Slyfoot (slyfoot) wrote in gimpgamers,

Interactive Fiction Games

Hello folks, this is my first post.  I'm glad to see a community like this and I hope it succeeds.

I am legally blind and deaf, with enough vision to see the computer if I use large fonts.  Unfortunately, though, my hearing is too impaired to use any text-to-speech software such as JAWS.  My own personal favorite types of games are trivia games, chess, and interactive fiction games (otherwise known as text adventure games).  I want to focus on the interactive fiction games for now.

Interactive Fiction (IF) or Text Adventure games are games that are text based.  Sometimes an IF game will use graphics, but the vast majority of them do not.  Examples of popular Interactive Fiction games would be games like Zork (which can be downloaded here) and the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy game by Infocom.  There are interpreters that can help visually impaired people play these games.  First I want to mention DOS Frotz and Windows Frotz and WinFrotz.  These are interpreters for interpreting Inform interactive fiction games, otherwise known as Z-Code games.  The nice thing about DOS Frotz is that it comes with a switch (-d 2) to play interactive games with a nice large CGA font.  And both Windows Frotz and WinFrotz will allow you to adjust the fonts and colors to whatever you like.  I like to use reverse text, such as bright cyan or bright white text on a black background, and both Windows Frotz and WinFrotz handle this beautifully.

You can choose from literally hundreds of free adventure games at The IF-Archive and Baf's Guide to the IF Archive .  Also of note is the Interactive Fiction section on the Underdogs Abandonware site, but please be aware that in order to download games on Underdogs it is required to enter in a code off of a graphic, and there is no sound alternative to these codes.  So visually impaired people may need to use a magnification program and totally blind people may want someone to help them download games from Underdogs.  This is unfortunate, but given the large selection of games to download on Underdogs, it is well worth pestering someone to help you to get the games you want.

In order to use Frotz, WinFrotz or Windows Frotz to play any of these z-code games, you would use these programs to open up the game file. Usually this will be either a *.DAT file or a file with a .z# extension, such as *.z5 or *.z8 for example.

I am interested in finding out whether DOS Frotz works well with JAWS for DOS and whether WinFrotz or Windows Frotz works well with JAWS for Windows so that I can know whether to recommend these interpreters and Z-code games to totally blind gamers.  There are other IF games to play besides Z-code games (such as HTML TADS) but I do not have much experience with these interactive fiction games yet.

Happy gaming.

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