Released: You Are Standing (the 50 Years of Text Games bonus game)

I’m happy to announce the public release of You Are Standing, a parser game written in Inform 6 originally as part of my “50 Years of Text Games” project, and my first new parser IF game in (checks notes, backs slowly away from notes, burns notes and buries them) in uhh a while! Let’s just say it’s the first game I’ve written in Inform 6 since “Whom the Telling Changed” way back in 2005, and it was a lot of fun to dive back into the language.

This game has a weird history, originally created as a feelie for a feelie: an extra smuggled onto the “floppy disk” item in the Ultimate Collector’s Edition (the main purpose of which was to hold plain text versions of all the chapters in the book). These files worked out to be 1,305,000 bytes… leaving just about 100K left over on a 1.44" floppy. I had cheekily promised “an original text adventure game” as a bonus feature on the disk, saying something vague about a game that would “celebrate all eras of interactive fiction history.”

Well… what ended up emerging was a surprisingly complex game I’m pretty proud of, that tells a personal story in an unusual way, and emulates six different styles of text game in the process. Emulating five very different text game engines (well, let’s say four and a half) plus a standard I6 kind of game, and all the text for those games plus the other systems and infrastructure necessary in less than 100K (87K, to be precise) was a significant challenge. The excellent PunyInform library was a good start, but I had to deploy a series of increasingly desperate measures as the game’s scope increased in size, some of which in turn informed the game and the way it works… but I’ll say no more for now to avoid spoilers.

The game was sort of released last summer when the book’s Ultimate Collector’s Edition shipped to backers, but since I wanted to keep it exclusive to those folks as a thanks for supporting my project, I didn’t publicly release it at the time (though always intended to eventually). Recently I pulled it up again to dust off and formally release. Surprise, surprise, I found a couple of bugs, including one pretty embarrassing one introduced at the last minute after beta testing that may have significantly compromised the version shipping on the floppy, much to my chagrin.

In the process of fixing these bugs I found a bunch of other stuff I wanted to tweak about the game, including significantly revamping the ending, rewriting some of the text and making a host of other changes (including adding a mode for screen readers which will be particularly useful in a few later sections of the game). The differences are fairly subtle but the game has become (IMHO) significantly better, more polished, and much closer to what I originally intended.

All of this revision, of course, naturally bloated the size of the final file. I’m afraid I must admit Release 2 has grown from 87K to 89K.

The game is up on the IF Archive / IFDB where you can play it online, or you can download it from here: (you’ll also need an interpreter like Lectrote. I’d love any reactions or bug reports! If there is more stuff to fix I might put out a Release 3 in a few weeks, but it should be pretty playable as is.

Anyway, this game is very much a love letter to interactive fiction writers and our fascinating history, and I’m glad to release it today to the community. Happy New Year and best of luck with all your endeavors in 2024,

–Aaron A. Reed


You know what, Aaron? This game made my eyes water. I’m starting the third “chapter” and… even if I perceive that there is a sad story behind it, it is precisely in its reflection of my own story that it moves me.

I haven’t quite gotten over the matter of the Fifty Years (of adventures, but also mine – the mid-life crisis). And You Are Standing is taking me back to those Basic adventures I tried and make for the C64 when I was ten, then to the slightly more complex ones when I was 20, step by step retracing… and finally…

…«we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.»

Vacations are not good for me :slight_smile:


A note: I’ve updated You Are Standing to Release 3, fixing some small bugs, and I’ve also cleaned up and released the Inform 6 source code as well if you’re curious to see how I pulled off some of the tricks in the game (see the IFDB page for the download).

(Temporary Release 3 link until IFDB is updated)