979, the game was completed. Ten members of the MIT Dynamics Modelling Group went on to join Infocom when it was incorporated later that year.
In order to make its games as portable as possible, Infocom developed the Z-machine, a custom virtual machine which could be implemented on a large number of platforms, and which took standardized "story files" as input.
The Infocom parser was widely regarded as the best of its era. It accepted complex, complete sentence commands like "put the blue book on the writing desk" at a time when most of its competitors parsers were restricted to simple two word verb-noun combinations such as "put book". The parser was actively upgraded with new features like undo and error correction, and later games would 'understand' multiple sentence input: 'pick up the gem and put it in my bag. take the newspaper clipping out of my bag then burn it with the book of matches'.
In a non-technical sense, Infocom was responsible for developing the interactive style that would be emulated by many later interpreters.
In 1991 and 1992, Activision released volumes one and two of The Lost Treasures of Infocom, a collection containing most of Infocom's games, followed in 1996 by Classic Text Adventure Masterpieces of Infocom.
The text adventures produced by Legend used (high-resolution) graphics as well as sound. Some of their titles include Eric the Unready, the Spellcasting series and Gateway (based on Frederik Pohl's novels).
Probably the first commercial work of interactive fiction produced outside the U.S. was the dungeon crawl game of Acheton, produced in Cambridge, England, and first commercially released by Acornsoft (later expanded and reissued by Topologika). Other leading companies in the U.K. were Magnetic Scrolls and Level 9 Computing. Also worthy of mention are Delta 4, Melbourne House, and the homebrew company Zenobi.
In the early 1980s Edu-Ware also produced interactive fiction for the Apple II as designated by the "if" graphic that was displayed on startup. Their titles included the Prisoner and Empire series (Empire I: World Builders, Empire II: Interstellar Sharks, Empire III: Armageddon).
In 1981, CE Software published SwordThrust as a commercial successor to the Eamon gaming system for the Apple II. SwordThrust and Eamon were simple two-word parser games with many role-playing elements not available in other interactive fiction. While SwordThrust published seven different titles, it was vastly overshadowed by the non-commercial Eamon system which allowed private authors to publish their own titles in the series. By March 1984, there were 48 titles published for the Eamon system, and over 270 titles in total as of March 2013.
In Italy, interactive fiction games were mainly published and distributed through various magazines in included tapes. The largest number of games were published in the two magazines Viking and Explorer, with versions for the main 8-bit home computers (Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and MSX). The software house producing those games was Brainstorm Enterprise, and the most prolific IF author was Bonaventura Di Bello, who produced 70 games in the Italian language. The wave of interactive fiction in Italy lasted for a couple of years thanks to the various magazines promoting the genre, then faded and remains still today a topic of interest for a small group of fans and less known developers, celebrated on Web sites and in related newsgroups.
In Spain, interactive fiction was considered a minority genre, and was not very much successful. The first Spanish interactive fiction commercially released was Yenght in 1983, by Dinamic Software, for the ZX Spectrum. Later on, it was in 1987, when the same company produced an interactive fiction about Don Quijote. After several other attempts, a company emerged from Dinamic, called Aventuras AD which was the main interactive fiction publisher in Spain, including titles like a Spanish adaptation of Colossal Cave Adventure, an adaptation of the Spanish comic El Jabato, and mainly the Ci-U-Than trilogy, composed by La diosa de Cozumel (1990), Los templos sagrados (1991) and Chichen-Itzá (1992). During this period, the Club de Aventuras AD (CAAD), the main Spanish speaking community around interactive fiction in the world, was founded, and after the end of Aventuras AD in 1992, the CAAD continued on its own, first with their own magazine, and then with the advent of Internet, with the launch of an active internet community that still produces interactive non commercial fiction nowadays.
