Books on Text Adventures?


in the world of CRPGs the recent years brought some remarkable books, that cover the history and the games themself of the world of Computer Role-Playing-Games. I’m thinking of The CRPG Book: A Guide to Computer Role-Playing Games or Matt Barton’s Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-Playing Games .

Now I’m wondering if there are similar books, that touch the world of classical Text Adventures. Be it pure text (like the early Infocom titles) or games withs graphics (like Mask of the sun or Knight Orc).

So far I found and bought these titles:


  • Twilight Inventory: A Collection of Forgotten 8-Bit Adventure Games
    Gareth Pitchford (also available as a free download LINK)

  • A Guide to ZX Spectrum Adventure Games - 1982 - 1985
    Shaun McClure

  • The Spectrum of Adventure: A Brief History of Interactive Fiction on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum
    Thomas A. Christie

  • Hardcoregaming101 Presents: The Guide to Classic Graphic Adventures Taschenbuch
    Kurt Kalata

  • Twisty little Passages by Nick Montfort

Stuff on the Web

Does anybody know of any other titles that cover this subject?



Not really a book but since it is readable I’d like to throw the quite extensive interview I did with adventure legend Tim Gilberts of Gilsoft fame in the ring. Gilsoft were creators and publishers of the well-known adventure systems Quill and PAWs, and these systems spawned a massive load of both homebrew and commercial adventure games in the vibrant UK scene of the 1980s. It was the first thing I did with Tim and the beginning of an ongoing collaboration and friendship.

The Gilsoft Legacy - Tim Gilberts remembers the early days of home computing

The interview was published alongside with a previously not publicly available C64 version of The Quill that has a four word parser. It had been used to port the famous game Bugsy from ZX Spectrum to the Commodore 64.


Have you tried ?

Yep, of course I know the MOCAGH. What I’m looking for, is something like the two books onCRPGs I mentioned above. Some kind of coffee-table-book, containing 500 iconic text adventures, that I can pick up on a rainy Sunday afternoon, flip through, sigh a little bit and mumble “yeah, those were the days …”


More magaziney than bookey, perhaps (apparently ‘bookazine’ is a thing), but Mark Hardisty’s Classic Adventurer volumes are gorgeously produced and sound like the sort of thing you’re looking for:


No need to buy Twilight Inventory. You can download a PDF for free…


I bought it too! I demand a refund. (Just kidding - I much prefer to read in hard copy).


There are over 11,000 entries on IFDB. The first 500 highest rated yields interesting titles. The Chronological order, not really. Maybe someone is willing to download 500 entries and pack it into a book?

To be honest, if you want a history of text adventures then the blogs are the place to go.

Such as Jason Dyer’s All the Adventures…


Indeed! Jimmy Maher has some of his posts collected as ebooks, including one focused on Infocom, too - great content but not sure they’d look too nice when printed.

I thought there was going to be a Kickstarter for a book version of Aaron Reed’s 50 Years of Text Gaming project, but I haven’t seen any updates on that (maybe there will be one soon since it’ll be wrapping up in a couple weeks?)


Thank you so much for pointing Jimmy Maher ebooks! I have been enjoying his blogs, and never realized it was packaged as ebooks, both in epub and mobi format.

Needless to say, I downloaded the whole thing. Thanks again.


You want to check out Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction (The MIT Press): Montfort, Nick: 9780262633185: Books as well.

Aaron wrote about plans for the book in the “Intermission” post in July (they may have changed since, of course):

Those of you who joined after launch may have missed that I do plan to compile all these articles into a book once the series is finished. Originally I was planning to do a Kickstarter campaign in the fall, but I’m getting wary about the notion of finishing the rest of the articles while simultaneously crowdfunding, so it might have to wait until early next year. I’m very excited about the book and have plans to make it something really special. Stay tuned!
Plans are still in flux but I’m hoping to offer both a standard softcover and a more deluxe hardcover edition.


I’ve updated my first post and incorporated the suggestions from you guys. Thanks so far …


Very much a player’s guide, The Adventure Gamer’s Manual by Bob Redrup (alias The Mad Hatter) has some theory, plus lots of examples of puzzles, several of which are taken from text adventures for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron, but the book also covers Infocom, Magnetic Scrolls, Level 9, etc.:

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I guess because it predates the Digital Antiquarian blog, Jimmy Maher’s Let’s Tell a Story Together is not listed along with Maher’s DA ebooks.