Running the Interactive Fiction Archive Games

			       Version 1.74
 			        March 2002

This document attempts to explain how a PC user can play the interactive
fiction games stored at the Interactive Fiction Archive. 

This document is aimed at users of MS DOS and Windows personal computers.
The software and filenames given as examples are usually PC-specific.
However, most of the information in this document is relevant to users of
other computer systems.

One of the advantages of interactive fiction is that the games can be played
on a wide variety of computer equipment and the IF Archive caters for users
of all computer systems.

Users of non-Microsoft computer operating systems will often find an
equivalent program for their system in the same IF Archive directory as the
PC-specific example mentioned in this document. There are pointers to other
FAQs in Appendix 3 'Other IF Locations' that users of non-PC systems may also
find useful.

If you wish to make any comments or corrections to this document you can
email the author at


1.   The Interactive Fiction Archive
2    Where are the games?
  2.1  There's more than PC-specific games
  2.2  The majority of games
  2.3  What games to play first
  2.4  Where to get hints
3.   How to download a file
4.   Zipped Files
5.   Game Files and Runtime Systems
6.   The Common Types of Game Files
  6.1  Hugo      (.hex)
  6.2  Tads      (.gam)
  6.3  Inform    (.z5 or .z8) - also known as 'Z-Code' files
  6.4  AGT       (.d$$, .da1, .da2 etc)
  6.5  Alan      (.acd and .dat)
  6.6  Glulx     (.ulx)
7. Emulators and Converters

a1.  IF Archive Mirror Sites
a2.  Compiling Games from Source Code
a3.  Other IF Internet Locations

1. The Interactive Fiction Archive
The interactive fiction archive is a collection of computer software and
documentation maintained by David Kinder and Stephen Granade at the ftp site

Through the IF Archive, David, Stephen and their assistants provide a
wonderful service to players and authors of interactive fiction.

You can access the IF Archive using an Internet 'ftp' program or a World
Wide Web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer.  This document
uses Netscape as an example.

There are several 'mirror' sites which contain copies of the entire IF 
Archive. Some users may find accessing one of these mirror sites more 
convenient than visiting the IF Archive itself. A list of the mirror 
sites is in Appendix 1.

The content of the IF Archive is constantly being updated. A program's
filename at the archive may change when a new version is released. So if
you find that a file mentioned in this document isn't at the Archive try
looking in that file's directory for a newer version. If you find any
errors in this document please let me know.

2. Where are the games?
The IF Archive stores a huge amount of interactive fiction information
and software.  So the files are stored in separate subdirectories to make
it easier to find what you are looking for.

The IF games are stored in

Within the games directory are subdirectories for the different categories
of games available. 

2.1 There's more than just PC-specific games
As we are interested in PC games the most obvious place to look is in the
directory called PC:

Here you will find games that are ready to run on your PC.  Most games 
in this directory are compiled for MSDOS so will run on both MSDOS and 
Windows PCs. Some are for Windows PCs only. Look in the Index file (by 
clicking on it if you're using Netscape) to see short descriptions of all 
the available files.  All the files in this directory are compressed in some 
way except for the Index file. See the section on zipped files below to see 
what to do with these compressed files.

The games in the PC directory are not the only games at the IF Archive
which can be played on a PC.  In fact many of the newer, bigger and better
games are actually stored elsewhere.

2.2 The majority of games

As well as the directories for games specific to particular computer
systems such as the PC and Amiga directories, the /games directory contains
directories of games which can be played on many different computer systems
(including the PC.) 

The Index file for the /games directory describes what's in each

Some directories contain games written using various IF authoring systems
such as Hugo, Inform and Tads. These directories contain most of the best
games. These games can be played on the PC. Sections 5 and 6 of this FAQ 
give details about to play games written using the most popular systems. 

Other directories contain games from particular software companies such as
Adventions which can be played on the PC.

