Research Project

For my current English class, I’m doing a research project on interactive fiction, and specifically on how a piece’s form affects the how the story is built and how the reader interacts with it. I have a couple questions I can’t find great answers to using Google, so I thought I would ask the IF community for help and information.

  1. What are some iconic examples of different types of interactive fiction? Specifically, I’m looking at parser, CYOA, and hyperlink IF. I’m having the most trouble finding good, recognizable (to IF veterans) examples of CYOA and actual hyperlink (as opposed to Twine) information.

  2. Are certain types of IF (e.g., puzzly, multilinear, interactive poetry) more common in different media/platforms? For instance, it seems to be that generally hypertext fiction tends to be more story-based than parser fiction (which makes sense considering the format and the genres’ history). Of course, no answer to this question can be absolute, but general rules of thumb would be helpful.

If anyone can answer my questions (or direct me to a different source), that would be amazing!

A few resources that might be helpful:

A brief bibliography about IF history, by Emily Short: … f-history/

Influential Games poll at IFDB:


I will think about more specific answers to your questions though.

Edit: This is a really good article that covers what parser games do well, and what they do not do well. … ser-games/

Can you say a bit more about what you mean by this difference? I’m not sure what “hyperlink” means here if Twine doesn’t count; does it refer to links taking you to different webpages?

Here’s another list of influential games at IFDB, with notes as to why they’re influential:

My understanding is that Twine is by far the most well known hypertext/hyperlink platform in IF, so there may not be much practical difference between “hyperlink” information and “Twine” information. My guess is that the most iconic, recognizable-to-IF-community hyperlink games you’re going to find are mostly going to be Twine games.

As far as iconic CYOA games that offer an explicit list of choices (as opposed to Twine-style hypertext, where individual words in the story are linked), I think Bee is popular (it’s in the IFDB top 100 list: … arch+Games).

IMO, a focus on puzzles is more common in parser than in CYOA, and a focus on story is more common in CYOA than in parser. There are “puzzleless” parser games, and there’s CYOA that has puzzles, but as far as I can tell these are the exception rather than the rule. I don’t think most (any?) popular CYOA platforms have a built in system for tracking inventory objects.

Also, characters (other than the player) are difficult to do in parser. Natural-seeming conversation is also difficult to do in parser. So my guess would be that both these things are more common in CYOA than parser.

Bee currently isn’t available in a fully functioning form, though–it was written for a platform that did a lot of server-side processing and went under, and while it’s in the process of being ported to a new system, the IFDb page describes it as “incomplete and buggy.”

(In the IFDb top 100 one can also find You Will Select A Decision, which though written in Twine has choices at the end of passages instead of links in the middle, and which it is difficult to write about without adopting some sort of convoluted sentence structure.)

By “hyperlink”, yes, I mean actual links to different webpages. In most respects, Twine does count (though technically it might not use hyperlinks? but I don’t know); however, it’s easier to find famous Twine games than famous literary hypertext thingies, since that movement lasted about two seconds until Twine revitalized it. I did discover afternoon, a story.

Thanks for all the help! This has definitely aided my research; I wasn’t aware of the IFDb influential/important games lists, and though I’ve played (read? interacted with?) Bee, I hadn’t thought about it before. The information on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of IF was also helpful, since I only really got into IF a year or two ago and it’s hard to get a feel for things like that without a lot of experience.

If you’re interested in old-skool Eastgate-style hypertext things on the web, maybe check out the Eastgate Web Workshop? L0ve 0ne and to some extent Twelve Blue are the ones I’ve looked at.

Thanks, that’s perfect!