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Interactive Fiction Competition 2010

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joyeIF Comp 2010 logoThe 2010 Interactive Fiction Competition is here! Yes, the competition that brought us such interactive fiction classics as Violet, Lost Pig, Floatpoint, and Slouching Towards Bedlam is back with 26 new games, 21 of which can be played in the comfort of your browser. Voting will end November 15, 2010, so get your votes in now if you want to help choose the next winner!

Not every entry in the competition is ready for prime time, though, so don't get discouraged if you encounter a game-breaking bug or a game that just isn't fun. Leave off that one and try another. There are likely to be several excellent entries this year, as usual. Here are five games you might want to start with, showing the competition's wide spectrum of moods, lengths, and styles:

Death Off the Cuff, by Simon Christiansen, is a cheeky parody of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie's self-assured detective. You're about to reveal the murderer, but you have no clue who it is. Can you bluff out a confession?

Gris et Jaune, by Steve van Graal, has so many twists and turns in its supernatural mystery that even mentioning the setting would be a spoiler. The very easily disgusted might wish to avoid it, but everyone else shouldn't miss it.

Aotearoa, by Matt Wigdahl, is set in an alternative universe where New Zealand is known by its Maori name of Aotearoa. The other minor difference is that it's full of dinosaurs. You are a twelve-year-old boy who's been accepted to some kind of dinosaur camp, which is at least one hundred times cooler than space camp.

The Warbler's Nest, by Jason McIntosh, is a brief horror game which examines a once widely believed legend and follows it through to its harrowing conclusion. Experience the truly creepy and realistic dark side of a story you may have idly passed over in your Brothers Grimm collection.

In The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game, by Taylor Vaughn, the game plays you! Refusing to take part in the workers' game is counterrevolutionary! Multiple puzzle solutions encourage proletariat to invent their own solutions. Avoid using capitalism lest you bring shame to Karl Marx!

We'll cover the winners and best games with reviews once the competition has concluded. In the meantime, if you love interactive fiction, get on over to the IF Comp 2010 and play some games!


Patreon Crew SonicLover October 6, 2010 8:13 AM

Just out of curiosity, what exactly was the theme of this competition? "You have no idea what's going on"?


Never been a huge fan of IF :/ I like action platformers better, but thats just me.

I think I'll try it out though when I have the time.

Anonymous October 6, 2010 9:33 AM

I think this is more of we play, they compete thing. This is just to let us know that the list of great interactive fiction games have expanded.


I've never seen this style of game before...can someone explain how they work? Please...


The IF Competition isn't themed. You can submit any sort of story or setting, as long as it's more or less text IF. (The judging criteria are also very broad: "How good is this game?")

As to how to play: I wrote up a quick reference card, which is at http://pr-if.org/doc/play-if-card/play-if-card.pdf (that's PDF; see http://pr-if.org/doc/play-if-card/ for other formats). For a more detailed introduction, see http://brasslantern.org/beginners/ .

Enjoy. :)


Thank you! what a well written tutorial...I feel prepared to dive on in.


Don't know what I am meant to be doing in Warbler's nest. I managed to:

Find the nest and take the egg, then empty the egg and go and fill it with water

But not idea what purpose that serves or what else I'm supposed to be doing...


gzy: Did you

look for the source of the noise?


behind the log?


I know the noise is coming from the clearing, but it won't let me go there without something to protect myself, and I can't enter the house, either. So what in the reeds or beach can I pick up?


Aegeus, what's in the clearing in front of your house?

Your garden.

Maybe you could try raiding that for something to use?

I could take a stake and a rock.

If considering ones to do full reviews of, I'd also suggest Flight of the Hummingbird. It's pretty amusing, and has a low-ish difficulty level to it.


I just finished The Warbler's Nest.
Was there alternate endings or does the game conclude

with the baby at the river?

Either way, I never really play IF, and I thought it was pretty good!


Gris et Jaune keeps freezing on me every time I

talk to the old ghost woman in the kitchen

MmeTurbulence October 6, 2010 7:11 PM

Argh. I spent twenty minutes trying to figure out the first online game listed: 12:54 to Asgard. I'm stuck at what should be a simple puzzle.

I've put the tar paper on the leak in the roof. I've tried attaching the sheet and the roof tile with nails and tape. I can't figure out how tot use the drill/screws


Mme Turbulence: The games are listed in alphabetical order, which is why 12:54 to Asgard comes first. I wouldn't recommend trying it first; it seems to be very difficult, I believe it's easy to put the game in an unwinnable state, there are no hints, and the walkthrough that can be found on the IFcomp site doesn't explain how you're supposed to know which actions to take. The games listed in the post are probably better starting points. (I've only played two of them, though.)

I got stuck more or less at the same puzzle:

I put the roof tile on the roof.

Then I taped the rubber sheet to the roof tile and put it on the roof. Though the roof tile was now waterproof, I still got a message about water pouring out the sides; I'm not sure why a roof tile can't cover a three-inch hole.

I tried to attach the tar paper to the roof tile, but was told it was sticking to my hands, even though I was wearing gloves at the time.

That's when I tried the walkthrough, but I couldn't figure out how to solve this puzzle from the walkthrough without typing in the exact commands. Which makes me think this isn't the best game to start with. Many of the other games do have built-in hints. (Try typing "help" or "hints" if you need them.)


The Warbler's Nest was creepy. Super fun, though!


Death Off the Cuff was delightful.

MmeTurbulence October 6, 2010 9:53 PM

Glad to know it's not just that I'm dumb :) I'm no fresh faced young'un, but none of my standby tricks were working on that one.


None of the "play online" links work for me. The GLULX ones have a spinny compass rose thing in the middle of my screen, and the Z-code ones just say "Retrieving story file...", but nothing ever changes. I'm using firefox 3.0 for linux, and my flash player is up to date. Is there another plug-in I need in order to play these?

[Looks like the Parchment server may be having issues. Try again later or tomorrow. I'm sure it's only a temporary issue. -Jay]


I've increased the server's budget so it should be good soon. Will post back once I've confirmed that!


It's back working now!


The GLulx (ones with the compass rose) never load for me. (Using the latest Fox) Tried clearing my temp and cache and all that good stuff, still nothing? Any suggestions fellow JiGgers?

Anonymous October 7, 2010 5:06 PM

When I'm holding the Goblin baby, I can't put it in the cradle. What do I have to do?


Ooo, just to add my two cents, I am totally loving "One Eye Open." Excellent writing, creepy as hell story, right level of difficulty...good stuff.


I typed xyzzy into Aotearoa, and it said, "Gesundheit!"

help i'm stuck October 8, 2010 1:21 AM

The Warbler's Nest is driving me crazy! What the heck am I supposed to do with the water? I tried pouring it out, putting it on the rock, drinking it, dropping it, drowning that baby bird, and nearly everything else I can think of and it just keeps enigmatically telling me that I already know what to do with the water.

Which I don't.

Help. Please.


Help! i cannot get the hints to work on a lot of the games!


You idly wish that these was some kind of Revolutionary Magic Word you could say to instantly transform the world into the Worker's Paradise, but that's ridiculous. Only science can do that.


Aotearoa made me want to go back to, well, Aotearoa. Despite the lack of dinosaurs, it's a wonderful place to be.

I liked the way Maori mythology was used as a basis for this game, and how you could find out more about it. Fun game.


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