Historically accurate-ish American history IFs?

Hi all,

I’ve mostly lurked on these forums – I asked a question awhile ago about using inform as the basis of an adventure game for iOS (and you all were great and super helpful).

I have a simpler question this time. I got so enthusiastic about Inform when we were doing those prototype explorations that I started building a game with a middle school history teacher (I’m in CA, he’s in NJ).

I think that what we’ve built is the only IF about the American War for Independence (aka Revolution). It’s as accurate as I could make it – the world is Boston 1774, the characters are fictional (except Samuel Adams and Jane Franklin Mecom) but based on people who would have lived at the time. All the objects are accurate as far as I can make them. The game has a time travel fiction and the player starts in the future.

I would love to know if there are other IFs about this time period in America. I’d be happy to link out to them from our little “making of” area that the kids “win” access to when they complete a mission. I’m surprised in general that I did not find more historical IFs.


I’ve not heard of Revolutionary War IF specifically. But here’s a link to games about history (or with history in its title). I’d be interested to check out your game.


The 800-pound gorilla of historical IF is 1893: A World’s Fair Mystery. Also significant is LASH, which has a science fiction frame-story but deals centrally with US slavery. Lost New York is a heavily local-history-focused piece, though I haven’t ever got very far in it myself. The experimental 18 Cadence is a 20th-century social-history piece.

1981 also depicts an episode from US history: John Hinckley’s attempted assassination of Reagan.

Fusillade includes some vignettes from US history. (I don’t remember all of them; it’s been a while.)

There was someone around here a few years ago talking about doing a big Colonial Williamsburg project, but I don’t know if anything ever came of that.

The Colonial Williamsburg project did get Kickstarter funding:

kickstarter.com/projects/17 … =discovery

…and has had radio silence since October of 2013, alas. (Which doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing is going on with it, but it’s not promising.)

Ah, yes, and Iain Merrick’s classic Speed-IF Screw the Boston Tea Party:

…so, y’know, not entirely historically accurate. (In this period exploding babies would only have been available from farriers, and anyone selling them in a general-goods store would have been stoned as a witch.)

There’s the 1917 game “Opening Night” by David Batterham, which placed 7th in the 2008 IFComp.

I also feel compelled to mention that LASH, while a great game, might not be suitable to unleash upon some middle-school students.

On the subject of historically-minded games that are perhaps not scrupulously detail-perfect, there’s Citizens on the Mountaintop, a satire on the Citizens United decision with a wide-ranging sweep through history in which, if I remember, at one point you play as Clarence Thomas sliding down a bunch of papers in the National Archives. Too tendentious anyway to be suitable for your purposes but I thought I’d plug it.

I have several pieces of vaporware WIPs within Textfyre. One is based on Mesopotamia, one is based on the Boston Tea Party, and the one I’m continually working on is about Mesoamerica.

Historical IF is the basis for IF in education in my mind.

David C.

You might be interested in Jeremiah McCall’s website about using games for history education: gamingthepast.net/simulation-design/inform-7/