After the decline of the commercial interactive fiction market in the 1990s, an online community eventually formed around the medium. In 1987, the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.int-fiction was created, and was soon followed by rec.games.int-fiction. By custom, the topic of rec.arts.int-fiction is interactive fiction authorship and programming, while rec.games.int-fiction encompasses topics related to playing interactive fiction games, such as hint requests and game reviews. As of late 2011, discussions between writers have mostly moved from rec.arts.int-fiction to the Interactive Fiction Community Forum.
One of the most important early developments was the reverse-engineering of Infocom's Z-Code format and Z-Machine virtual machine in 1987 by a group of enthusiasts called the InfoTaskForce and the subsequent development of an interpreter for Z-Code story files. As a result, it became possible to play Infocom's work on modern computers.
For years amateurs formed a small community producing interactive fiction works of relatively limited scope using the Adventure Game Toolkit and similar tools. The breakthrough that allowed the interactive fiction community to truly prosper, however, was the creation and distribution of two sophisticated development systems. In 1987, Michael J. Roberts released TADS, a programming language designed to produce works of interactive fiction. In 1993, Graham Nelson released Inform, a programming language and set of libraries which compiled to a Z-Code story file. Each of these systems allowed anyone with sufficient time and dedication to create a game, and caused a growth boom in the online interactive fiction community.
Despite the lack of commercial support, the availability of high quality tools allowed enthusiasts of the genre to develop new high quality games. Competitions such as the annual Interactive Fiction Competition for short works, the newer Spring Thing for longer works, and the XYZZY Awards, further helped to improve the quality and complexity of the games. Modern games go much further than the original "Adventure" style, improving upon Infocom games, which relied extensively on puzzle solving, and to a lesser extent on communication with non player characters, to include experimentation with writing and story-telling techniques.
While the majority of modern interactive fiction developed is distributed for free, there are some commercial endeavors, including Peter Nepstad's 1893: A World's Fair Mystery, several games by Howard Sherman published as Malinche Entertainment, The General Coffee Company's Future Boy!, Cypher, a graphically enhanced cyberpunk game and various titles by Textfyre. Emily Short was commissioned to develop the game City of Secrets but the project fell through and she ended up releasing it herself.
Some authors offer optional commercial feelies (physical props associated with a game); the tradition of 'Feelies' (and the term itself) is believed to have originated with Deadline (1982), the third Infocom title after Zork I and II. Seeing the dual potential benefits of both aiding game-play immersion and providing a measure of creative copy-protection, Infocom and later other companies began creating feelies for numerous titles. In 1987, Infocom released a special version of the first three Zork titles together with plot-specific coins and other trinkets. This concept would see expansion as time went on, such that later game feelies would contain passwords, coded instructions, page numbers, or other information that would be required to successfully complete the game.
Visual novels are interactive fiction featuring mostly static graphics, usually with anime-style art. As the name might suggest, they resemble mixed-media novels or tableau vivant stage plays. Visual novels are especially prevalent in Japan, where they make up nearly 70% of PC games released. They are rarely produced for video game consoles, but the more popular games are sometimes ported to video game systems such as the PlayStation 2. The market for visual novels outside of East Asia, however, is limited.
Visual novels have been a staple of PC software sales in Japan and other East Asian countries for over a decade, so much so that popular titles are open ported to consoles, and some even have famous manga and anime series based upon them; such titles include Kanon (1999), Air (2000) and Clannad (2004) by Key; Rumbling Hearts (2001) by Age; School Days (2005) by 0verflow; Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (2002) by 07th Expansion; and Fate/stay night (2004) by Type-Moon.
The interactive novel is a form of web fiction and interactive fiction. While authors of traditional paper-and-ink novels have sometimes tried to give readers the random directionality offered by true hypertexting, this approach was not completely feasible until the development of HTML. Paper novels (indeed, some digital novels) are linear, that is, read from page to page in a straight line. Interactive novels, however, offer readers a unique way to read fiction by choosing a page, a character, or a direction. By following hyperlinked phrases within the novel, readers can find new ways to understand characters. There is no wrong way to read a hypertext interactive novel. Links embedded within the pages are meant to be taken at a reader's discretion – to allow the reader a choice in the novel's world.