Another goldmine for PC game players is the directories containing the
entries in the IF authoring competitions held over the last few years.
(The directories have names like /games/competition9X or /games/mini-comps.)
The competition directories contain the games as they were entered in the
contests. Later, bug-fixed versions of many of the competition entries are
usually stored in the directories for the IF authoring systems used to write
them. So if you find a game you're interested in playing in the competition
directories check to see if there is a better, updated version of the game

The IF Art Show has produced a few good games. They are stored under the 
/art/if-artshow directory.

There is also a directory containing games by Scott Adams and various
utilities which is outside of the games directory.

2.3 What games to play first?
There are so many games available at the IF Archive that you may have
trouble deciding what's worth playing first.

Here's two suggested ways to start:

Firstly, the directory contains
collections of games that people consider to be good introductions to IF 
The collections contain instructions and all the programs necessary to play
the included games. Look in the Index file in this directory to see what
the various collections in the directory contain. (The Adventure Blaster
collection is recommended if you're running MS Windows 95,98 or NT.)

Secondly, you can look at reviews of some of the games. 'Baf's Guide to the
Interactive Fiction Archive' is a good place to start.  Baf's guide
contains ratings and miniature reviews of many of the games at the IF
archive.  The IF magazines XYZZYnews and SPAG also have reviews of games.
The web site addresses for Baf's Guide, XYZZYnews and SPAG are listed in
appendix 3.

2.4 Where to get hints?
There's a directory at the IF Archive containing hint files, solutions
and walkthroughs for many of the games at the IF Archive and for other
games as well. The directory is

You can also ask for hints by posting a message on the
Usenet newsgroup (see appendix 3.)

3. How to download a file
Netscape usually displays the contents of a file on screen. For example 
if you click on the name of the "Index" file in a directory at the IF 
Archive the text it contains is displayed on screen. 

However some types of files, such as programs, are not designed to be
displayed within your Web browser but downloaded to your PC and run as
programs or read using specialised software.  Such files are known as
'binary' files. If you were using an 'ftp' program you would have
to set it to 'binary mode' to download binary files in uncorrupted form. 
Netscape automatically recognises some 'binary' file-types by the file
name's extension (such as .zip or .exe). When you click on a filename which
Netscape recognises as a 'binary,' it pops up a Save-As dialog box and asks
you where you want to download the file to.

If Netscape doesn't automatically pop up the Save-As dialog box when you
click on the name of a program or game file, you should 'right-click' on
the file name.  Then a little sub-menu will pop up.  Select the 'Save this
Link as' option to download the file, in binary mode, to your PC. (You may
need to close down and restart Netscape to clear Netscape's memory 'cache'
if you've already read the binary file in non-binary screen-display mode.)

4. Zipped Files
Many of the available files are stored in a compressed format to save disk
space at the IF Archive and download time when you transfer them to your
PC.  Usually the files have been compressed by a program called PKZip (or
software compatible with PKZip.) Files compressed in PKZip format have file
names that end in the extension ".zip". You can download any of these files 
to your PC but you will need to uncompress them before you can use them. You
can uncompress .zip files using the PKunzip program or something else that
reads PKZipped files (such as WinZip.)

You can get the MsDOS PKZip program from the IF Archive.  It is stored in

A Windows version is available from

Once you've downloaded this file, run it on your PC to uncompress all the
component programs that constitute the PKZip system.  One of the component
programs is pkunzip.exe which is all you need to uncompress pkzipped files.

(Some of the files at the IF Archive have been compressed by programs
other than PKZip - the file names will end in things like .arc, .tar.Z or
.gz.  Some shareware software like WinZip and PKZip for Windows can read 
these compression formats as well as the PKZip format. You can find freeware 
MSDOS programs to uncompress these and other formats in the directory

Look in the Index file in this directory to see what the various programs
in the directory can do.)

5. Game Files and Runtime Systems
These days most IF games are created using an IF authoring system.  An
IF authoring system is a program that does some of the 'computer
programming' work and allows the person writing the IF game to
concentrate on the content of his game.  These systems read the author's
'source code' (text files describing the content of the game) and 'compile'
this description into a 'game file.'

