The 2017 Spring Thing* Festival of Interactive Fiction

* or Fall Fooferal, for our Southern Hemisphere Friends

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Connect with Spring Thing on Twitter at @SpringThingFest

We think games are for everyone.

Playing the Games

The 2017 Spring Thing Festival of Interactive Fiction featured twenty-two new stories submitted by authors working across the spectrum of text games. Authors chose whether to place their games in the Main Festival, where they are up for ribbons and prizes, or the Back Garden, with looser entry requirements allowing for more experimental or work-in-progress entries.

Main Festival

Back Garden

(Almost) all entries in one archive (86 MB zip): [Download from]
Not Quite A Sunset (138 MB zip): [Download from]

Festival Readme and Changelog of updated games

Anyone is welcome to submit a game to . The organizer reserves the right to not show a game they feel is inappropriate for the festival, but entries are not otherwise vetted, and their contents and opinions reflect the views of the original author, not the as a whole.

How to Play Parser IF

S features all kinds of text games, but two of the major divisions are between what are sometimes called choiced-based games (where you interact by clicking links) and parser-based games (where you interact by typing commands).

To those unfamiliar with the parser, it can seem confusing or intimidating. Here are some resources for getting started:

To play some parser IF offline, the downloaded story file needs to be opened with a program called an interpreter, much like a .doc file needs Microsoft Word to open. Clicking on the story format (next to the download link) will take you to instructions for finding the right interpreter to play a particular game.

In the Main Festival

Back Then: A Story Driven By Memories
Back Then Janelynn Camingue Twine interactive text-based Memories can be precious or terrible things to have. They can awaken at any moment, whether in a dream or staring out the window in solitude. This game is fictional. Play Online Download (95.7 KB Twine)
Bobby and Bonnie by Xavid
Bobby and Bonnie Xavid Inform/Glulx short kid-friendly map Bobby and Bonnie by Xavid is a winner of the 2017 Spring Thing Audience Choice ribbon. A light children's-story-ish adventure inexplicably starring rabbits. Play Online Download (3.96 MB Inform/Glulx)
The Bony King of Nowhere by Luke A. Jones
The Bony King of Nowhere Luke A. Jones Quest short classic parser text adventure contains occasional swearing This is a relaxed small(ish) text adventure in the classic parser style (but with a much wider vocabulary), and also with a modest attempt at humour! After growing up with text adventures in the 80's, I wanted to make the kind of game that I would have enjoyed playing. Play OnlineDownload (662 KB Quest)
brevity quest by chris longhurst
brevity quest Chris Longhurst twine micro fantasy D&D tongue-in-cheek it's a quest! Play Online Download (2.21 MB Twine)
A short RPG where almost everyone is a playable character.
The First Quest Matthew Mayr (with some help from Mike Bryant) Twine short fantasy funny A young child who desperately wants to be a hero is given a magical artifact allowing them to be anyone they want to be, literally. They use this power to try and make a name for them self as they embark on a whimsical journey. This is my first foray in the world of writing and storytelling. As you can tell, I may have gotten bogged down in the scope and process of things, but I learned a lot. Enjoy! Play Online Download (69.8 KB Twine)
A Fly On The Wall by Peregrine Wade
A Fly On The Wall Peregrine Wade Ink short surreal comedy action replayable comes with theme music Across the city, strange events are taking place. But you are nothing more than a fly on the wall... or are you? Play Online
Get Seen Tonight by Hannah Powell-Smith
Get Seen Tonight Hannah Powell-Smith Texture science fiction lesbians crime romance A cop falls for her torch singer informant. What's gone wrong tonight? This game was inspired by a number of songs by Dessa, notably Dixon's Girl and Alibi.

