IF suggestions for a newbie

Hi all!
I am new to IF (I just took a seminar on it!) but I’ve gotten really into the whole concept of interactive fiction and games. Do you have any suggestions for a newbie like me?


Hello and welcome!

Do you already how to play IF? You know, commands like I, L, N?
If not there are the people who maintain TALP.
If you do know it already I would recommend “Lost pig” or maybe something easy by Infocom (maybe Wishbringer?)

Here are links for beginners:


What IF were you introduced to? The same term can mean slightly different things to different people, but all of those interpretations are welcome here.

Have you played:
1-Free twine games like Howling Dogs or Birdland?
2-Parser games where you type like Zork or Photopia?
3-Commercial illustrated games like Fallen London or 80 Days?
4-Omnibus apps with fanmade content like Choices or Episode?
5-Visual Novels?
6-Commercial text-only games like Choice of Games?

All of those are IF and all are welcome here, but it could be easier to point you to something you like if we know which category you prefer! (and could be something not even on here)


There’s no better place to start than the IFDB Top 100 list:

These are the best rated games of multiple types and the list is periodically updated so there are classics and new stuff creeps up occasionally.

Of course as you find what you like, you’ll want to dig deeper as some of the more obscure stuff is also fascinating in different ways.


If you are interested in parser IF (the kind where you type commands), you might want to start with a game that has a built-in tutorial, like The Blue Lettuce or The Dreamhold.

For a choice game, there’s not much of a learning curve for players, so you could look for something at IFDB that interests you. Here’s one that I think is good: Will Not Let Me Go - Details (ifdb.org)


You are right, sorry for being so vague! I have played some free twine games and omnibus apps (both choices and episode). I would be interested in parser games as I haven’t tried that yet, as well as visual novels.


If you want to try parser IF, I suggest using this handy postcard while you are playing. It lists standard parser commands to try: How to Play Interactive Fiction – The People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction


It sounds like people have already given really good recommendations in this thread. Another fun thing can be browsing past years’ results for the Interactive Fiction Competition:

(you can navigate different years using the bar at the bottom). The highest games from each year are a lot of fun, and you can also just browse through to see what looks cool.


I’d recommend finding a reviewer whose tastes align with yours and seeing some of their favorites, it can help a lot. Mathbrush has some great recommended lists.

I have a couple recommendations myself. I was thinking of games that don’t have implementation issues so they aren’t frustrating to play, aren’t super specific in tone or gimmicks to avoid misrepresenting the formats, and have interesting enough stories and writing to keep you invested.

For parser:

  • Never Gives Up Her Dead: a recent, giant parser puzzlefest that takes extra care to make everything fair and streamlined. Great story, too.
  • Honk!: a high-ranking IFComp parser game with plenty of comedic set pieces and freedom for how to approach it.
  • Lazy Wizard’s Guide: a charming and low-stakes puzzler with an evolving magic system. This one uses a combination choice/parser hybrid to help you get used to both styles.

For choice:

  • Top Floor Please: a simple adventure with some multimedia and visual effects, a nice showcase of what Twine can do that doesn’t branch too far from the norm.
  • Bee: an introduction to nonlinear choice games. The story’s kind of heavy and there are no puzzles, and the writing is very good.
  • Lady Thalia 1: pull off heists as a classy thief. Plenty of ways to approach it and it makes you think before each choice. The series also has more games if you like this one.

Did you do the same seminar as @Sxanthis?

Here are my suggestions (parser).

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