As a teenager, I got pulled into Infidel, a text-based adventure game. So much so, I banged out my own text-based games in BASIC, saved them to five-and-a-quarter floppies, and shared them with… well no one, because I was one of the only kids in my small town who had a home computer.
In college, I got into MUDs, which were also text-based games. But the twist there was that you played against others, online. And if you got really into them, you could even build your own. Which I did. it was truly some of my first coding on the Internet and my first experience with the world of Open Source. But then this odd /www folder started showing up in the root of some of the MUDs I was working on…
But I digress.
Clearly, I still cling to those memories. And obviously those games still hold a special place in my heart. Which is why I was so excited to stumble upon yet another awesome project (It’s not super new, but it was new to me) from the prolific Andy Baio. It’s called Playfic. And it brings the world of text-based gaming to the Web, for both players and developers—whether you’ve ever written a line of code or not.
Playfic is a platform for writing and playing interactive fiction. Interactive fiction (aka “text adventures”) is a genre of game that uses no graphics or sound, but instead, uses text to tell a story in an interactive world.
Playfic is a way to write interactive fiction and publish it entirely on the web. Playfic uses a “natural language” programming language called Inform 7 that’s easy to pick up and difficult to master. You’re able to make your first simple game within minutes.
The best part? Playfic runs from your browser, so there’s no need to download any programs to use it. You can write a game and publish, instantly creating a clean URL that you can send to your friends.
So whether you’re a fan of text-based games or you’ve never played them before, take a few moments to muck around on Playfic. You may be surprised at how engaging—and challenging—these stories can become.