Many thanks to Irina Goodwin for the cover art, and to Suzan Bator, Enrico Cioni, Eleanor Hingley, and Fay Ikin for testing.
Play Online Download (4.34 MB Texture) Cover Art by Irina Goodwin
GNOEM by Joyce Lin & Matthew Reed
GNOEM Joyce Lin & Matthew Reed Twine micro puzzleless easy kid-friendly fantasy cute You are a college student trying to study for finals when a gnome with big dreams recruits you to solve his problems, whisking you away to a magical place with eccentric characters. A whimsical game made for class and for fun Play Online Download (44.6 KB Twine)
Guttersnipe: Carnival of Regrets by Bitter Karella
Guttersnipe: Carnival of Regrets Bitter Karella Quest short comedy 1920s humor street urchins carnival clowns lovecraftian monstrosities body horror puzzles Guttersnipe: Carnival of Regrets by Bitter Karella is a winner of the 2017 Spring Thing Alumni's Choice ribbon. Guttersnipe: Carnival of Regrets is a humorously grotesque (or grotesquely humorous) game about a circa 1929 street urchin and her pet sewer rat trying to survive a trip through a dark carnival full of sin, secrets, and murderous clowns. I'm obsessed with 1920s street urchins, awful monsters, and low brow grand guignol comedy. This game unites all three of my passions, so I hope you enjoy it too! Play Online Download (9.72 MB Quest) Other Games by Bitter Karella
Happy Pony Valley Riding School by Lynda Clark
Happy Pony Valley Riding School Lynda Clark Twine short comedy occasional strong language Just because these ponies can talk, doesn't mean they have anything to say to you... I usually work in ChoiceScript and this was my attempt at modelling a simpler version of a CS 'relationship system' in Twine, with varying degrees of success. Play Online Download (1.38 MB Twine)
If You
If You're Here Serene Sherman Twine includes graphics abuse strong language lgbtq When a romance starts to blacken, is it your place to intervene? Lindy navigates her tense relationship with her stepbrother and her strong friendship with her teammate as she watches their relationship grow more and more messy. Words hold a power I greatly respect: the power over one's emotions. A well-told story can tug at the heartstrings, tickle the funny bone, or simply grip a reader so tightly in their investment in the characters. Thus I've always thought stories are a powerful tool for exploring the shadows of human nature as well as the challenging issues of society - or challenging society itself. I wanted to tell a small story about something important, and if it could bring something new or something hopeful to the mind of one person, then it did all I could ask for. Play Online Download (435 KB Twine)
Ishmael by Jordan Magnuson
Ishmael Jordan Magnuson Twine short puzzleless has images has sound open source A short game about displacement. Play Online Download (43.4 MB Twine)
Niney by Daniel Spitz
Niney Daniel Spitz Inform/Z short Niney by Daniel Spitz is a winner of the 2017 Spring Thing Audience Choice ribbon. Explore the nature of relationships and identity on a weird train. We all ask ourselves, "Who am I?" One of the ways we try to answer this question is by examining the effects we have on other people. We look at our social interactions, our relationships, to assure ourselves that we are smart, we are good, we are loved. What if these fleeting interactions were all we had? Who would that make us? What would we make of ourselves?

I'm interested in using the parser in less corporeal ways. Language is this rich thing that can tersely express notions that no other medium can. Aspects of the mind, intentions, metaphors. Niney is my first IF, and my first attempt at exploring this territory of possibilities. It's idiosyncratic, rough around the edges, a bit repetitive, but I'm proud of it. I think it introduces an interesting parser-based mechanic, and does its best to develop that and show what it can do.
Play Online Download (392 KB Inform/Z)
You have made it off the shore into the water, onto this tiny boat. This raft is not big enough for all the passengers, nor, you fear, strong enough to make the journey. The waters are inviting and seductively deadly. You are lowest of the low in the age of nation states but citizen number one of the globe: a refugee.
Refugee Mark C. Marino Ink short politics literature text eliterature sirens Nine refugees embark on an odyssey aboard a raft, exchanging tales of jealous gods and proxy wars while trying to reach safety. The global political forces are playing out in a contemporary battle with ancient echoes. Refugees, the victims of the gods' proxy war, may seem to be in the lowest state of the Earth, but their saga is epic. In this piece, I'm meditating on this global allegory through ancient iconography, asking players to take one of nine iconic positions in the fundamental crisis of our global moment. Play Online Download (55.3 KB Ink)
Ted Strikes Back by Anssi Raisanen
Ted Strikes Back Anssi Raisanen ALAN 3 short You're Ted Paladin, text adventure hero, and it's the first day of your summer holiday! However, your arch enemy has other plans for you. Download (106 KB ALAN 3) Mac DownloadWindows DownloadWalkthroughReadme

In the Back Garden

Back Garden games do not take part in ribbons or prize nominations, and can be more experimental or excerpts from unreleased games (which are highlighted in yellow).

