story driven if and other questions

I’m relatively new to IF but i think i’ve found a hobby that will hunt me for decades.

So far i’ve played several works of IF (dreamhold, photopia, galatea, my angel) These where great. well dreamhold wasn’t great but more like nice, but it did teach me alot about how to play IF so it’s great because of that reason. I’ve played a few other games as well that i didn’t like that much but i respect the effort people put into them to much to insult them. The games where free of charge and i haven’t written anything so who am i to judge them.

I would really like to continue to play more IF but i do have a few questions that bother me.

I like story driven IF with few puzzles the most, maybe this will change when i’m more familiar with the way IF works (40% of the time i’m giving imput the parser doesn’t understand) but for the moment this is the way i like it. So I’m wondering if i can easily search for IF works with this criteria.

My second question(s) is that i often wish i could read an earlier part of my session again for reference but i have no idea how to do this. Most of my experience is with Zcode. is there a way to do this? is this different for other formats? does it depend on the interpreter? I would love to know.

and my last question that isn’t that IF related.

I just got a psion mx 5 (it’s old i know but it was cheap) to play IF when I’m traveling, but because english isn’t my first language and most IF is english I could really use an english dictionary or a good translater (english to dutch). If you know a good program for the psion that could help me i would be gratefull.

Welcome pzler. You may know about Baf’s Guide and the IFDB; the former for the advanced search and the latter for the ‘also play’ and recommended list functions. Give Fate and The Baron a try (or De Baron in Dutch!).

Most of the newer players have a script command; you might have to type script or script on for example.

edit: re-reading I’m not sure if you mean a session you played the other day or a session you’re in the middle of playing. If your player doesn’t have scrollback there’s probably a button or menu choice to read the transcript of game in progress.

The advance search worked great, I have no idea why I never noticed this feature before.

The script command does exactly what i need.

thank you

Some lists on the IFDB you might like: - Games for beginners - Easy, fun, short

There is also a “puzzleless” tag in the IFDB (, though I think this is the same list as for the advanced search in Baf’s Guide.

I am interested in the “40% of the time” non-understood commands you mentioned … could you give some examples? (It’s always interesting to see what people try when they first play IF).

the 40% rate has become a bit smaller since i’ve played alot of games in the past few weeks. a lot of the time it’s typo’s or me making a hash of the english language.

But most of the time i get stuck when i’m talking to a npc.

another thing that i often get is “i only understood you as far as wanting…”
because i often use natural language instead of small phrases.

About typos: with most interpreters, you can press the UP arrow key to have the previous command you entered again, so that you can correct it quickly instead of typing it again. I suppose you know that already, but just in case you didn’t…

I guess you mean you don’t know what topics you can type in "ASK ABOUT ". That can indeed be difficult sometimes, even for experienced players!

Some games use the ASK ABOUT (and/or TELL ABOUT) conversation method, others use TALK TO and menus, others use yet other methods… Never forget to type ABOUT (or sometimes HELP or INFO) at the start of the game: there are often explanations about the conversation method the game uses, or about special commands you could never guess by yourself but which are used by this game…

Yes, small, “telegraphic” phrases without any useless words are much more likely to be understood than “real” natural language – and faster to type, too! Almost all useful IF commands are:

(or other single words, such as “yes” or “no”, or “north” etc.)
(for example: TAKE KEY)

You can also usually omit the articles, such as “the” or “a”. And don’t forget the abbreviations, such as “X” for EXAMINE, “L” for LOOK, “N” for NORTH, and many others.

Could you give some examples of the things you tried (if you can remember them)?

David Fisher