Interactive fiction

Dear all, I am a mother of a 9 year old blind child, who enjoys playing interactive fiction games on his PDA, a Braille notetaker from human ware, in z format. But as I see, there aren’t many options available. Also, I thought there weren’t any educational games in this arena. I would like to hear on this topic and would be happy to receive your responses. Also, if there is a way that I can get a few developed, it would be great, I would be willin to bear the developmental cost. So please get back. Thanks and regards, Ruchi

hi Ruchi, I don’t know a lot about that Braille reader, but I think it can play any z-code game in .z5 or .z8 format. I’ve made a list of games that probably will work, I’ve sorted it by highest rated among players first. … Az-machine

On educational games: Emily Short has a page on teaching IF (and teaching with IF)

An interesting link from that page:

The author of that, Brendan Desilets, I know has done a good amount of teaching with IF. He has a neat website on that subject,

He has a LOT of resources there for you to go through.

I don’t want to throw too much at you, but have you also considered audio games to play on a computer? This is a good audio game website,

The audio game community plays a lot of text games as well.

There’s a lot out there. Just have fun with it, good luck :slight_smile:.

Ruchi, could you specify a little more exactly what you mean by ‘educational’? On its own the word could mean a pretty wide range of things, from ‘all IF suitable for children, because it’s good for reading comprehension / problem-solving / etc.’, to ‘IF that is crafted to deliver the material of a particular curriculum’. (Obviously there’s not a great deal of the latter.)

When I was only 2 years older than your child, I had a tremendous amount of fun playing two interactive fiction games in particular: Wearing the Claw by Paul O’Brian and Theatre by Brendon Wyber. Wearing the Claw is fantasy, and Theatre is horror. (I don’t think it’s a dark kind of horror, though it may be frightening to a child, I don’t know.)

Both of these can be downloaded in the common .z5 format, so they should work on the PDA.

Neither game is specifically educational, but playing them was a deeply insightful and memorable experience for me as a child. Wearing the Claw, in particular, was sort of a Harry Potter experience for me; everyone credits Harry Potter for getting many children to read, and many of my peers have a nostalgic fondness for Harry Potter. I never began reading Harry Potter until last year, but I understand why people love it so much, because that’s the way I feel about Wearing the Claw.

Anyways, I hope you find some good games for your child to play. :slight_smile:

Hi, Ruchi,

Here are some z-code stories you might want to consider. All are available at the Interactive Fiction Archive (

Winter Wonderland by Laura Knauth
A Brear’s Night Out by David Dyte
Mother Loose by Irene Callaci
The Magic Toyshop by Gareth Rees
Dragon Adventure by William Stott

There’s a longer, annotated list of IF for young people at:

Please let me know if I can be of any further help.

Brendan Desilets

Hi, Again, Ruchi,

Here’s one more thought on your options for IF.

I don’t really know anything about the device that your son is using, but a quick Web search suggests that Braille Notetaker devices run an operating system called Windows CE. It’s possible to run a number of interactive fiction interpreters on this operating system. Some of these interpreters might enable your son to use IF stories that are in formats other than z-code. The formats called TADS and Glulx both offer some outstanding works of interactive fiction. You can find more information about interpreters at
Windows CE is not listed on this page, but its close cousin, Pocket PC, is.

Also, if your son’s device can access the Web, you may be able to used Web-enabled versions of some TADS and Glulx stories. The IF Database, at, has some good options for running lots of stories via the Web.

Have a great day.

Brendan Desilets

I ran through The Magic Toyshop relying heavily on a walkthrough. I got the feeling that it makes much more sense if you’ve already played Trinity and Curses - I’ve only played Curses.

Oh, and I think The Magic Toyshop has some puzzles that rely on text graphics.

Thanks all… Sorry for coming back so late on the forum…
What I am actually looking for now is any “interactive fiction” for kids that can also be played on a windows machine. It would be nicer if the games has no video, which means we rely only ob the text to say what it wants to. Also, if there is a list for games for kids it would help. He plays most of those suggested.

Yo may want to take a look at these IFDB polls.

Hope this helps.

Since you are now interested in playing IF games on a Windows machine, you will no longer be limited to those compiled in the Z-code format. Therefore, I can recommend another children’s fantasy, The Lost Islands of Alabaz by Michael Gentry. Unless you plan on using the browser-based interpreter, you will have to download and install an interpreter such as Glulxe.

I hope he likes them! :slight_smile:

If you want to play IF on Windows, my suggestion would be to download an interpreter like Gargoyle, which can play IF in most story file formats. As for game recommendations, the polls climbingstars linked to were a pretty good start, and I’d also like to recommend Six, although that does rely on pictures and sound (the pictures aren’t necessary to play, the sound might be, it’s been a while since I played it). Other good games to play would be Legend of the Missing Hat and Home Sweetie-Bot Home (note that Home Sweetie-Bot Home is a browser game).