Text Adventure Games

A long time ago, 12 years if the file timestamps are to be believed I was fiddling around a bit with making an inflation-themed text-based adventure game (or “interactive fiction” as it’s apparently called these days). I checked out the various development systems available at the time. I decided to see what I could do with TADS.

This happened shortly after I wrote An Evening with Holly. So I decided to build a little toy of a game as a gift for Holly and a test for myself. I wanted to see how difficult it was for me implement a basic inflating effect in an IF context.

The resulting game, and I do use the word quite loosely, was very simple. You play the game from Holly’s perspective. There is a ring that will give you the ability to inflate and deflate. That’s it. The only way to end the game is to overinflate, at which point you explode.

Writing regular fiction is hard enough for me. Writing interactive fiction is a whole new level. Even getting this simple game to work was a bit of an ordeal, although it would probably get much easier once I got more familiar with the process. But my adventure didn’t go much farther than that.

Every so often I get the idea to come back to it. Whenever I try out an IF language, I use that original game as a proof of concept. If I can successfully recreate the game before I get frustrated with the language and give up, then perhaps I could actually get through making a real game with it. Over the past decade, I’ve failed every time.

Most recently I tried ADRIFT5. I could probably get it to work with a bit more effort, but I’m still rather confounded as to why you can’t create an array as an object property. I could use a variable instead of a property. That works fine for this case, but it becomes far less elegant a solution if I want to build a larger game with multiple characters that inflate.

There may very well be a solution. I suspect part of the issue is that I originally wrote the game in TADS2, so all problems are solved the TADS way. TADS borrows a lot of its structure from C. I’m a programmer, so that’s familiar to me.

At any rate, I suspect the biggest obstacle ultimately won’t be the choice of language but crafting a good game design. Inflate123 and I were working on one many years ago, but the process fizzled. Perhaps someday.

biggestlugiaever14's picture
I have a question...

Do you have a link to this interactive game anywhere, seems neat when you talk about it that way

LutherVKane's picture
I don't have a link to it. I

I don't have a link to it. I only ever shared it with a few people. It's really not all that interesting.

Blammos6 (not verified)
Hey it doesn't matter for me

Hey it doesn't matter for me anyways, anything that you can inflate and pop in is Ok.

LutherVKane's picture
I managed to get a version of

I managed to get a version of the game working in TADS3. It's extremely simple, but if you want to check it out, you can download it here: Holly.exe

Can't Get It Working

I've got a newfound interest in this topic, and I know this post is three years old, but I was wondering about this game. I can't seem to do much beyond go east to The Deck and west to The Room. I literally cannot do anything else, the game doesn't give me any options. Help?


LutherVKane's picture
There's a ring on the

There's a ring on the dresser. Might be worth investigating.

Inflate123's picture
I just finished a one-room

I just finished a one-room tester in ADRIFT 5 and, as a non-programmer, I found it comfortable to use. I still need to learn more but I am considering giving this a shot for a new inflation story. 

I used to use Java as a

I used to use Java as a hobby, that made most things simple to create, as long as you didn't try graphics. The Java coordinate code system always gave me a splitting headache. But I've made a few short text games with it. I never had the patience to take it farther.

Pre made structure

TinyMU, available online  http://sourceforge.net/projects/tics/ or TinyMUX http://code.google.com/p/tinymux/ does text adventures just fine. Though, you've probably looked at and rejected either.


There's an engine called Inform, which is very powerful, but low-level, using pretty much 100% complete English words.

Inflate123's picture
My understanding is that

My understanding is that Inform is a variation on what the original Infocom writers used. I tried to do some stuff with it and I found it pretty challenging, but then again, I have no programming experience. 

dejected_Xmas's picture
Use Ren'Py, been coding a

Use Ren'Py, been coding a game on it for the past month (not a fetish game) and it's extremely easy to get into.

kairiinflator's picture
Im dumb

I cant figure out how to do anything in the game XD

I suck at writing but decent at drawing!

It's a Swell Life - Infinite Story

I started an interactive fiction story on Infinite-Story.com. Anyone can join in and add whatever they like to the story to make it expand like the characters within it. So far, I'm the only one working on it but I hope someone can spread the word so we can get this thing off the ground. Chech it out if you'd like to contribute. 



A wonderful game, I must say. 8 inhales to pop poor thing. Lovely descriptions!