Versions of Inform, compatability with interpreters

I see a lot of talk in the forums and elsewhere about the version changes of Inform in relationship to what version of the editor you are writing or troubleshooting in. My question is - Does this complexity translate to the end user depending on their interpreter? If they are trying to play an older game on a newer interpreter, will this crash the game?

The short answer is “no” - the rules about the compiled game files as understood by the interpreters (that is, the Z-Machine and Glulx formats) are tightly defined by a set of specifications that are separate from Inform 7. Incompatible changes in these formats is only ever done in a way that won’t break existing games.

As a demonstration of this, in you can find Z-code games going back to 1994 or so, which still work fine in modern interpreters.

There have been a couple of cases where backwards compatibility got broken, but they have been rare.