Playing IF on mobile phones?


I’m wondering if it’s possible to play interactive fiction on modern mobile phones. If so, what does one need to get things started? I assume a special interpreter is required and needs to be installed on the phone, right?

Any further information, hints, tips, and links will be most appreciated!

Thanks, best regards!


I don’t know, but that would be interesting. I think cell phone games are written in some mobile version of Java. It might be possible to have a runner/interpreter that’s able to download the actual game content/file over the web.

If it has been done - and if it’s freely available - the IF Archive would probably be the place to look ( I’ve never heard of an IF interpreter for cell phones, but it’s probably possible.

It depends on your phone. If you have an iPhone, check the App Store for “Frotz”, which will play z-code/z-machine games. iPhone Frotz is particularly good since it comes with some good games and you can download more directly on it. If you have a Palm based phone (mostly the Treos), I like CellarDoor, but getting games onto it is a little bit of work. Other phones, I don’t know.

for google android based phone (like htc dream), there is twisty :

Frotz is excellent, i use it on a regular basis on my iPhone. I think one of it’s main advantages is that it hooks up to the IF Archive so you have access to a huge library. I’m currently playing violet on it which you should definitely try if you haven’t already.

I also really like using Frotz on the iPhone. I really wish I had a list of games that play well on it - there are quite a few where it’s really only enjoyable if you sit down and can draw a map and such.

Good cell phone games might be found by perusing one of these IFDB lists:

One Room Non-Escape Games

No Map necessary

Enjoy! :slight_smile:

Awesome idea, thanks.

There are/were at least three different interpreters available for Windows Mobile based PocketPCs and smartphones, but I think all of the projects are long dead and abandoned: PocketFrotz, FrotzCE, and ZipCE.

pocketzax is pretty recent (well, 1 year only for the latest release)
But it doesn’t support accented letters. … etzax.html

Best if you have a QWERTY phone, but works on others: ZaxMidlet. Recently fixed so the font is no longer horrible, it’s the only J2ME 'terp I’m aware of that can actually load games from the phone.

I’m now a happy cell phone IF player too. Specially delightful on the bus… :slight_smile:

For now, just using Zippy for Motorola Milestone 2 Android. Although it comes with a sliding tiny physical keyboard, I’m now very fond of the Swype touchscreen text input method. amazing!

Parchment works too, but CSS for mobile should be fixed a bit – perhaps slightly larger spacing in the borders…

Hope Tads and Glulx follow along. I wonder about Inform 7 too: it seems most people like it more to write than to play IF! Writing IF on the go, can you imagine it?

Really, a little time with current generation mobile hardware is enough to convince anyone that desktops will be pretty much dead among the general, mostly consuming populace in the very near future. Only software developers and hard typing jobs will actually require desktop workstations. and die-hard PC gamers who don’t like fixed-hardware consoles.

I’ve got something cooking for TADS :slight_smile:

That is excellent news!

Twisty is an encouraging start, but the version in the Android Market is not ready for prime time … In the end I had to uninstall it and go back to playing on my DS Lite. There’s apparently a second version of Twisty in development, but my phone doesn’t allow side-loading so I can’t offer any insights on it :frowning:

that’s great! Let me know when you need any testing…

hope it gets swype virtual keyboard input method, cause Twisty itself hasn’t got.

Having just, just purchased a Nokia C3 for the sole purpose of having an easier time with ZaxMidlet (QWERTY keyboard), and also of getting a more powerful phone that might open the door to other means of mobile IF, I just have a question that will seem extremely silly but which I simply have to ask:

Would it be impossible for a phone, using its browser capabilities, to run a Quixe game? Or a simple HTML page loading ZZMP as an applet? (while we’re talking about ZMPP, does anyone know whether it’s still trying to get GLulx games to work? And do z6 games work already? I couldn’t get Beyond Zork or Zork Zero to run… on my computer, naturally)

On the subject of the applet and the upcoming TADS for Android, there’s always Jetty. Would that work on a fairly capable phone, being an applet? It has to be tweaked, of course - no save game capabilities…

Right now it doesn’t even support an on-screen, virtual keyboard; it only works on devices that have a real keyboard (like those you can slide open to the side of the device).

I’ll take a look at Swype when I get the chance. But overall, there’s much work to be done before thinking about releasing a beta or anything.

If it has JavaScript, sure. I think people reported it works on iPhones and iPads, at least.

O-k… so I’m thinking of when I compiled Aotearoa with Quixe (first non-graphical glulx game I could get my hands on), and got it to run on my PC’s Firefox, but not on my phone - on my phone I got the error “Out of Memory” (since I have 50Mbs free of phone memory and over about 1Gb free in memory card, I didn’t really believe the wording). Since I can’t see Quixe/Aotearoa using 50Mbs of free space, I assumed that Quixe simply wouldn’t work on my phone. But maybe it’s worth investigating further, you think?

BTW, it’s not a smartphone; not an iAnything; not Symbian, not Android. It’s just a phone with J2ME and browser capabilities. On the other hand, it is a bloody brand new model, capable of quite a few neat tricks.

Maybe I’ll try it with some other Glulx game. It’s just so much work, Quixing a game.