Balefires Burning by Cassandra Wolf
Balefires Burning Cassandra Wolf Twine short excerpt teen fiction witch magic pagan novel coming of age mobile-friendly no puzzles Share the story of 15-year-old Tansy, who is on the verge of becoming an adult and a witch. In an isolated community where magic is an everyday occurrence and otherworldly beings walk the woods, you face challenges and learn to cope with your newly-awakened visionary senses. This is the first chapter of a novel written with interactive elements, where you (the first person narrator) choose your reactions to the events of the story. Play Online Download (111 KB Twine)
A backwards adventure into being pushed around less.
Buck the Past Andrew Schultz Inform/Glulx long A game with word puzzles and weird items and, eventually, self-actualization. While this is in the spirit of Problems Compound and Slicker City, there's no reason you have to play either to appreciate this. Play Online Download (301 KB Inform/Glulx) HintsMap
The Master waits atop the mountain.
Enlightened Master Ben Kidwell and Maevele Straw Inform/Z short puzzleless philosophical Years of questing have brought you to the mountain where you will find the Enlightened Master. Play Online Download (103 KB Inform/Z)
Play GlulxPlay Squiffy
A Fly On The Wall, or An Appositional Eye by Nigel Jayne
A Fly On The Wall, or An Appositional Eye Nigel Jayne Inform/Glulx Squiffyshort horror mystery The Harrison Mansion is closing after 45 years of delighting its visitors with collections of the weird and recreations of the macabre. The night before, the Fortean Society of New England gathers in the haunt to celebrate its history and investigate its reputation as a real house of horrors. You volunteer to take a shift in the Fly eye, a room with five monitors that watch the most haunted corners within the house. You can't watch all five simultaneously, though, so what exactly will you see? The author has provided two versions of this game: the Glulx parser-based version, and the Squiffy link-based one. Download Glulx (5 MB Glulx) Download Squiffy (10 MB Squiffy)
left/right by chandler groover
left/right chandler groover Inform/Glulx micro choice polka dots pick one Play Online Download (440 KB Inform/Glulx [browser only])
Not Quite a Sunset - a hypertext opera by Kyle Rowan
Not Quite a Sunset -
a hypertext opera
Kyle Rowan Twine short excerpt music sci-fi puzzleless sunflowers On an orbital space station in a distant star system, Dr. Sara Reyes leads a small team tasked with surveying a planet for potential settlement. A science-fiction story set to an original musical score. 'Not Quite a Sunset' began as my dissertation project, investigating how a listener might be able to influence the plot (and by extension the music) of an opera through their choices. Hypertext seemed a natural medium to facilitate the choices of an individual listener, and the resulting piece is essentially a story with a soundtrack. Because every passage is set against and often timed to coordinate with music, headphones are recommended. This version for the 2017 Spring Thing Festival is a preview of the first two chapters; the full piece will be released in Summer 2017. Play Online Download (145 MB Twine)
...the shadows were long in the hour of night, and in the darkness you couldn't see...
The Weight of a Soul Chin Kee Yong Inform/Glulx long excerpt parser mystery suspense fantasy steampunk horror In a world of arcane mysteries, a young doctor's apprentice unravels a conspiracy most grim. This is a mystery/suspense parser game inspired by the likes of Anchorhead and Fallen London. It isn't currently finished, but there's a solid vertical slice of finished content that takes close to 2 hours to complete. Please enjoy.

Content warning: This story features graphic imagery and morbid themes.

Known bug: After examining some dead bodies with the endoscope, you can't exit the endoscopy by typing >out as intended. You can work around this by attempting any action "out of endoscopy," such as >jump or >inventory, which will automatically pull you out of it.
Play Online Download (959 KB Inform/Glulx) Github mirror

Platform Instructions

If a game does not have a "play online" link, or if you'd prefer to download and play offline, here are instructions for each kind of story format.

ALAN 3: You can download precompiled binaries for Mac or Windows from the links in the game description. If you prefer, you can open the .a3c story file in an interpreter that supports it. ALAN interpreters for various platforms can be downloaded here. [format details]

HTML: Open the .html file in any modern web browser.†

Inform (Glulx): You'll need to download the story files for these games at the links above, and you'll also need a interpreter for Glulx. Lectrote is a good cross-platform interpreter. [format details]

Inform (Z): You'll need to download the story files for these games at the links above, and you'll also need a interpreter for z-code. Lectrote is a good cross-platform interpreter. [format details]

Ink: Open the .html file in any modern web browser.† [format details]

Quest: You can play these stories online, or if you have a Windows PC, run them locally by downloading Quest for Windows. [format details]

Squiffy: Open the .html file in any modern web browser.† [format details]

Texture: Open the .html file in any modern web browser.† [format details]

Twine: Open the .html file in any modern web browser.† [format details]

For offline play of browser-based formats, note that the Chrome browser's default security settings may prevent these games from running correctly: use a different browser for these, such as Firefox or Safari.

Prize Ribbons

Main Festival games in the 2017 could be nominated for two prize ribbons: an Audience Choice ribbon, and an Alumni's Choice ribbon voted on by prior participants.

The ribbons for the 2017 were awarded to: