Writing IF in things not meant for IF

@radiosity’s Spring Thing game, The Kuolema (go and play it if you haven’t) is written in Google Forms, and it’s really friggin cool.

What are other …mediums, I guess…? That aren’t built to be used for IF or like…computer games in general, but could potentially be (or have been) used to tell IF stories?

The two other examples I can think of are:

If you think something like, an Excel spreadsheet or a calendar app have got potential but don’t know any game that uses them, feel free to muse upon what that would look like!


All Your Time-Tossed Selves by Porpentine is also a work of Interactive Fiction made in Google Forms.


Yep I’m aware of that one! And I think Porpentine also made a file directory story too.


I think that one is Foldscape? I really love her work, Vesp: A History of Sapphic Scaphism is my favourite.


I just sorta tossed the calendar app idea out there randomly but now I’m wondering if it could actually be pretty compelling?! Like, you can make multiple calendars on Google Calendar and share them, so…what if you start at a date and just click through the weeks seeing what the scheduled events on the Calendars are like, via each person’s itinerary? What the description is, who’s invited, the locations, the links…etc!


End of The World (short) is also made in Google Forms.

I’d love to see a Google Calendar or Excel game.


There’s also Flight of the Code Monkeys, made with Jupyter Notebook.


there are numerous works in excel, but almost all include code written in VBA, were one needs to give permission to allow (potentially dangerous) macros to run.


About 15 years ago I played around with Matlab and it seemed pretty capable of making IF parser games. Unfortunately, Matlab is expensive but it can have a compiler and there are free legal Matlab clones (SciLab and GNU Octave) which can definitely be used as well, though they are probably less elegant. So the player would probably have to install the program to run the game, just as is often done with Python games. Both Scilab and GNU Octave are available on Mac, Windows and Linux.

The game Twinge appears to be available through Facebook Messenger but I haven’t checked it out.


Didn’t @Sam_Ursu write a game using Facebook for an IFComp? Or was that someone else?

Edit: Ya, ya, here it is:


Thanks! :blush:


Well, back then in the era of those shareware CDs, I sometimes “tried” apps in form of implementing non-interactive or semi-interactive fiction.
Once, I put in my “testing” of an account payable/receivable some “embezzlements”, but more often, I exploited databases; there was a shareware church management programme, of course, being a ferocious anticlerical, guess how wild was the “trial” :wink: )


Somewhere amongst my archives, I have an Excel template for creating IF. It used VBA to “read” various parts of a hidden spreadsheet and send output to another sheet.
The hidden sheet contained all the locations, objects and responses.
I used to do something similar to produce reports for work although I used multiple workbooks. I have forgotten more than I remember after retiring about 8 years ago.


I wonder if you could write a calendar based game with a saboteur hacker protagonist. Like you want to take down an organization, but you have to make all parties believe it was due to organic internal conflicts, or they’ll simply rally somewhere else with new systems and security you may not be able to locate or breach a second time around. So, instead, you make minor tweaks to calendar invites and scheduled events which increase conflicts and discord. Being able to see the email inboxes and messages that result from your actions could be amusing.

You could work with social dynamics, unwritten rules of couth, and passive aggressive pettiness to play the egos of individuals against each other. Being able to see everyone’s emails would let you see people complaining behind each other’s backs and how two-faced some individuals might be being.

It might work better in a calendar system simulation instead of literal Google Calendar, but I think it might still be doable in authentic calendar software.

Perhaps the game’s beginning date is set by the date you start playing and you can only make a couple of changes each day. You could then have a “secret forwarding” of each email sent over the next 24 hours to the email address you supply when beginning the game. Meaning you only make a couple of moves per day, but the game and it’s consequences play out over the course of a week or so.

Kinda blurring the lines into ARG territory, but I could see it being fun though. Sort of a slow burn, low investment kind of game. Still an enormous undertaking for the author though.


The Sisters Savitree was a non-interactive email game/experience. You got an email from Savitree Grey, explaining that she and her sisters created a contract with the Devil, but there’s only one, and before they could figure out which of them should sign it, Grey died. For reasons known only to them you’ve been designated the decider. The way the game works is that every day for a week you get an email from a sister telling you why you should choose them to forfeit their soul, and what they’d do with the power the contract would grant them. At the end you get an email with six links, each corresponding to a sister, and you click the one you choose.

Unfortunately, the game/experience seems to have fallen into disrepair, because I went and looked at it and clicking the links gives you a server error, so, RIP.

There’s also Shing Yin Khor’s letter-based experiences, like Remember August and 1965, where it’s an epistolary story told by literal letters, but…thinking about it, that’s less IF than, you know, letters. It’s pretty non-interactive. Still those are interesting, so I’ll leave that in.


Also came to think of AlethiCorp by Simon Christiansen where the game works as an ordinary web page. At least a simple version of such a game could be made in very simple web page editors without any coding such as WordPress I guess.


to say that it is cool, using an unconventional IF system, is an understatement. Per the authors notes

BlockquoteWhy divisive? Well… it’s all created using Google Forms. This is a very limited system not designed for interactive fiction and those limitations may end up being too frustrating for some. But for those willing to give it a try, this is an attempt to create an ambitious and complex choice-based narrative that pushes Google Forms to (and occasionally beyond) its limits > Blockquote

The use of google forms and pushing it past it’s limits is amazing. Congrats Ben, for re-inventing the wheel.


The Story Museum in Oxford launched a physical choose-your-own adventure this week involving looking inside numbered cupboards.

Historic Royal Palaces did a well-received choose-your-own-adventure on Twitter themed on an escape of the Tower of London. This was apparently inspired by seeing a Twitter choose-your-own adventure about being Beyoncé’s assistant for a day, but I’ve never seen that one.


Haha. Thanks - I think? :rofl:


I think you can place code inside of a PS or PDF file. There are already games in this.

There are also shell adventures where you use the command line.

Maybe it would be possible in a database?? Or in Prolog???

Edit: in Emacs…