To play the game you need both the compiled game file and a copy of the
appropriate 'runtime interpreter' for the IF authoring system that
created the game file.

Its a similar concept to watching a movie by playing a video
cassette (the game file) in your VCR (the interpreter.)   However IF
games come in several different formats. So you require a different 'VCR'
to play games written in each different format.

For example, say some kind soul writes an IF game called 'Dragons' with
the TADS authoring system.  To play 'Dragons' you'll need both the file
containing the game itself -- dragons.gam -- and also the TADS runtime
interpreter program for the PC -- tr.exe.

If you want to play another TADS game you just need to obtain the game file
for that new game because you already have the tr.exe program which is the
'VCR' able to play all TADS games.

This game file concept works very well because ... 

- the IF author can distribute just one version of his game which can be
played on any type of computer system (eg: MSDOS PC; Apple Macintosh; Linux;
MS Windows PC) for which a runtime interpreter is available.

- the IF player needs only one copy of the runtime interpreter program
for an IF authoring system to play all the games written using that
system.  This saves space on the player's disk drive and makes downloading
new games quicker as only the game file is required and not another copy of
the software required to play the game.

The disadvantage for the IF player is that it can be difficult to locate
the runtime interpreter for a game when the software is not 'packaged' with
the game itself.  So the following section describes what interpreters to use
to play games written with the most common IF authoring systems and where
the various interpreter programs can be found at the IF Archive.

6. The Common Types of Game Files
Currently, the most popular IF authoring systems are Inform and TADS. 
AGT was the dominant system before TADS and Inform became popular so there
are also many AGT games around.

Firstly, though, we will look at a relatively new system called Hugo because 
it makes a simpler first example.

As it is the first system explained, there are a few general tips included
in the Hugo section. So read section 6.1 even though you may only be
interested in playing games written with other authoring systems.

With a few exceptions, the file locations for all the other IF authoring 
systems at the IF Archive follow the same pattern as the Hugo games and Hugo 

The pattern is you can find the games written in the XYZ IF authoring system 
in the XYZ subdirectory under 
and the XYZ runtime interpreter software in the XYZ 'executables' 
subdirectory under


6.1 Hugo (.hex files)
The names of Hugo game files end in .hex.  These are binary format files so,
if using Netscape, right-click rather than click on the .hex filename to 
download it. There are only a few Hugo games available.  They are stored at 
the IF Archive in

You will see that some of the entries end in .zip.  So when you download
these files to your PC you will need to unzip them to extract the .hex game
file. (See section 4 above for details about .zip files.)

Choosing a Hugo runtime interpreter program may seem a bit complicated 
as there are many different PC and Windows versions listed in the Hugo 
'executables' directory. However there are really just three mainstream Hugo 
versions tailored for three types of PCs - Win32; MSDOS/Windows3.x and 
'16bit MSDOS.'

"Win32" refers to Microsoft's "32 bit" Windows operating systems - Windows 
95 or 98 and Windows NT (versions 3.51 and 4.0) or Windows 2000.

Windows 3.x refers to any "version 3" variant of Microsoft Windows. The most
common versions are Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11.

"16bit MSDOS" refers to a (really old) PC, running a version of MSDOS, which 
has an 8088, 8086 or 80286 CPU.

6.1.1 Windows 95/98, NT/2000
If you use Microsoft Windows 95, 98, 2000 or NT, you can use the Windows
version of Hugo which is stored in

The zip contains the Hugo compiler and various other files as well as the
interpreter program. To play Hugo games you just need the interpreter which
is called HEWIN.EXE.

You can create a file association in Windows Explorer or My Computer so you 
can double-click a Hugo '.hex' game-file and automatically start hewin.exe to 
play the game.

