Held annually since 2002, Spring Thing is a smaller, more informal counterweight to the busier fall Interactive Fiction Competition.
Originally a ranked competition for parser IF, the Thing today puts the focus more on bringing authors together to celebrate new text games in many different formats: choice-based stories, gamebooks, hypertext fictions, visual novels, text adventures, narrative roguelikes, and wild new experiments.
Spring Thing especially welcomes diverse voices and populations traditionally underrepresented in gaming, including women, people of color, queer folks, and blind, neuro-diverse, or disabled creators. People from all walks of life should feel encouraged to participate as players, authors, or reviewers.
Games in the Main Festival can be nominated for two "ribbons": an Audience Choice ribbon, which anyone can nominate a game for, and an Alumni's Choice ribbon given by past participants. Prize donors also gift fun, unique prizes, which every entrant has a chance to receive.
Welcome! From the rest of the site you can find out how to submit an entry, play the games, or donate a prize.
There are a few minor rules and conduct clarifications for this year's Thing.
- Depending on how many alumni vote, there may be multiple Alumni's Choice ribbons. If there is a tie in alumni nominations between the Audience Choice winner and another game, the Alumni ribbon will go to the other game. The organizer (as an alumni) reserves the right to cast a vote in the case of a three- or more way tie.
- We have clarified that Main Festival games should be digital interactive fictions; more experimental text games are welcome in the Back Garden.
- We have added the guideline (though not an official rule) that authors of a game in the festival should avoid reviewing other festival games until the festival has closed.
Starting in 2015, the Thing changed formats. The current requirements for entry can be found on the Submit page.
Looking for another event to enter text games in? The Interactive Fiction Competition is the oldest regular event for IF games. Have just the start of a game? Try IntroComp.
Looking for tools to make text games? There are plenty. For parser-style games, try Inform 7, TADS, or Quest. For node-based hyperfiction projects, consider Twine, Squiffy, Raconteur, or (for multi-player worlds) Seltani. Want a choice-based structure like classic gamebooks? Check out ChoiceScript, ChooseYourStory.com, or inklewriter (or its code-based cousin ink). The visual novel engine Ren'Py can help tell stories about characters and conversation. Some newer systems include StoryStylus and Texture.
Need a community? Check out IntFiction for forums, or the Interactive Fiction Database and IF Wiki to find games to play and learn about craft. Planet IF aggregates posts about text games, and you can chat with like-minded folks at ifMUD or the Euphoria IF Group. Many of the tools listed above have their own forums and networks, too: click through to find out more.
Interactive fiction games can be enjoyed by blind players with a little care from authors. Check out audiogames.net for forums and a resources page, or Includification for more tips on making games more accessible generally; the accessibility for blind players IFWiki page also has some good links to more info.
The Spring Thing would like to thank the following people:
- Adam Cadre, for starting it;
- Greg Boettcher, for organizing and running it from 2004 to 2013;
- Duncan Bowsman, Neil Butters, Nick Turner, and Jonathan Blask for their help validating this year's entries;
- the interactive fiction community, for advice, support, and incredible games;
- the prize donors, for their generosity.