Interactive storytelling is a developing kind of computer entertainment. The term was coined by Chris Crawford, a main proponent and developer. He defines interactive storytelling as, "a form of interactive entertainment in which the player plays the role of the protagonist in a dramatically rich environment."
Interactive storytelling and interactive fiction are distinct in that interactive storytelling focuses on drama and dynamic circumstances, where interactive fiction games, traditionally (but not necessarily) focus on puzzle-solving and navigating through pre-conceived circumstances. They are similar, however, in that well-written forms of both are nonlinear.
- Colossal Cave Adventure, by Will Crowther and Don Woods, was the first text adventure ever made.
- Adventureland, by Scott Adams, is considered one of the defining works of interactive fiction.
- The Zork series by Infocom (1979 onwards) was the first text adventure to see widespread commercial release.
- Softporn Adventure, by Chuck Benton, a popular adult game that inspired the Leisure Suit Larry series.
- The Hobbit, by Philip Mitchell and Veronika Megler of Beam Software (1982) was an early reinterpretation of an existing novel into interactive fiction, with several independent non-player characters.
- Planetfall, by Steve Meretzky of Infocom (1983), featured Floyd the robot, which Allen Varney claimed to be the first game character who evoked a strong emotional commitment from players.
- Suspended by Michael Berlyn was an Infocom game notable for a large vocabulary and unique character personalities.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky of Infocom (1984), was notable in that the author of the original work was involved in the reinterpretation.
- A Mind Forever Voyaging, by Steve Meretzky of Infocom (1985), a story-heavy, puzzle-light game often touted as Infocom's first serious work of science fiction.
- Leather Goddesses of Phobos by Steve Meretzky, a risqué sci-fi parody from Infocom.
- Amnesia (1987), by Hugo Award and Nebula Award winning science fiction and fantasy author Thomas M. Disch, a purely text-only adventure published by Electronic Arts.
- Curses, by Graham Nelson (1993), the first game ever written in the Inform programming language. Considered one of the first "modern" games to meet the high standards set by Infocom's best titles.
- So Far, by Andrew Plotkin (1996), the first XYZZY Award for Best Game winner in 1996.
- Anchorhead, by Michael S. Gentry (1998) is a highly rated horror story inspired by H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos.
- Photopia, by Adam Cadre (1998), one of the first almost entirely puzzle-free games. It won the annual Interactive Fiction Competition in 1998.
- Spider and Web, by Andrew Plotkin (1998), an award-winning espionage story with many twists and turns.
- Varicella by Adam Cadre (1999). It won four XYZZY Awards in 1999 including the XYZZY Award for Best Game, and had a scholarly essay written about it.
- Galatea, by Emily Short (2000). Galatea is focused entirely on interaction with the animated statue of the same name. Galatea has one of the most complex interaction systems for a non-player character in an interactive fiction game. Adam Cadre called Galatea "the best NPC ever".
- Slouching Towards Bedlam, by Star C. Foster and Daniel Ravipinto (2003). Set in a steampunk setting, the game integrates meta-game functionality (saving, restoring, restarting) into the game world itself. The game won four XYZZY Awards.
- Façade by Michael Mateas, Andrew Stern and John Grieve (2005). An interactive drama using natural language processing.
A number of systems for writing interactive fiction exist. Most IF development is now implemented in Inform, TADS, or ADRIFT. In the 2006 IFComp, most games were written for Inform, with a strong minority of games for TADS and ADRIFT, followed by a smattering of games for other systems.
While familiarity with a programming language leads many new authors to attempt to produce their own complete IF application, most established IF authors recommend use of a specialised IF language, arguing that such systems allow authors to avoid the technicalities of producing a full featured parser, while allowing broad community support. The choice of authoring system usually depends on the author's desired balance of ease of use versus power, and the portability of the final product.