6.1.2 Windows 3.x, MSDOS
The Windows version of the Hugo interpreter won't work with Windows 3.x. To
play Hugo games on a PC running MS-DOS or Windows 3.x you need to use
the Hugo DOS runtime interpreter, HE.EXE, which is stored in

If you have he.exe and your Hugo games' .hex files in the same directory,
the command to play a game is he 'game-file-name'.  For example, to play a
game called spur.hex, enter the command

     he spur 

With Windows 3.x, you can create a file association in File Manager so you 
can double-click a Hugo '.hex' game-file and automatically start he.exe to 
play the game. 

In MS Windows you can alter the font and other properties of the he.exe DOS 
'window' used to play Hugo games (or any other DOS window) by clicking on
the spacebar icon in the top left corner of the window. You can expand the
box to full screen by pressing the Alt and Enter keys together. (And use
Alt-Enter again to revert back to a 'window'.)

If you run he.exe from MS-DOS you'll need the memory utility program called 
cwsdpmi.exe which is included in If you get a 'no dpmi' 
error message when you try to use he.exe, make sure that cwsdpmi.exe is in 
the same directory as he.exe. Better still, put cwsdpmi.exe in your DOS 
directory which will make it available both to Hugo and to any other programs 
that may need it.

6.1.3 16 Bit MSDOS
The programs in are designed to run on PC's that
have a 386 or better CPU. If you're using an older PC with less than a 386
processor you can play Hugo games by using the '16-bit' MSDOS version of
he.exe in:

6.2 TADS (.gam files)
The names of Tads game files end in .gam.  The Tads games are stored in

There is a lot of entries in this directory.  Some of these games are
compressed using programs other than Pkzip.  Some like are
actually PC executable -- ie: a copy of some version or another of the MSDOS
TADS runtime interpreter is included in the PKZipped file so the .zip files
are very large. Anyway, read through the Index file in this directory to
see what's what.

A new version of the Tads compiler - 'HTML Tads' - was released in 1998.
HTML Tads games can include pictures and sounds.

To play Tads .gam files which are not bundled with a runtime interpreter
you need to download a Tads runtime interpreter separately. In fact, even
if the game does come with a bundled runtime interpreter, it may run better,
or look prettier, with a more up-to-date Tads interpreter. 

There's ten different MSDOS or Windows packages in the TADS executables
directory so choosing a TADS runtime interpreter can be a bit complicated.
The following recommendations are broken down into sections for various
types of PCs in attempt to make things a bit clearer.

6.2.1 Windows 95/98 or NT
If your PC is running Microsoft Windows 95, 98, 2000 or NT, you can run the
graphical 'HTML Tads' runtime interpreter. The HTML Tads interpreter can play
older TADS games as well as recent games which use the new HTML Tads features.
So it may be the only TADS runtime interpreter you'll need. It is stored in 

WinTADS is an alternative TADS interpreter for Windows 9x/NT users. Some
pre-HTML TADS games look better in WinTADS so you might like to download
this program also 

Though no games have yet been released there is a new version of TADS 
currently being developed called "TADS 3". Games written using TADS 3 
will require a new TADS runtime interpreter. To play TADS 3 games, when they 
are appear, use the TADS 3 Player's Kit

6.2.2 Windows 3.x or MS-DOS
If you're not running a 32bit version of Windows you'll miss out on any
pictures or sounds in HTML Tads games but you can still play them in
text-only mode using the 16-bit MS-DOS version of the HTML Tads interpreter:

This file contains the TADS compiler and associated files as well as the
runtime intepreter. You only need the trx.exe program from this zip file to
play TADS and HTML Tads games.

This HTML Tads interpreter can also play older TADS games but some of them,
especially really large ones like "The Legend Lives", may work better with
the old 32-bit MS-DOS intepreter. (Note that you need a 386 or better
processor in your PC to use this 32-bit program.) 

Like the file, this zipped file contains a version of the
Tads compiler as well as the runtime interpreter.  To play TADS game files
you just need the runtime interpreter program which is called tadsr.exe.

