Text Adventure Games

ZORK I I started off playing Zork on my Apple ][, long long ago. Moved on to Infidel (first game I managed to complete) and Enchanter. I became totally addicted to text adventure games (although I played a lot of Wizardry too), specifically the Infocom games with their wonderful parser (compared to, say, Scott Adams, which was my introduction to Colossal Cave, sort of).

INFOCOM developed a z-code interpreter, and distributed all their games in z-code format. The benefit is that only the z-code interpreter had to be ported to a new machine, and all the z-code games would immediately be available for that machine. As such, Infocom games ran on just about every machine of the time.

Of course, a lot of people, myself included, tried to reverse-engineer the z-code interpreter. I managed to break the copy protection (In Apple terms, the game was not very hard to crack), and I disassembled parts of the interpreter, but that's about as far as I got. Eric Smith, on the other hand, did the job properly.

>LTOI Nowadays, you can get a z-code interpreter like Frotz and download new z-code games to get an idea of what it's all about.

To get the true INFOCOM experience, however, you need to find the original games. INFOCOM packaged all kinds of interesting stuff ("feelies") with their games... but those days are gone, I'm afraid.

About 10 years ago Activision re-released most of the games in two volumes, the "Lost Treasures of Infocom". I managed to snag volume 1 at the time, it doesn't have the feelies but it does have maps and clues. You can still find these on the net and on eBay.

Some of the games are also available for download. Try searching the Abandonware ring for Zork, Hitchiker's Guide, Leather Goddesses of Phobos, Enchanter, or Lurking Horror.


Some Infocom games can't easily be played without the documentation. This is a simple anti-piracy measure. So if you happen to be playing a documentation-less Infocom game...


Adult Interactive Fiction

Well, I guess it had to happen. From the rec.arts.adult-fiction newsgroup :

Subject: Adult Interactive Fiction
From: A Ninny 
Newsgroups: rec.arts.int-fiction,rec.games.int-fiction

Dear IF Community:

I am the Editor of a new newsletter serving the Adult Interactive 
Fiction (AIF) community.  The newsletter’s focus is to deliver news, 
game reviews, and authorship guides to anyone interested in playing and 
writing AIF.  AIF, for those of you unfamiliar, is IF with (usually) 
explicit sexual descriptions and situations.  In other words: IF porn. 
We are certainly under no illusions that AIF will appeal to everyone and 
are not trying to foist our stuff on anyone who’s not interested (a 
reason we usually keep our games and discussions off the main IF 
Archives and message boards).

We are also under no illusions about AIF’s poor reputation in the 
greater IF community.  AIF games are usually regarded as being written 
and coded poorly and to have paper-thin characters and stories.  The 
reputation is, unfortunately, not wholly inaccurate.  There are quite a 
few games in our roster that can be described this way.  Wrapped up with 
the poor reputation of AIF is the fact that many AIF games are developed 
using ADRIFT – a system that has its own reputation problems – but that 
is a topic for another forum.

There are, however, AIF games (even ADRIFT AIF games) that are really 
quite great.  More than a handful of AIF authors can not only write a 
sentence, they can develop interesting settings, create deep characters, 
design relevant and tricky puzzles, and interweave the porn into the 
narrative so it doesn’t feel tacked on.  Other authors simply write 
great sex and can make at least halfway decent IF to go with it.  In 
other words, there’s some quality work going on.

So why this letter?  Well, we figure there are quite a few IF players 
who already play AIF.  Most people don’t like to admit they look at 
porn, but they do it anyway – which could explain why porn sites make 
better profits than anyone else on the Internet but (of course) nobody I 
know spends money on Internet porn.  Others of you may simply be curious 
about AIF but don’t really know where to start.  Either way, the AIF 
community is reaching out to you: we’re looking for more players, more 
game authors, and more people to participate in our discussions.

Please start by looking over our newsletter.  It has five issues 
released so far, and in those there have been three instructional 
articles addressed at authors related to testing and one instructional 
article aimed at beta-testers (demonstrating our commitment to getting 
our authors to make games that actually work), numerous game reviews 
(demonstrating that even porndogs can discern good games from bad), 
interviews with respected authors, and other related content.  It also 
has an issue dedicated to the recently-completed AIF awards.

For those of you interested in just jumping right into some games, I 
highly recommend:
“Dexter Dixon:  In Search of the Prussian Pussy” by A. Bomire, which is 
a character-driven noir AIF written in TADS;
“The Backlot”, TADS, also by A. Bomire, a concept- and puzzle-oriented 
game in which all IF is created in Hollywood-like studios;
“Sam Shooter III: Come in Sixty Seconds” and “Sam Shooter IV: Children 
of the Damned” by One-Eyed Jack, both TADS, which are all-time favorites 
of the AIF community, largely because they are literally laugh-out-loud 
“Ideal Pacific Coast University” by NewKid, TADS, is a huge 
recently-released game that has it all: great characters, puzzles, story 
and porn;
“Gamma Gals” by Chris Cole, ADRIFT, is a lightweight romp that is 
another favorite of AIF players for its terrific sex;
“British Fox and the Celebrity Abductions” by Lucilla Frost, ADRIFT and 
(ported to) TADS, has a female PC and lots of tough puzzles and great 
writing, but (warning) also has difficult rape scenes;
Of course, there’s the all-time classic “Moist” by Scarlet Herring – 
that game has hooked many of our current AIF fans.

The newsletter can be found at http://newsletter.aifcommunity.org.
All known AIF games are indexed on http://www.geocities.com/sissyninny.
The web site for the 2004 Adult Interactive Fiction Awards is located at 

We welcome your comments, flames, compliments, etc., and thanks.


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