IFDB Spelunking - Report

I really liked your review of Triune. Much attention to the good stuff, which makes me want to play it. Also a heads-up for the lesser stuff, so I know what to expect.

Very cool project.


Thanks all! I still have to write an IFDB review of Time Quest, but will definitely do so.

Eriorg, yes, I was definitely surprised at enjoying the Spectrum games as much as I did. WIthout the spelunking challenge, I would probably have never even tried them. (In a different way, the same is true for Triune.) One of the things I’ve learned during this expedition is how to play and enjoy Quill/Spectrum games, and that’s really nice.

I’m also indeed planning to play more Papillon games… but I have to add that there is a long list of IF that I’m still planning to play! So no guarantees. Do we know who Papillon is and whether they are still in any way involved in IF? Or whether they can be contacted?


I seem to remember you asked around on the forum about playing Spectrum games. How did you do it eventually? Emulator, multi-purpose interpreter, online play?

There are games you can play right on The Internet Archive website through an emulator but they are really slow. (I know I’m spoiled. They’re probably lightning speed compared to the real thing, but still…)

An emulator (such as Fuse) is your best bet because of stability and the option to make instant snapshots of your progress but if you’re looking to play online then many Spectrum games already have a QAOP (online emulator, Qaop – ZX Spectrum emulator ) link on their Spectrum Computing pages https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/ The online emulator doesn’t provide the smoothest experience but it is pretty cool.

ZX Spectrum games are my area of interest so I’m always very happy to help out anyone who is looking for assistance with them.

This is a list of Spectrum emulators… https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/tools.php


Now look what you’ve done! You’ve just opened up a whole new rabbit hole for me to fall into!


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Interestingly, the list IFDB generated for me actually includes a game called IFDB Spelunking.


Yeah, I think that’s what inspired @VictorGijsbers. Funny that you actually got it by random!

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I used the JSSpeccy link over at Spectrum Computing to play the games online. (The other online emulator, QAOP, didn’t work for me – it throws network errors.) Typing is a bit slow, but this only bothered me when I was typing the same letter twice in a row. With Celtic Carnage I could save and load using ‘ramsave’ and ‘ramload’. With Time Quest I didn’t manage to save and load (“load” gave me a fatal error), but it wasn’t too bad for that particular game. Possibly this works better with a local emulator.

Nice! That’s the game that inspired me, and it’s actually pretty fun. Possibly even more so in the context of a spelunking expedition! Lionkiller was one of the favourite 2019 games of Emily Short. Haven’t played it myself. I don’t think I’ve played any of the others, though Stephen Granade is a very talented author so that one might be fun.


The review for Time Quest is up!


Papillon had some other popular IF (including one of the first erotic entries in IFcomp, Desert Heat, which was also one of the first choice games, albeit with a parser menu system).

She now goes by Hanako Games and is apparently fairly famous in the indie visual novel scene:


I just spent at least fifteen minutes looking through the Spectrum Computing website and I couldn’t find a JSSpeccy link for the life of me. I was just contemplating asking where this bloody link was here, thereby risking looking the fool for missing an enormous purple “Play Online!” button in the middle of my screen when my eye dropped onto a teeny-tiny link.

Anyone else interested in the JSSpeccy or QAOP online emulator links on the Spectrum Computing site: They’re on the [game you want to play]'s webpage under “Main File Downloads” in a second column from the left. (With the little joystick next to them.)


Next on my list is 9/21: My Story by either “Kronosaurus, Yersinasaurus” or Kronosaurus and Yersinasaurus. They have two games on IFDB, one of them as if they’re one author, one of them as if there’s two of them. Their other game gives an indication of having been written only by someone called Kronosaurus. There is also an indication of there being just one author here.

Unfortunately, this game no longer exists at the linked website. It’s also not on the IF Archive; at least I haven’t found it. As an intrepid spelunker, I do want to do that little extra to find out if it’s still available… so in case anyone here knows anything about either the game or the author, please let me know!

Edit: Possibly I’ve found the author on reddit; I’ll be waiting to see if they reply to me!


I’m pleased to report that I managed to contact Kronosaurus and have been given a copy of 9/21: My Story (for my personal perusal only – it’s a work they made when young and don’t want out in the open any longer). I’ve also managed to get an Atari game, an MS-DOS game and a Spectrum emulator running. Spelunking takes one to unexpected places!


You’re really thorough in your spelunking. I already skipped two entries, because I can’t find any files to download(I tried IF Archive and textadventures.co.uk). One of these clearly wasn’t a game, but a copy of traditional fiction converted to Quest. I also decided to skip commercial games for now. Other than that, I finished third game last evening and the next one to play is the game that started it all - IFDB Spelunking.


Ok, that’s it.

I get this feeling a lot in the second hand bookstore I go about once a week. I’ll notice a a title or an author name and don’t buy the book. In the weeks after that, it feels like that particular book is growing on me until I finally take it with me. 9 chances out of ten it’s a great find.
And now Basilica de Sangre shows up on your Random List.
I’ve been feeling this way for a while now about that game. Every time I notice the title or the author’s name it gets more tempting.

So I’ll go download it now and put it next on my list.

Good luck in the caves!


There’s no right or wrong way to spelunk, of course! If one is having fun and trying some games one wouldn’t otherwise try, I’d call it a success. :slight_smile:

I’ve played an reviewed 9/21: My Story, which I actually found surprisingly moving. I don’t think I would have appreciated it nearly as much if I hadn’t had to contact the author and they had explained the context of the game to me; so there’s some unexpected benefits here.

Now, to pick all of your brains, one of my games is this: [x]. This has every appearance of not being a real game… except that it has three ratings?! Does anyone have any ideas about this?

Wait a second… this page appears to have been vandalized. When I check the history, it turns out that the page was totally different. In fact, it seems that there are three games, all of them by Malaika Shard, which were changed to “[x]” on September 6, 2020. That’s something I hadn’t seen before – attempts to erase games from the IFDB by changing the page into a blank slate!

Is there a way to revert to a previous version of a page, on IFDB?

Seems more likely that this was the author removing any trace of their game, rather than an act of vandalisation.

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Maybe you are right. Delving a little more deeply into the history of these pages, it seems that they were ‘defaced’ by the same account that originally created these pages. Could very well be the author, though it’s not conclusive proof. Though if so it’s pretty ineffective: the older versions of the pages are still findable, and the games themselves still seem to be hosted on the IF Archive.

I have no moral problem with playing the game that was given to me by the random list, since it’s still on the archive. But I do wonder what to do with the IFDB pages. Ask the admins to restore them? Assume that it was the author who tried to remove them and ask for them to be removed? Do absolutely nothing? Write a review, or not write a review? (Thoughts appreciated.)

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It’s a curious case. I don’t think the committee has any precedent for what to do here. We can try to contact the author, of course, and likely there will be some discussion.

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