(Note: To use tadsr.exe from DOS, rather than from within Windows, you
also need the memory management utility called cwsdpmi.exe. This utility
is included in the zip file. Put cwsdpmi.exe in the same directory as
tadsr.exe. Alternatively, you can put cwsdpmi in your DOS directory so it
is available to any other program that may need it such as the Hugo
and Alan MSDOS runtime interpretors.)

6.2.3 Sub-286 PCs
You need a 286 or better processor in your PC to use the 16-bit HTML Tads
interpreter, trx.exe, mentioned in the last section. Older PCs can
use the 8-bit version of the HTML Tads runtime intepreter in 

You also might want to use this 8-bit TADS interpreter, tr.exe,  on a 286
or 386 PC as you may find that it runs a little faster than trx.exe. 

However tr.exe will have trouble playing some TADS games -- especially really
large games.  There is a command-line switch you can use to specify the way
tr.exe uses memory internally which may help with some memory problems.
Changing this setting may help if you experience problems playing a TADS game
with tr.exe. Try adding -mh 64000 to the command used to start the game. An
example command line to run a game called dragons.gam could look like this

 tr -mh 64000 dragons

6.3 Inform / 'z-code' / 'z-file' format (.z5 or .z8 files)
The names of Inform game files end in .z-something - usually .z5 or
.z8.  (There are also some .z3 and .z6. You may also see some z-code
files with names ending in .dat -- usually they'll be old Infocom games.)
The number in the file name represents the version of the 'z-file' format
that the game file is written in.  For the PC user the format version doesn't
matter very much as the latest versions of the runtime interpreters (except
for WZip) can read all these different versions.

An interesting facet of the Inform IF authoring system is that its game files
are in the same format as the famous Infocom IF games.  The Infocom company
produced IF games commercially during the 1980s. Infocom game files were
stored in what Infocom called z-file or z-code format. You may also hear the
term 'z-machine' -- Infocom used this phrase to refer to its runtime
interpreter system.

Inform game files are stored in

You won't find any games by the Infocom company here as they are still under
copyright.  The Infocom copyrights are now owned by a company called
Activision.  Activision has released Infocom's Zork 1, 2 and 3 and Douglas 
Adams has released "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" as freeware. Activision 
have a WWW site which you may like to look at:

There are few demo games from Infocom at the IF Archive (eg: Minizork - a 
demo version of Zork 1) is in the directory

Interpreters for the z-code format are often called zip interpreters. 
Which was an unfortunate choice of name as the word zip is now associated
with the compression of files. 

There are several different interpreters for the z-code format.  Two of the
most popular are JZip and Frotz.

The PC version of the JZip program can read all the main variations of the
z-file format.  You can find it at

Frotz can also read the main variations of the z-file format and also
supports the graphics and sound features of some z-file format games.  You
can find the MS-DOS version of Frotz at

DJGPP Frotz 240 is for 386 or better processors. If your PC has a 286 or 
lesser CPU you'll need to use an older version of Frotz which can be found

Though JZip and DOS Frotz are MSDOS-based programs, like all the other DOS
software mentioned in this document, they work just fine under the various
flavours of Microsoft Windows. (Remember, from the Hugo section above, that 
you can adjust the font sizes etc of DOS software run under Windows.)

There are also a couple of z-file interpreters written especially for 
running under Windows - WZip and WinFrotz. 

WinFrotz runs under 32bit Windows (Win95, NT, etc.) It can be downloaded

Wzip has the advantage, compared to other 'Windows' interpreters mentioned
in this document, of running under Windows 3.x as well as 32bit Windows
systems. However it cannot play games with a z-code version above z5 --
though that's not too bad as most Inform games are in z5 format. (Win3.x
users can play z6 games with MSDOS Frotz and z8 games with either MSDOS
Frotz or Jzip.)  Wzip can be downloaded from:

6.4 AGT
AGT (short for Adventure Game Toolkit) games are split into a number of
game files with names ending in . d$$, .da1, .da2 etc.  You need all the
files to play the game. 

Many of the games in the /games/pc directory are actually AGT games bundled
with a runtime interpreter. A few other AGT games are scattered around
other parts of the IF Archive. 