Other development systems include:
- Gilsoft's The Quill and the Professional Adventure Writer
- Incentive Software's Graphic Adventure Creator (GAC)
- David Malmberg's Adventure Game Toolkit (AGT)
- Twine and twee, for web-based games
- Trogdor-pp, a text adventure engine with planned support for online MUDing
Interpreters are the software used to play the works of interactive fiction created with a development system. They may be part of the development system, or can be compiled together with the work of fiction as a standalone executable file. Interpreters distributed separately include:
- Frotz (Z-machine; available on desktop computing platforms and iOS)
- Gargoyle (a package of several interpreters: Agility, Alan 2 and 3, Frotz, Glulxe, Hugo, Level 9, Magnetic, Scare, TADS 2 and 3; available on desktop computing platforms)
In addition to commercial distribution venues and individual websites, many works of free interactive fiction are distributed through community websites. These include the Interactive Fiction Database (IFDB), a game catalog and recommendation engine, and the Interactive Fiction Archive.
- Hypertext fiction
- Roleplaying Games, which are occasionally described as another form of interactive fiction.
- Visual novel, interactive fiction with graphics.
- Multi-User Dungeon (MUD), which may be considered as a kind of multiplayer or collaborative interactive fiction
- Graphic adventures, adventure games with roots in interactive fiction.
- Interactive storytelling
- Montfort, Nick & Urbano, Paulo (Tr.). A quarta Era da Ficção Interactiva. Nada, Volume 8. October 2006.
- Rollings, Andrew; Ernest Adams (2006). Fundamentals of Game Design. Prentice Hall.
- "Interactive fiction, from birth through precocious adolescence: a conversation with Jimmy Maher". Adventure Classic Gaming. 2009-07-16. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
- Soultanis, Greg. Mullin, Eileen, ed. XYZZY News - The Magazine for Interactive Fiction Enthusiasts. Issue #4. July/August 1995.
- "AMN and Anime Advanced Announce Anime Game Demo Downloads". Hirameki International Group Inc. 2006-02-08. Retrieved 2006-12-01.
- DeMaria, Rusel and Wilson, Johnny L. (2002) High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games McGraw-Hill/Osborne, Berkeley, Calif., p. 52, ISBN 0-07-222428-2
- Giner-Sorolla, Roger (4 2006). "Crimes Against Mimesis". Archived from the original on 2005-06-19. Retrieved 2006-12-17. This is a reformatted version of a set of articles originally posted to Usenet: Giner-Sorolla, Roger (2006-04-11). "Crimes Against Mimesis, Part 1". Retrieved 2006-12-17. Giner-Sorolla, Roger (2006-04-18). "Crimes Against Mimesis, Part 2". Retrieved 2006-12-17. Giner-Sorolla, Roger (2006-04-25). "Crimes Against Mimesis, Part 3". Retrieved 2006-12-17. Giner-Sorolla, Roger (2006-04-29). "Crimes Against Mimesis, Part 4". Retrieved 2006-12-17.
- Nelson, Graham Curses, 1993.
- Jerz, Dennis G. (2004-02-17). "Colossal Cave Adventure (c. 1975)". Dennis G. Jerz, Seton Hill University. Retrieved 2006-10-20.
- "Even the description of the volcano, which some writers have claimed was modelled after Mount Doom, was written with no particular vision in mind." "Interactive Fiction? I prefer Adventure". L’avventura è l’avventura. 06 2001. Retrieved 2007-05-22.
- "Jerz's Introduction (Storytelling and Computer Games; UWEC Panel, May 2001)". Jerz.setonhill.edu. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "In early 1977, Adventure swept the ARPAnet." Anderson, Tim (December 1985). "The History of Zork -- First in a Series". The New Zork Times 4 (1) (Anderson)
- Graham Nelson (July 2001). "A short history of interactive fiction". The Inform Designer's Manual. Retrieved 2006-11-01.
