I guess nobody wants to download interpreters like the TADS Player and Frotz anymore. Even with advancements like Gargoyle which virtually removes the burden of choosing the right interpreter for the right game. Even with volunteers having ported the different interpreters to different platforms, including mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
Being an IF game collector, I’d rather have both options available to players. Not everyone appreciates having to play games online, but having a URL to go to makes it easier for potential players to get into the spirit without having to sort which game should be run by whichever software.
It would also be nice to have zipped copies of web-based games on the Archive for both playing and for record-keeping purposes. A number of games have disappeared during the previous years, where not even the Wayback Machine can retrieve them.
* * *
I remember the first time I played A Mind Forever Voyaging, which was on a rented PC some blocks away from our university. Most PC users were still using Windows 98 then, and the shop I was in was no different. I had read the rave reviews on Home of the Underdogs about the game, and I wanted to play it. I didn’t want to waste time downloading some interpreter for Windows, so I fired up the command prompt, ran the file
amfv.exe and pressed Alt+Enter to make it full-screen.
The rest was history. Eventually I did come to rely on Windows-based interpreters, but nothing beats looking at that screen and reading the opening sentences in grayish fixed-pitch fonts on a blue background.
I can only imagine what the coming years will bring to interactive fiction.
Hopefully there will be less grues. And more brass lanterns.