The directory

contains links (effectively an index) to all the AGT games available in the
IF Archive. Mostly the links in the /games/agt directory point to the
/games/pc directory.

Remember the compressed files in the /games/pc directory include all the
files necessary to play the games they contain so you don't really need any
more AGT software.  However some modern PCs have problems with the old AGT 
runtime interpreters that are bundled with the games in /games/agt and /pc.
So its a good idea to use Robert Masenten's 'AGiliTy' runtime interpreter for
playing AGT games. As well as better reliability, AGiliTy provides a nicer
player interface and automagically adds some modern command abbreviations
and shortcuts to the old AGT games.

The MSDOS version of AGiliTy is

(That DOS version requires a 286 or better CPU. There's a version for sub-286 
machines in the same directory called

A version for MS Windows 95, 98 and NT is

6.5 Alan  (.acd and .dat files)
Alan games are split into two component files. Both files are needed to
play the game. One file's name will end with the extension .acd, the other
.dat.  There are only a few Alan games available.  You'll find a few Alan
games amongst the various competition directories at the IF Archive but
mostly they are stored in

You will see that some of the entries in this directory end in .zip.  So
when you download these files to your PC you will need to unzip them to
extract the two game files.

There are four current Alan interpreter programs for PC users - MSDOS; MSDOS 
"Glk"; Win32 "text mode" and Win32 "Glk".

6.5.1 MSDOS and Windows 3.x
To play Alan games on an MSDOS or Windows 3.x PC you need an Alan MSDOS
runtime interpreter. The MSDOS "Glk" interpreter provides a status line and 
command history - features which are missing from the older MSDOS 
interpreter -

The Alan MSDOS "Glk" runtime interpreter is stored in the zipped file:

You need to unzip this file on your PC.  This zip file contains several
versions of the interpreter program. The best version is the TERMARUN.EXE 

If you have termarun.exe and your Alan games' .acd and .dat files in the same
directory or 'folder', the DOS command to play a game is

    termarun 'game-file-name'.

For example, if you have a (fictitious) Alan game called "Dragons" whose two
game-files are called dragons.acd and dragons.dat, to play the game enter
the command

     termarun dragons

However, the default TermArun screen looks a bit too much like a mainframe 
computer terminal. You can change this a bit by setting some command-line 
options (you can see all the TermArun options by typing termarun -help.)

I suggest using the no message line, reverse video textgrid and no border 
options. To save you writing "termarun -ml -revgrid -border dragons" 
every time you play a game, you can create a simple DOS "batch command" file. 

Create a text file using an editor like DOS Edit or Windows Notepad called, 
say, myarun.bat in the same directory as termarun.exe. The file should 
contain one line containing the following text

    termarun -ml -revgrid -border %1

When the batch file is run, the TermArun interpreter will run with the three 
screen appearance options set and the "%1" bit is automatically replaced by 
the name of the game you specify. So you can now play Alan games using the 

    myarun 'game-file-name'


    myarun dragons 

  - termarun.exe (and the interpreter) only runs on PC's with an 
80386 or better processor (ie: "CPU".) That means you can probably play Alan 
games if your PC was made later than 1991 or so.)

  - PC's running MS-DOS only (ie: not running DOS from within MS Windows) 
won't be able to run the programs in without a memory 
utility program called cwsdpmi.exe. If you get a 'no dpmi' error message 
when you try to use termarun.exe, you need cwsdpmi.exe. A copy of this 
utility is included with the '32-bit' DOS interpreters for Hugo and TADS
- see sections 6.1 and 6.2 above. Put a copy of cwsdpmi.exe into your DOS
directory which will make it available to termarun, he, tadsr and any other
programs that may need it. You can also download cwsdpmi.exe from

6.5.2 Windows 95/98 or NT
If you're using a 32-bit version of MS Windows, you can use the Win32 
'Glk' Alan interpreter.

This interpreter has a nice appearance but it is a new piece of software and 
it currently has a couple of problems. Firstly, it does not have a File Open 
option so you need to create a file association between the ".acd" filename 
extension and winarun.exe. You can then start an Alan game by double-clicking 
on the game's .acd file. Secondly, there's a bug in the game startup code 
which means you have to type in the game's filename when WinArun starts even 
though you've just clicked on the file! (For example, if you've just 
double-clicked on dragons.acd, just type dragons and press Enter.)

