IF suggestion

Hello everyone! I just took a seminar on interactive fiction and games, and I started enjoying them. In the seminars, we had the parser-based IF Zork. Can you suggest any similar parser-based IF for a beginner like me? Also, do you know any good choice-based interactive fiction and games?


I can only answer about parser games. Maybe Zork II and Wishbringer? Because they both are from Infocom. And something from Scott Adams?

ARGH, edit: Welcome here of course.


AFAIK, Zork has nothing for the beginners, unless they want to start with one of the most unforgiving games ever.

So I shall ask: what is it you are looking for? The same kind of environment (simple fantasy); the same kind of gameplay (a treasure hunt, basically); or the same kind of long-playing experience?

I would consider Wishbringer a nice answer for all of those, but I dunno. :man_shrugging:


I agree with Wishbringer. Moonmist is also a good mystery for beginners. Zork I isn’t bad but II and III are pretty unforgiving (and III is boring, IMO). I would also suggest the granddaddy, Colossal Cave, but the parser is pretty dated. Infidel was a good game as well.


For the classic IF games, I found Wishbringer and Planetfall pretty approachable. If you’re interested in approaching IF in a more historical way, add ADVENT to your list too.

As for more modern IF, I think the parser games by Chandler Groover made me a fan of interactive fiction. Eat Me is an easy recommendation for example. And there’s of course the beloved 9:05.

I’ve also written a list for friends who are into Japanese visual novels, which may be of use to you. Most of the games on there are parser games.


If we’re talking Infocom, I’m gonna throw a random deep cut and say Hollywood Hijinx which is a very straightforward treasure hunt in one house with lots of object manipulation and exploration to be done. It’s complicated, but it will definitely show what parser is capable of without the sprawl of some of their better-known games. Also, Leather Goddesses of Phobos which is racy (you can turn it down to tame mode) but has some of the more hilariously absurd and fun puzzles.


What was the extent of your seminar experience with Zork (or Zork I, if that’s the case)? If you beat it (or could have beaten it) yourself, then you are up for a decent challenge (and prepared for things like death and unwinnable games). I’d personally recommend Enchanter over Wishbringer from a mechanical standpoint, as the core gameplay loop of finding and casting spells is very satisfying. It is set in the same universe as Zork, albeit in a different time and place. That’s nothing against Wishbringer; which is very worthwhile.

For a more modern parser game, I suggest The Impossible Bottle.

So far as choice games that haven’t been mentioned:

I love Emily Short’s Bee, which uses a storylet structure that I really enjoyed.

good luck on your journey!


My first foray into IF was Twin Kingdom Valley (1983), a work which seems to have been mostly forgotten. It is fantasy parser fiction, it is challenging and punishing by modern IF standards, and yes, it includes a maze. In short it is like Zork, albeit with hostile NPCs that move in real time and a more coherent setting.

As for choice fiction, Howling Dogs is one of my favorite works of fiction period, and I say that as someone for whom choice fiction is a tough sell. Do yourself a favor, and check it out.


Here are my suggestions (parser).

See the Getting Started Playing IF section in our forums for more, both parser and choice.

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