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Classic Games (Games)

2004 IF Competition Games Available 78

An anonymous submitter writes "For the last ten years, the readers of the Usenet newsgroup have held a yearly interactive fiction competition. For fans of the old Infocom games as well as for newcomers to the genre, the competition is a chance to enjoy some of the best short adventure games available anywhere. And now, this year's entries are finally available for public testing. Visit to download the games and interpreters for all of your favorite platforms. For the next six weeks, judges will play, score, and review." The website explains Windows and Mac installation pretty well; you'lll have to figure it out on your own for Linux but there is plenty of help available (i.e., "apt-cache search infocom" for Debian).
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2004 IF Competition Games Available

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  • by RevJim ( 564784 ) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @10:13PM (#10417312) Homepage
    Great, now I can be eaten by a grue on multiple platforms. Grue screen of death anyone?
  • by FyRE666 ( 263011 ) * on Saturday October 02, 2004 @10:18PM (#10417331) Homepage
    I can't wait to try these out on my new Nvidia Geforce 6800!!
  • That kind of LucasArts graphic adventure babytalk has been outlawed by the r*if Cabal years ago!

    Shoot Floyd with laser, please. Or don't, because robots are tough. Nothing can hurt robots.


    • Robots, aye, don't get me started. They steal old people's medicine!

      Remember, anyone who says robots don't exist, is probably a robot themselves!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      >examine laser
      The laser, though portable, is still fairly heavy. It has a long, slender barrel and a dial with six settings, labelled "1" through "6." This dial is currently on setting 5. There is a depression on the top of the laser which contains a new battery.
      Floyd produces a crayon from one of his compartments and scrawls his name on the wall.

      >turn dial to 3
      The dial is now set to 3.

      >use laser on floyd
      I don't know the word "use."

      >shoot floyd with laser
      The laser emits a narrow beam of li
  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @10:24PM (#10417349) Homepage Journal [].

    it's pretty cool, even if not so mature.
  • by hai.uchida ( 814492 ) <> on Saturday October 02, 2004 @10:30PM (#10417378)
    "..You'll have to figure it out on your own for Linux but there is plenty of help available (i.e., "apt-cache search infocom" for Debian)."

    I tried to do that. Unfortuately on the way I got lost in the maze, dropped my lantern in the chasm and missed when I threw the knife at the gnome.
  • MUD? (Score:5, Funny)

    by t7 ( 591821 ) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @10:32PM (#10417385) Homepage
    You find yourself in a dark cave surrounded by nerd-zombies.
    >hit zombies with stick
    Your attempt to ward of the nerd-zombies fails.
    You should have drawn a picture of Kournikova on the wall to distract the zombies while you fled on your segway.

    Free iPods? Sure. []
    • Re:MUD? (Score:2, Funny)

      by eegad ( 588763 )
      Your attempt to ward of the nerd-zombies fails. Luckily, the nerd-zombies become distracted by the latest Slashdot posting and begin laughing and snorting uncontrollably while hitting their refresh buttons. One of them seems to be wearing a cowboy hat.
  • by ChicagoDave ( 644806 ) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @10:33PM (#10417391) Homepage
    I would just like to note that the IF community is still going strong, still maintaining its IF-specific programming platforms (see TADS 3, Glulx, Inform, Hugo), and have even published books (Inform Designer's Manual, Inform Beginner's Guide, Twisty Little Passages) and has a theoretical analysis book in the works for future publishing. If you're looking for a game, stop by [] or check out the archive at [] where all of the free games and interpreters are there to be downloaded for free. Visit or if you want to discuss building or playing games and if you're really in need of an IF fix, stop by the ifMUD at
  • by NiTr|c ( 130325 ) <> on Saturday October 02, 2004 @10:49PM (#10417443) Homepage
    So, the interactive part is clicking on the download link, and the fiction part is actually finishing the download while the servers are being slashdotted! This is the most fun I've had all day!
    • by eegad ( 588763 ) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @11:03PM (#10417484)
      Oh! You didn't find the secret chest with the download mirror. Unfortunately, if you've already saved you're going to have to start all over from the beginning.
    • So, the interactive part is clicking on the download link, and the fiction part is actually finishing the download while the servers are being slashdotted! This is the most fun I've had all day!

      D'oh... I saw the announcement on rgif yesterday but figured I'd wait a day or so to get the games. When I saw that all 4 mirrors weren't working just now, I knew there could be only one explanation.

      How come the comp didn't make the front page of /. the year I entered? :-(

  • go west (Score:2, Funny)

    by cdtoad ( 14065 )
    Zork prose

    open chest, look chest, take wand, close chest, east, east, east, east, north, inventory, quit.

  • We totally need a bittorrent set up for these games. Insta-mirror!
    • Last year, there was a BitTorrent, but the competition didn't make it to Slashdot, so this was not useful.

