Glitch: The Text Adventure, and Other Fun with Playfic

Nearly a year ago, my nephew Cooper and I launched Playfic, a community for writing and sharing interactive fiction games from your browser.

I haven’t talked about the site much, and have barely touched it since we launched, but I’ve been delighted to see people slowly discover it and use it in interesting ways. Unfortunately, I’m the only one privy to these delights, since I never got around to building a good way to browse or search them.

So far, there have been over 600 games created on Playfic. While many of them have been simple sketches or tests, over 20% have more than 1,000 words in the source code. What kind of things have people made on Playfic? Some of my favorites so far:

But two of my favorite examples happened in the last two weeks.

First, Wired’s Chris Kohler published an interview with Infocom’s Dave Lebling and Steve Meretzky as an interactive fiction game. The game was written on Playfic and embedded in the article.

As if that wasn’t awesome enough, today came the first release of Text Glitch, a very early attempt to port the wonderfully creative Glitch multiplayer game to a text adventure.

In short, the brilliant Rev. Dan Catt took the locations and items from the last snapshot of the Glitch Encyclopedia, parsed it, and spit out Inform 7 source suitable for Playfic.

It’s very alpha, only covering the Alakol region, and doesn’t have any interactive elements beyond simple exploration yet, but for fans of Glitch, it’s a trip.

I was a big admirer of Glitch, and very sad when it closed its doors last month. I love the idea of preserving its collective memory in a text world you can explore.

This is exactly the kind of surprising thing I was hoping to see on Playfic. Give people a new outlet for creative expression, and they’ll find it and use it. Simply by making it easier for anyone to screw around with Inform 7 and share interactive fiction from their browser, crazy awesome things emerge. I hope to do some work on it this weekend to help shine a light on some more of the wonderful things the community’s created.

3 thoughts on “Glitch: The Text Adventure, and Other Fun with Playfic

  1. Any chance there will be browsing or searching added? I like playfic but it’s impossible to find anything aside from just knowing the authors or tracking down the links.

  2. Yes! I was just finishing up a browse section that lets you view all the games by popularity, date added, or alphabetically by name, and see all the games we’ve featured. I should be able to push that live on Friday.

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