Version 3.0 -- April 14, 2008
Maintained by Jimmy Maher (

What is SPAG?

SPAG is an informative e-zine devoted to textual interactive fiction and other types of interactive narrative.  It includes reviews, interviews, and feature articles.  SPAG is published on a roughly quarterly basis.

SPAG was founded by G. Kevin Wilson, and is currently edited by Jimmy Maher.

What about graphic adventures?

SPAG has traditionally focused on games whose primary medium is text.  There is, however, a wider universe of interactive storytelling, and SPAG likes to (to thoroughly mix my metaphors) dive into these waters as well from time to time.  If you are interested in writing a review of a graphical game or a feature article on some aspect of interactive narrative that is not traditional IF, feel free to contact the editor to see if your proposal will be a good fit for SPAG.  The main thing to remember is that SPAG is not about kill counts, frames per second, or any of the other traditional videogame metrics.  We are rather all about this brave new medium of storytelling on the computer.

What does SPAG stand for?

As you may have guessed, SPAG is an acronym. It means "The Society for the Promotion of Adventure Games". Originally, the 'P' was for "Preservation". However, in early 1997 a growing consensus that interactive fiction wasn't in immediate danger of extinction any more led to a name change.

Cool. How do I join?

Well, actually you don't. There is no formal Society, just a loose association of the contributors and readers of the SPAG ezine. In a sense, you join SPAG by reading it and/or writing for it.

What is SPAG's format?

Each issue will begin with an editorial and a news section reporting new games and recent developments in the IF community.  After that will come feature articles, interviews, and reviews, in whatever order seems most suitable.

Didn't there used to be a scoreboard or something?

For its first eight years, SPAG featured a scoreboard, a chart listing the scores that SPAG readers gave to various IF games. The scoreboard was discontinued as of issue #29 (June 20th, 2002).

How do I submit an article or review to SPAG?

SPAG welcomes articles on virtually all aspects of textual interactive fiction history, theory, craft, and culture.  It is very likely that SPAG will also be interested in articles and reviews covering other areas of interactive narrative outside the boundaries of traditional textual IF, subject to the guidelines given earlier in this FAQ.  To save yourself some frustration, however, it is best to contact SPAG's editor to enquire whether your proposed article would be a good fit for the magazine before going through the trouble of actually writing it.

SPAG also welcomes reviews of textual interactive fiction games, interesting examples of other forms of interactive narrative, and even books that relate to interactive storytelling.  The easiest way to submit a review is to use the form available from the SPAG home page.  Fill it out as completely as you can, but do not stress over fields you are unsure about.  After submitting this form, you should receive a CCed copy of your submission in your email immediately.  You should then expect a personal acknowledgement from the editor within a few days at the most.  If you do not receive either or both of these confirmations, something may have gone wrong.  By all means, email the editor to inquire.

Articles, reviews, letters and ratings may be sent by conventional email to Jimmy Maher.  Just about any common modern document format is fine.

What is expected from a SPAG review?

A SPAG review should be an intelligent discussion of a piece of interactive fiction, and it should be written in reasonably polished prose. Within those guidelines, all publishable reviews will be accepted as long as they deal with a game that can reasonably be considered textual interactive fiction or that is a noteworthy effort in some other form of interactive narrative. If in doubt whether your subject is appropriate for SPAG, by all means enquire before writing the review.  Reviews of games that have already been reviewed three or more times in SPAG will only be accepted if they make a significant original contribution to the discussion of those games. Authors may not review their own games.

SPAG employs a "no-spoiler" policy for reviews, with the exception of reviews intended for SPAG Specifics (see below). This policy has been stretched a bit in the past, but now that SPAG Specifics exists, the no-spoiler policy will be enforced rather more strictly.

How does a SPAG Specifics review differ from a normal SPAG review?

SPAG Specifics is a small section that appears in some issues of SPAG.  A SPAG Specifics review is more of an in-depth critical reading and analysis of a work of interactive fiction than a conventional review.  As such, there are no restrictions on spoilers, in recognition that avoidance of spoilers can sometimes hinder the detailed examination of a piece of interactive fiction.

What will I get for contributing to SPAG?

SPAG does not pay anything monetarily for contributions.  You will, however, receive the satisfaction of giving something back to the IF community.  For those who perhaps lack the time or ambition to give games or tools to the community but nevertheless enjoy playing IF, SPAG provides a wonderful way to contribute in the form of reviews or articles.  Artists crave feedback on their work, making reviewers almost as important to the community's health as the authors themselves.

Can I submit work to SPAG that I have already published elsewhere?

SPAG may on rare occasions republish a review or article from another source, but original work is vastly preferred.

Can I republish a review or article I wrote for SPAG?

Authors are returned the rights to their work following its first appearance in SPAG.  This means you are free to publish your work elsewhere after its premiere in SPAG.  Note, however, that in submitting your work to SPAG you also grant it the right to host the work on its website in perpetuity.

Must I have completed a game to review it for SPAG?

In general, yes.  You would probably not be impressed by a published movie review from someone who had wandered into the theatre halfway through, or by a book review from someone who had lost interest and quit reading before reaching the end.  An interactive fiction review is really no different.  To give a game a fair shake, the reviewer must have seen it through to the end.

The only exceptions apply to more experimental pieces which perhaps have no traditional ending, or to games which are so bug-ridden as to be uncompletable.  (Whether the latter is even worth your effort as a reviewer when there are so many serious efforts worthy of your attention is of course very much an open question.)

How is SPAG distributed?

Each issue of SPAG is published on the SPAG website at  

A mailing list is maintained for the purpose of notifying SPAG's readers that a new issue is available, for requesting article and review submissions, and for any other necessary communications.  To subscribe, send email to with the following line in the message subject and body:

subscribe spag

To be removed from the list, send an email message to the same address with the following line in the message subject and body:

unsubscribe spag

Where can I get back issues of SPAG?

Back issues are available from the web page, at


Revision History

v 2.0 970917 - FAQ taken over by Magnus Olsson. Major revision.
v 2.1 970918 - Added ADVSYS and ALAN to platform codes.
v 2.2 990820 - FAQ taken over by Paul O'Brian. Minor revision.
v 2.3 991203 - Revision to scoring info and web page address
v 2.4 000925 - Updated submission policy
v 2.5 010925 - Changed GMD references to IF Archive
v 2.6 020617 - Updated FAQ to reflect discontinuation of scoreboard
v 2.7 050720 - FAQ taken over by Jimmy Maher  Revisions to follow.
v 2.8 050810 - Made a few changes to SPAG's editorial focus,  publication schedule, and submission policy.
v 2.9 060716 - Removed information on the old Scoreboard, which has been officially retired from the website.  Added information on using the new web-based form to submit reviews, and made a few other tweaks.    
v 3.0 080418 - Major revisions reflecting new delivery model and editorial policies.
v 3.1 090616 - Tiny update, to point to my new email address.