      This year, as luck would have it, there's no BitTorrent, and Slashdot...
  • by sahonen ( 680948 ) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @11:50PM (#10417648) Homepage Journal
    I hate most adventure games. The only ones I can stand are the Lucasarts variety. This article [] pretty much sums up why. For those who don't want to RTFA, it's basically the frustration factor. In the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Infocom adventure, as well as several others, you have to do a couple things in the beginning of the game in order to win it. If you don't, you will still be able to progress to the critical point where you need them, at which point you will have to RESTART YOUR GAME FROM THE BEGINNING. The seriously destroys the fun factor. Also, many puzzles are needlessly arbitrary, such as the disguise puzzle in Gabriel Knight 3 pointed out in the article. They're simply puzzles for the sake of puzzles that have solutions that no sane person would actually guess. The solutions to these puzzles can only concievably be attained by randomly clicking on everything and seeing what happens, which seriously ruins your suspension of disbelief.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:05AM (#10417702)
      Modern IF tends to avoid such problems (and also things like mazes, hunger puzzles, etc). There's an annoying bit of a trend toward "puzzleless" IF, but there's still lots of good new IF that incorporates puzzles but doesn't have the "traditionally annoying" factor.
    • by Dmala ( 752610 ) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:15AM (#10417733)
      For what it's worth, by the standards of modern IF, all of these things would be considered design flaws. The games that win the annual Comp, especially, tend to play fair and usually have puzzles that are both logical and well integrated into the storyline.
    • Most adventure games are lame, and that's why nobody plays them? By that logic, nobody plays any computer games at all...
    • by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @08:14AM (#10419102)
      Great, you brought several aknowledged design issues and used that as an argument that adventure games are lame.
      HGTG is considered to be one of the worst desigened adventure games of all time puzzlewise. And Jane Jensens adventure games either are not an example of well designed puzzles. People love the Gabriel Knight series because of the excellent stories, the blend of real existing material with myths and legends, but not for the puzzle design, where the series never did shine.
      If you take that argument, then I have to say, ok, I played Daikatana, all shooters are bad. (Although the works of Jensen are far above Daikatana in quality)
  • Don't Panic..... (Score:3, Informative)

    by urbanwookie ( 818459 ) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:04AM (#10417693)
    The new Hitchhikers Guide game is a good example of the adventure game brought up to date - web-based IF, anyone? .swf

    • Brought up to date?

      The original version is small, efficient, can be played on anything from a palmtop to a mainframe, on a variety of interpreters, and doesn't need a net connection. The new one needs a constant net connection, screen space, colour, Flash, JavaScript, and a fast machine; it adds lots of eye candy without actually adding anything to the basic game.

      If that's 'bringing it up to date', then I fear for the current state of software...

  • by GMFTatsujin ( 239569 ) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:14AM (#10417731) Homepage
    Which interpreter do you mean, the CLI, the X, or the Palm interpreter?


    Frotz [] is a great CLI interpreter with lots of ports to other OSes. A very good place to start, keeps it simple, and brings back all the nostalgia of white-on-black text.

    >OOPS, X.

    If you're dedicated to X, try Zoom []. It handles later versions of Z with graphics and sound as well.

    >OOPS, PALM.

    For those on the go, Frobnitz [] is a Z-Code machine for Palm Pilots, but I've found it has some weird display kinks. One really nice feature, though, is that you can extended-click a word on the screen and get a pop-up menu of common commands like Take, Examine, and so on, all pre-selected with the word in mind. It takes longer to explain than to learn how to use.
    • >OOPS, PALM.

      For those on the go, Frobnitz is a Z-Code machine for Palm Pilots, but I've found it has some weird display kinks. One really nice feature, though, is that you can extended-click a word on the screen and get a pop-up menu of common commands like Take, Examine, and so on, all pre-selected with the word in mind. It takes longer to explain than to learn how to use.

      For those of us with a PalmOS device with OS 4.0 or later, I suggest trying CliFrotz [] from Sourceforge. It supports the high resolu

      • CLIFrotz looks nice, it's true, but the requirement of keeping the Z-Code on an expansion card makes me sad. It would probably be the first time in history that I'd *upgrade* my computer to play an Infocom-style game.

        Frobnitz, on the other hand, has a utility that will convert Z-Code into a .pdb to let it live in main memory. With 64M onboard my Tungsten, that's not a problem at all.

    • And if you're a bit masochistic, and have a GBA and a flash cart, you can get frotz for your Gameboy Advance []. And yes, it is useable (if a bit tedious)... I finished Shade on this (which, BTW, is an awesome little game). Much fun. :)
  • by dayeight ( 21335 ) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @12:32AM (#10417780) Homepage Journal
    Grand Text Auto []
    it's good. and has a silly name.
  • if (!NULL){
    i_win = TRUE;

    shit, this challange is damn easy!
    cant wait for the for loop challange.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 03, 2004 @01:07AM (#10417874)
    For people who want to know what interactive fiction is all about, try some of Adam Cadre's games []:
    • I-0 (Interstate Zero)
    • Lock & Key
    • 9:05
    • Photopia
    • Textfire Golf
  • My business is currently involved in this now, except we are mixing it up a bit by working w/ authors and turning their novels into online games...

