Advice for running Inform games seems very outdated

I’ve been looking around at the ways newcomers might be advised to play Z-code and Glulx files. Unfortunately, everything I can find seems to be many years out of date.

The IF Comp Player’s Guide page links to a Web Archive version of an Inform 7 page, which seems very out of date and has broken links.

IFDB uses a “Brass Lantern” link, which also seems maybe 10 years old and incomplete.

I guess I was hoping there was a reasonably up-to-date and newcomer-friendly “how to get started” page somewhere, but it doesn’t seem to exist.

I probably don’t know enough about the different apps to make something myself, but it seems like it shouldn’t be terribly hard.

Am I missing something?


Well, posting here seems like a good idea to start with! :smiley:

Hmmm. Not that I have occasion to recommend much IF, but if I did, I’d probably suggest that first they tried Parchment, which runs in the web browser, and so there’s no need for a separate interpreter download. The list of games on that page seemed fairly comprehensive, if a little old.

Of course, some people have lousy net connections, have to pay by the byte, or simply prefer to run things locally. I guess in that case I’d recommend Gargoyle which was updated just this month. It runs quite a few formats:Agility, Alan 2 and 3, Frotz (glk port), Glulxe, Hugo, Level 9, Magnetic Scrolls, Scare, Tads 2 and 3. Although it doesn’t explicitly say so, if I understand correctly, anything that runs Glulxe will also run z-code.

I just fired up my copy of Gargoyle (2011.1b-1) and checked: it definitely runs .z5 files. I also think this terp’s by far the nicest display to look at.

Only if someone wanted to run a particular game which both Parchment and Gargoyle won’t run (perhaps because of art resources, or just computers being their usual, obstinate selves), would I start thinking about other platform-specific interpreters.

Thoughts, everyone?

EDIT: Gargoyle link updated (thanks @zarf), and also discovered that the parchment page 404s :blush:
EDIT2: But the links to parchment from the IFDB work. Perhaps a page with a list of newcomer-friendly games could use that mechanism?


Usually true, but not absolutely universal.

In the case of Gargoyle, when it says “Frotz”, it’s referring to a Z-code interpreter.

Your Gargoyle link is out of date. Use:

I also support Lectrote:


Would maintaining this kind of guidance (for the various IF file formats) be an appropriate project for the IFTF?

Well, the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation are already maintaining the IF-archive, so it seems logical. But I guess I was thinking of this more as a call for volunteer(s) to update or rewrite our current resources.

Talking of which, I’ve tried to create an account at ifwiki, but I’m defeated by the anti-bot question: “what is the other magic word?” I’ve tried please, thankyou, abracadabra and xyzzy but this is obviously a cultural reference I don’t get. Can anyone enlighten me? (or, better yet, update ifwiki to use the photographic Captcha system I’ve seen elsewhere?)

Not speaking for the organization, but if IFTF were to take this on, the first thing we’d do would be to post here and on other forums asking for volunteers. :)

We could also put you in contact with Sargent, if he’s not already reading this thread, to get permission to update the site.

The other magic word is “plugh”.

I will try to make a IFWiki page. It will be incomplete, but (hopefully) simple.

I made a simple and incomplete IFWiki page. If anyone else can help fill in the gaps, that would be great.

My goal is to keep it short, avoid jargon, and minimize the clicks required. Also just to cover the most common cases, instead of covering everything.

This is in contrast to this other page, which I find overwhelming, and is surely more difficult to keep up-to-date.


Well, I’d be happy to help. Heading to Ifwiki now. Thanks, as always, for the enlightenment @zarf!

Edit: Added a little bit to the page @dibianca made, but I’m looking around to find ways of linking to that page – no point in it existing otherwise – but I’m having trouble finding my way around. The main page just seems to be an advert for IFcomp rather than a “Welcome in - what do you want to know about?”

It seems, frankly, a bit of a bloody cheek for me to start editing the main page on the basis of a whole ten minutes experience.

Edit 2: The main page is protected - and a good thing too, looking at the problems they’ve had with vandals and bots. For now, I’ve added a note to the “Talk” page that’s linked to the main (home) page, and I’ll wait and see if anyone gets back to me.


IMO, in 2019, it’s better to recommend Lectrote over Gargoyle. Even the 2019.1 version of Gargoyle for Mac doesn’t do the right thing on retina display screens, and its “preferences” feature launches a text editor to edit garglk.ini.

Lectrote is much easier for newbies to use, and at least historically is kept up to date better than Gargoyle. It has direct download links for Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you’re going for the “simplest option,” it has to be that.

A related approach would be to add a “simple option” section to the top of the page, saying “just download Lectrote.”


Okay, I’ve added a recommendation for Lectrote to the IFWIKI page. Thanks for the explanation Dan!

I tried to add a link to the Fabularium app, but “” appears to be blocked. Is there a way around that?

Now it should work; please try again.

Blocked URLs are at the MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist page. I’ve just removed from them. I think it probably won’t cause any spam (because the contents of that page are very old now), but if it does, we’ll have to add back to that page and use MediaWiki:Spam-whitelist.

Is iOS Frotz a good option?

Yes, that is the best option for iOS. (Note that the name is misleading. I said above that “Frotz” is a Z-code interpreter, but “iOS Frotz” has evolved into a multi-platform interpreter: Z-code, Glulx, and TADS.)

Do you mean the app “Frotz?” If yes, can anyone please tell me if I can add to the list of games it has? It seems that the list is fixed to a choice (excellent though) of about 10-15 games.

The story list has a “browse IFDB” button. If you select a game file via that browsing, it is downloaded and added to the list.

Also if you download a compatible game file via the Safari iOS browser then open it in Frotz it will add it to the game list. So no need even to use the IFDB interface to add games.

Oops! Indeed! That’s awesome! Thanks @zarf and @vivdunstan!

Just curious, when people play interactive fiction on their phones, do they carry pencil and paper to map the story world? :smile:

Edit: actually, I’ll start a new thread with this question.


I am reading! Though sporadically.

I’d be glad to update the old BL page if someone’s willing to pull together an updated article with links.