If you can't live with those minor problems, or you prefer a plain text-mode 
appearance, there's a nice Win32 console-mode Alan interpreter in the file

6.5.3 Alan 2.5/2.6 Games
Note that there are several older Alan games (version 2.5 and 2.6) at the IF
Archive that can't be played using a current Alan interpreter. You can
download the old Alan version 2.6 MSDOS interpreter program to play these
version 2.5 and 2.6 games.

6.6 Glulx  (.ulx files)
Glulx games are written with a version of the Inform interpreter 
but the gamefile format is quite different from the traditional 
Infocom format so a different runtime interpreter is required to 
play Glulx games. Glulx is a new authoring system so there aren't really any 
games yet besides a port of Colossal Cave and Gunther Schmidl's ToasterComp 
entry. I've added Glulx to this FAQ in anticipation of new games coming 
soon. Glulx games will be found in the directory

Glulx games are played with the a runtime interpreter called Glulxe - 
meaning Glulx Engine. (But don't ask be what Glulx itself means. I'm not 
sure that anyone knows!)

6.6.1 Windows 95/98 or NT
To play Glulx games on a Windows PC download

6.6.2 MS-DOS and Win 3.x
MS-DOS and Windows 3.x users both need to use the MS-DOS version of 
the Glulx Engine contained in the file

7. Emulators and Converters
Some old games written for old computer systems can be played on PCs by
using a program that emulates the old computer system.

For example, there are a lot of Apple II games in subdirectories under

These files are stored as images of Apple II floppy disks.  The file names
end in .dsk.  To play these games you need an Apple II emulator program for
your PC such as:

There are also disk images and emulators for other old systems such as the
Commodore C64 at the IF Archive.

A World Wide Web site with more information on emulators is

Some games written for old computer systems can be converted into files
that can be read on a PC.  For example

converts Apple II, Commodore 64 and some other old computer disk images of
Infocom games into z-file format files which can then be played with a PC
z-file interpreter like Jzip.


a1. The Interactive Fiction Archive Mirror Sites
Copies of the IF Archive are stored at other Internet ftp and Web sites.
Have a look at 

to see if there is a 'mirror site' closer to you than

Currently, mirrors of the IF Archive are maintained at the following

Mirrors with enhanced features: (WWW interface:file lists include file descriptions) (WWW searchable index to the 
above IF Archive mirror)

Conventional mirror sites:       (USA)               (Finland)   (USA)            (Australia)	                (USA)                   (USA)		(UK)	                (USA)

a2. Compiling Source Code
If you wish to write your own games you will need an IF authoring
system's compiler and the documentation explaining how to write the text
files (called 'source code') that describe the content of a game. 

You may also want to compile a game from the source code available under
the various /programming directories in the IF Archive.  If your interest
is in playing games though, compiling source code is unnecessary as most of
the available source code is for programming examples which make boring
games or for games that are already available as compiled game files
elsewhere at the IF Archive.

a2.1 Hugo
When you downloaded the Hugo runtime interpreter you also downloaded a copy
of Hugo compiler.  To compile Hugo games, however, you'll also need the
manual and standard source-code library for the Hugo compiler which are
stored separately.

The Hugo library and compiler manual (in several alternative formats) are
in the following directories:

a2.2 TADS
The Tads compiler comes in two versions. 

The full version of HTML Tads, which handles graphics and sound and which
only works under Windows 95, 98 or NT, is in: 

The file containing the TADS 16-bit interpreter for MS-DOS/Win3.x users,
mentioned in section 6 above, contains a copy of the text-only version of
the TADS compiler and library.

