Typeface: 2012 Interactive Fiction Competition

None of the games in this post are about shooting people, even though it contains links to many games that you can play right now. One of them is about making the final payment on your mortgage, an event that becomes a tragicomic fiasco. Another is the exploration of a life through study of a last will and testament. How about picking through a claustrophobic dystopia that might feel disturbingly close to your own midnight thoughts? Getting lost in a world made of puns? No? None of that appeals? Have a zombie then. Be a zombie, a hungry zombie in a world that has a severe brain shortage. Aren’t games imaginative and great? These are all entries in the 2012 Interactive Fiction competition. More details below.

Interactive fiction has become a fascinating art, its authors so often teasing the limits of the form and turning it back on itself, so that it becomes a series of questions. What are the possibilities of a given situation, the text often asks, offering a parser-middleman with its own take on the matter. How brilliant is it to not know what you’re carrying until you press ‘i’ to check? How often that is made into a plot point or a gag by the witty creators of these small works of massive intelligence.

The ones detailed above, in order, are Murphy’s Law by Scott Hammack, Living Will by Mark Marino, howling dogs by Porpentine, In a Manor of Speaking by Hulk Handsome and A Killer Headache, by Mike Ciul.

There are loads more games and I don’t know if I’ve picked the best. I went for titles that stood out, tried about ten and put my favourites here. I didn’t even notice that one was from Porpentine, who writes elegant prose-thoughts about wonderful free games every week for us. Nepotism!

What have I missed? More great stuff I bet.


  1. rawrty says:

    It is pitch black. You are likely to enjoy yourself and the many wonderful games to behold.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Man, that year went really quickly.

  3. brkl says:

    I’ll play IF when someone does make one about shooting people.

    • karthink says:

      Someone has!

      It’s called Gun Mute. It’s awesome, try it.

      • Porpentine says:

        gun mute is so good–just a really fresh, fun game–post-apocalyptic cowboy romance shooter-puzzler, if i had to coin a genre…which i don’t….but i WILL

        • Baf says:

          I’ve seen the term “combat puzzler” used to describe Gun Mute and the few other games built along similar lines (such as Slap That Fish and Attack of the Yeti Robot Zombies). There really aren’t enough of them to be a genre though.

    • The Random One says:

      Someone did make a text-based shooter for the last 7dFPS jam thing. I think it’s called Modern Combat or something.

      There was also that one really depressing game in which you’re a reluctant soldier in a war that is maybe also hell, but you only shoot like one guy in it and then you vomit.

      EDIT: Hey here is the one from 7dFPS: link to 7dfps.org I have no idea what the other one is though, and Gun Mute is probably better anyway. Yeah.

  4. Hunchback says:

    “Getting lost in a world made of puns?”
    They’ve made a game about RPS?

  5. Stense says:

    They look fun, I’ll enjoy checking them out.

    Apologies for the shameless plug, but I’ve done an interactive, choose your own death, adventure. Gloucester Nights

  6. Squishpoke says:

    I’m playing Howling Dogs.

    What the hell is going on?

  7. King in Winter says:

    Inform 7.

    Learn it, love it.

  8. spindaden says:

    Get ye flask.

  9. Pliqu3011 says: