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Teaching and Technology Center

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Interactive Fiction Games

​​​​​​​Interactive Fiction Games
Would you like to spice up your student writing assignments and add a whole new level of creativity?  You should consider incorporating Interactive Fiction Games into y​our courses.

Interactive Fiction (IF) Games are software games based on some literary narrative in which game players navigate through an environment by selecting text-based commands.  IF games have been around since the 1970s (i.e. Zork), but thanks to recent advances in IF game-writing tools, they can be used in education for creative writing assignments.  There are two forms of IF game-writing tools: "Choose Your Own Adventure" and "Text-Based Adventure".

Interactive Fiction Game: Cypher

Choose Your Own Adventure Games

Choose Your Own Adventure games are easy to play and easy to compose.  Players must select from pre-determined choices to determine what the protagonist/antagonist does next.  Those choices will determine where the narrative proceeds.

Text-Based Adventure Games

Text-Based Adventure games are far more complex to play and compose.  Players must come up with their own text-based commands in order to have the protagonist/antagonist proceed through the narrative (i.e. "Pick up the mirror"; "Go West"; "Put on the mask"; "Climb the stairs").  These games are far more challenging than Choose Your Own Adventure games, but will typically be more rewarding to both play and design.

Support

There is a growing, supportive Interactive Fiction Games community available to share your ideas with and help you and your students with your Twine and Inform7 support questions.

The creators of Twine also have an extensive User Guide​ available online which contains guidelines on creating Twine stories, how to include images, videos, and audio in your Twines, how to change fonts, and much more.

Assignment Ideas

  • ​​​Scour the Interactive Fiction Database​ and the TextAdventures web sites to find IF games that tie into your curriculum and learning outcomes. Design critical thinking questions for students to gauge what they learned.
  • Have students work in teams of 2 or more to develop a Twine game.  Teams would develop the overall structure of the narrative, and then each team member would write out different pathways depending on the choices supplied.  Teams would share their Twines with other groups for feedback, and potentially share their finished products with the larger IF community so that their work lives on beyond the class!
  • Develop a semester-long project on the same concept as in the previous bullet, but have students create a text adventure using the more complex Inform7 platform.  
  • Have your students develop IF Fiction games and submit their work in the annual Interactive Fiction Competition​!
  • For some "getting started" ideas on potential IF storylines for you and your students, review this discipline-focused chart of published IF storylines from Dr. Dana Milstein at Yale University.  
  • Adopt or adapt Yale University's Interactive Fiction Rubric​ for assessing student-created work.
This page is maintained by the Teaching & Technology Center. Send comments and suggestions to ttc@bridgew.edu​. Last reviewed 07/05/19.​​