The Tads documentation is available in various formats.  Have a look at the
Index file in the tads/manuals directory for details. Full documentation,
in HTML format, and the latest supplementary information are respectively in:

a2.3 Inform
The Inform compiler is in:

The standard code library is in the directory:

The Inform manual, called the 'Designer's Manual', is available in various
formats in this directory:

a2.4 Alan
Alan is a powerful but relatively easy-to-use IF authoring system. The
Alan compiler is in:

The manual (in various formats) and a tutorial are in:

The proposed standard code library can be found in the directory:

a2.5 AGT and MAGX
There is a new system, called MAGX, that compiles AGT games that can then
be played with the Agility runtime interpreter. If you wish to write games
using the AGT language I recommend using MAGX rather than one of the old AGT
versions. To use Magx, you also need to download the AGT Master's Edition
for manuals, example code, etc. MAGX and AGT Master's Edition are
respectively in:

(Use if you have a PC with less than a 80286 processor.)

There are many old versions of AGT at the IF Archive. The Index file
in the programming/agt directory provides some details about them.

a2.6 Which is Best?
There are many other IF authoring systems available too. None, perhaps,
is 'best'.  It depends on your level of programming skill and what sort of
interactive fiction you want to create. If you feel like writing your own
games you may like to look at Bob Newell's "Which Authoring System is
Better" document:

This document is getting out of date now but still is well worth the reading
time of the prospective IF author. See the raif FAQ mentioned in the next
section for brief but more up-to-date information about the various
authoring systems.

a3. Other IF Internet Locations

a3.1 Starter Kits
There is a directory at the IF Archive containing useful 'starter kits'
for new IF players, including Adventure Blaster for Win9x/NT. Kits are
available for several computer systems. Look in

a3.2 MS Windows Specific Instructions
For some people this FAQ may cover too much information but not in enough
depth. For people who want very specific step-by-step instructions for
playing IF on Microsoft Windows PCs there is

a3.2 Info for non-PC Computer Systems
For information about playing (and writing) IF games on a variety of computer
systems visit

Information about playing Inform and Tads games on a variety of computer
systems is in

To play Inform games on a Palm Pilot download Frobnitz (a gamefile converter 
can also be downloaded) from

a3.3 FAQ Files
To learn more about interactive fiction, look at the Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQ) files for the and
fiction newsgroups.  The 'arts' group discusses the writing of interactive
fiction so its FAQ may be of less interest to an IF player than the
'games' group's FAQ.

The FAQ files can be found at

The FAQ is at

There are many essays and documents about interactive fiction, though more
about writing IF rather than playing it, in

The Brass Lantern website has a lot of beginners' guides and other useful 

a3.4 Game Reviews and other information
There are many other interactive fiction locations on the World Wide Web. 
For starters, you could try

'Baf's Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive'(Game index & reviews)

'Twisty Pages'  (On-line index to the Archive plus other IF info and
WWW links)

'Xyzzy News'  (IF magazine and WWW links)

'The SPAG Home Page'  (IF magazine, game reviews, WWW links)

The Xyzzy News and SPAG magazines are also available from the IF Archive
in the magazines directory:

Some more game review sites:

Interactive Fiction Bookclub

Interactive Fiction Review Conspiracy

Reviews from Trotting Krips

a3.5 News Groups
Two Usenet or 'news' groups -- and
provide forums where you can ask questions and state opinions about
interactive fiction. (Read the FAQ files for these groups -- see section
a3.3 above -- before posting messages for the first time so that you can
avoid breaching group etiquette or asking questions that have been asked
and answered too often before.)

You can access these newsgroups using your web browser at
(among other places.)

Or you can read these groups using your local ISP's Usenet service using
a Usenet newsreader. Most web browsers such as Netscape include some sort of
Usenet newsreader software or you can use separate specialist software.

Good Usenet newsreader software packages for MS Windows include Forte Free
Agent from

A serviceable MSDOS newsreader is included in the Nettamer package from

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