Interactive Fiction: Time to play

There’s very little required to start playing with Interactive Fiction: install an interpreter and download some game files then you’re ready to roll.

No, not Nicole Kidman

To play TADS games you’ll need the TADS Player’s Kit, which you can find on the IF archive. The Windows version of the kit is htads_playkit-259.exe, for Linux try qtads-1.6c-qt-3.3.x.tar.gz, and on Mac aQuatads1.6c.dmg is the go. Version numbers current at the time of writing - they will almost certainly vary.

There are several Z-machine interpreters for Inform games, but Frotz and Zoom are two that seem to be blessed by the Inform developers. Frotz can be found at the IF Archive for Windows ( and for Linux (frotz-2.43-3.i386.rpm). On the Mac try Zoom (Zoom-1.0.5.dmg) at Again, version numbers will probably be different.

screen capture of Windows Frotz in action
Frotz for Windows showing Zork in play

What’s the story?

Next you’ll need to get hold of some story files. Here are some suggestions to get you started.


And for Inform:

screen capture of HTML-TADS in action
HTML-TADS showing Ditchday Drifter in play

Say “HELP”

More information on getting started with playing IF can be found on the web at sites such as Emily Short’s introduction or the Beginner’s Guide at Brass Lantern. “How to play Interactive Fiction and Text Adventure Games” by Stephen Griffiths is a few years old but much of the information still holds.

First published: PC Update June 2006