- Montfort, Nick (2005) . "The Independents". Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-262-13436-1. "Some special-purpose interactive fiction development systems were used by the ordinary home computer owner of the 1980s. An important early one was Donald Brown's 1980 freeware system Eamon, a system for creating text-based role-playing games... Eamon was used to create more than 240 games."
- "Le collane avventurose in Italia (Adventure game series in Italy)". Ready64 (in Italian). Roberto Nicoletti. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- "Bonaventura Di Bello". IFWiki. David Cornelson. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- "Club de Aventuras AD". Caad.es. 2010-11-13. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "Home of the Best Interactive Fiction". Textfyre.com. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- Emily Short (2003-10-05). "City of Secrets". Retrieved 2006-11-01.
- Allen Varney (2006-12-09). "Feelies". The Escapist, Issue #64. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Stephen van Egmond (17 April 2004). "FAQ 2/3: (2.3) How did Infocom make those neat packages?". rec.games.int-fiction. Web link. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
- Peter Scheyen (1987). "Genuine Zorkmid coin minted for the Zork Trilogy". Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Robin Lionheart (2009). "The Zorkmid Project". Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Crawford, Chris (2004) Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling. New Riders.
- Article at The Dot Eaters. 2006.
- Allen Varney (2005-08-23). "Read Game". The Escapist, Issue #7: Classical Studies. Retrieved 2006-11-01.
- "ISSUE #5 - April 19, 1995 - SPAG". Sparkynet.com. 1995-04-19. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "ISSUE #9 - June 11, 1996 - SPAG". Sparkynet.com. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "XYZZYnews Issue #1 Interview: Graham Nelson". Xyzzynews.com. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "Anchorhead". Wurb.com. 2000-06-30. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "Interactive Fiction Bibliography - Manifestos and Taxonomies". Jerz.setonhill.edu. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "History of the 14th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition". Ifcomp.org. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "XYZZY Awards: 1998 Winners". Xyzzynews.com. 1999-02-06. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "Spider and Web". Wurb.com. 2000-06-30. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- Montfort, Nick; Stuart Moulthrop (07 2003). "Face It, Tiger, You Just Hit the Jackpot: Reading and Playing Cadre's Varicella". fineArt Forum Vol. 17 No. 8. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
- "Photopia is a short story, Varicella is a world". 01 2002. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
- "Results of the 9th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition".
- "Games of the 12th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition". 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
- Granade, Stephen. "Choosing a Text Adventure Language". Retrieved 2006-12-17.
- Montfort, Nick (2005). Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction. The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-63318-5.
- Keller, Daniel. "Reading and playing: what makes interactive fiction unique" p. 276-298. in Williams, J. P., & Smith, J. H. (2007). The players' realm: studies on the culture of video games and gaming. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. ISBN 978-0-7864-2832-8
- Seegert, Alf. (2009), "'Doing there' vs. 'being there': performing presence in interactive fiction", Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds 1: 1, pp. 23–37, doi:10.1386/jgvw.1.1.23/1
- Baf's Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive, a more user-friendly interface for the IF archive.
- A Brief History of Interactive Fiction, a timeline of events in interactive fiction history at the Brass Lantern website.
- IFReviews Organization, huge repository for text adventure game reviews written and rated by Interactive Fiction community players and members.
- The Interactive Fiction Archive, a large archive of free-to-download and play interactive fiction (random mirror).
- Interactive Fiction Database (IFDB), a community site where one can find personalized recommendations for IF games to play.
- Interactive Fiction: More Than Retro Fun, a beginner's introduction and setup guide to Interactive Fiction games and interpreters
- The Interactive Fiction Wiki, a MediaWiki wiki specific to Interactive Fiction.
- Something about Interactive Fiction - MobyGames examines the history (and future) of this gaming genre.
- SPAG, a quarterly e-zine discussing all things IF
- Text Adventures at the Open Directory Project
- Web-adventures, an online z-machine interpreter
- GET LAMP: The Text Adventure Documentary, a documentary about IF