    MultiUser RolePlay Entertainment (MURPE) is a total game development and publishing enterprise that was designed to be the next stage in a real-time, immersive game evolution. Working with multi-genre authors and their publishing vendors, we intend to turn these novels into living works of art, but applying a totally dynamic story-like atmosphere through online
  • Some more mirrors (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Since the four mirrors given on the download page linked from this article seem to be slashdotted, here are some more mirrors that I was able to find:

    Please use responsibly!

  • Let me preface this with the admission that the only thing I know about IF comes from playing Zork I when I was a kid (I remember moving a rug and killing a troll with a sword), and some semi-pornographic "seduce councellor Troi" (from Star Trek TNG) interactive text game as a teenager (I remember getting anal-lube from the bathroom cabinet).

    So my question is: Why are there so many interpreters? The contest requires at least SIX different ones (from the competition site []):

    Most of the interpreters you

    • Most good games are either Z-Code or TADS 2, though Glulx and TADS 3 seem to be gaining ground (both are more powerful, too; Glulx is something like a successor to the somewhat archaic Z-Machine), and Hugo and ADRIFT have produced a few interesting games as well.

      As for TADS 2 vs. TADS 3, there're interpreters for Windows, Mac OS and Linux that handle both versions - though I don't know how up to date the non-Windows T3 terps are, as T3 is still being developed.

      If you want to get to know modern IF, I sug

    • by boa13 ( 548222 ) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @04:16AM (#10418522) Homepage Journal
      There are two main IF platforms (TADS 2/3 and Infocom/Inform/Z-Code/Glulx). As you can see in the list of IFComp entrants, most games are written using one of these two, and most discussion on r.a.i-f is about one of these two.

      There are also several second-tier platforms (Hugo and Adrift for example), which attract less people, but have enough followers to survive. They are usually less discussed on r.a.i-f (except for the occasionnal whats-the-best-platform flamefests) but often have dedicated forums where fans gather. They attract a slightly different bunch of people than TADS/Inform/r.a.i-f, for example it looks like Adrift attracts people more in interested in quick-n-easy graphical development.

      Then there are many other platforms, either older ones that have done their time, or platforms that never really took off. Alan was in this tier, but is right now going back to second tier, with a new major version in the works after several years without updates.

      Overall, the reason there are so many platforms is that there is no commercial competition, and that several (if not many) people enjoy writing their own platforms (a not uncommon subject of discussion on r.a.i-f). A handful of fans is enough to have games produced for a platform and sometimes submitted to IFComp, so every year or so you are in the need to download an exotic interpreter of some sort.

      That said, note that judges do not have to play all the games, especially those for which there's no interpreter on their OS. Playing five games is the minimum to become a judge, and as you can see, a TADS and a Z-Code interpreter are more than enough to cover that.
  • The website explains Windows and Mac installation pretty well; you'lll have to figure it out on your own for Linux

    It's pretty easy on FreeBSD: pkg_add -r jzip [].

  • Anyone remember that bbs game called fazuul? It was multiplayer and it had items that you could put together to make other items. These items sometimes were useful. Quite fun! Is there anything else out there that has both of those features or is Fazuul available on some internet connected bbs?
  • Have been playing the hitchhikers guide and a few other IF games on my Pocket PC recently. Brings back the feeling of playing them on older 8 bit computers for some reason. Everything else PDAs do is still rubbish though.
  • It's some funny timing for me to see this story. This past August, I found a copy of Douglas Adams' Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy [] by Infocom on the Amiga (yes, occasionally I like to old school it with my Amigas...) and found I had a blast reliving my youth by playing it. It was written by the man himself I believe and it's incredibly clever (well, duh!).

    Maybe I'll give these new games a spin to see what they have to offer!
  • I have a copy of the Lost Treasures for Mac, and I have downloaded several Z-machine emulators for OS X, however the original games were designed to be run as standalone games and the data files are enclosed in the runtime files.

    Is there any way of extracting the data files from the original games to run them under an emulator?

    • As far as I know -- I've never had the pleasure of owning an Infocom game, or this compilation, but I have downloaded A Mind Forever Voyaging from some site -- all games ship with a .dat file somewhere. This .dat file is the Z-Code, you can open it directly with an interpreter, or rename it to .z3 or .z5 (or whatever) if you feel more comfortable with a more recognizable file extension.

      However, the Mac collection might be different, maybe they have put the .dat file in the resource fork of the interpreters

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter