The IFTF is delighted to announce that we are opening our very first grant program! We are seeking to disburse small amounts of money to projects serving the interactive fiction community. Projects might include the development or maintenance of tools for writing and sharing IF, educational initiatives to promote IF, or research projects that will shed new light on IF history. We will consider proposals for any type of project that advances the culture and artform of interactive fiction!

The total pool for this round of the grant program is $3,000. Individual proposals can request up $1,000 and must request at least $150.

Please refer to the full guidelines before applying. Feel free to reach out to the Grants Administration Committee with any questions:!

The application portal is now live and will remain open for submissions through the deadline of October 27, 2023. Submit applications here.

Please note: this is very much a trial run for us! The response and interest that we get from this call of proposals, as well as how the process goes and feedback from applicants, will inform our approach, i.e. subsequent rounds, future funding, etc.

The Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation is currently seeking applicants for its board of directors!

The board is responsible for IFTF’s strategic leadership, making sure that all its programs fulfill the organization’s mission and adhere to its values, while also evaluating new projects and directions. Joining the board is also an excellent way to earn experience in leadership, business and philanthropy while building relationships with leaders in narrative gaming.

Volunteer terms on the board are two years in length and represent a highly visible opportunity to advocate for, support and preserve interactive fiction as an art form. Serving on the board does not require previous board or nonprofit experience, and requires as little as two or three hours per month in time commitment.

IFTF leadership strongly believes in increasing the diversity of the organization, and anyone throughout the interactive and hypertext community is welcome to nominate themselves through a handy submission form

While anyone is encouraged to nominate themselves, the board also welcomes nominations on behalf of others. Feel free to share the open call with contacts you think would be a good fit. If you know someone who would be a great board member and you think would appreciate the team reaching out to them, please email

The deadline to submit is September 30, 2023. Afterward, the current IFTF board of directors and advisory board will review applicants through November 15, 2023. You can find more information—including duties, expectations, qualifications and full details of the application timeline—in the submission form.

On March 14, 2023, Justin Bortnick was elected president of IFTF by the board of directors. Justin is now the second person to fill the role, succeeding IFTF co-founder Jason McIntosh.

Justin is an IFTF veteran, having worked on the NarraScope committee for several years and serving as one of the event’s original organizers. Outside of IFTF, Justin teaches in the University of Pittsburgh’s Digital Narrative and Interactive Design Program, where his research focuses on how industrial game design methodologies have been repurposed in a new era of online misinformation and propaganda. He has also worked as a writer and designer on a number of alternate reality games and video games, including Frog Factions 2, an IndieCade 2017 Nominee.

What will Justin focus on in the role? “My primary goal is to make sure things keep running smoothly,” he says. “But more broadly, I’d like to build stronger networks with other organizations and increase IFTF’s presence at events like IndieCade, GDC and others in the interactive fiction and gaming space.”

Now celebrating our second-ever president, we look forward to new possibilities in our mission to ensure the ongoing maintenance, improvement, and preservation of the tools and services crucial to the creation and distribution of interactive fiction.

You can learn more about IFTF’s leadership, or join former president Jason McIntosh in celebrating Justin’s new role over on the Interactive Fiction Forum.

I have fond memories of visiting my local library as a kid, checking out a ballooning list of books and borrowing CD-ROMs of some favorite PC games that my family otherwise couldn’t afford. The library was (and still is in my adult life) an essential resource for discovering new worlds and the people who create them—but across the board, they tend to lack detailed archives of interactive fiction in their catalogs, despite extensive representation of other media.

Enter Colin Post, assistant professor of library and information science at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, who is “part of a team conducting research to develop a licensing framework designed specifically to facilitate the collection of independent-made digital games in libraries.” Colin has announced a series of focus group sessions, in association with NarraScope, that asks independent game creators at any experience level to share their thoughts on collecting narrative games in libraries.

There will be two virtual sessions: Wednesday July 12 from 7-9pm ET and Tuesday July 18 from 12-2pm ET. Both sessions will involve “a listening and discussion session with other independent game creators on a number of issues critical to licensing games for library collections.” Notes from these discussions will be shared on the IntFiction forum for those who are interested in the topic but unable to attend.

Why Collecting Narrative Games Matters

“While libraries have long collected games released on physical media, libraries are currently very limited in their ability to collect and provide access to digital-only games distributed through online storefronts or via creator or community websites,” Colin shared at NarraScope 2022. This practice becomes all the more difficult as digital becomes the primary means of distribution for media like games.

Colin continued to build on these concerns at NarraScope this year, focusing on promoting discovery and access through cataloging methods. And this is key, because while IFTF has built robust archives like the Interaction Fiction Archive and the Interactive Fiction Database, they’re more likely to be used by those who are already devotees to the artform. Library collections, meanwhile, can circulate to different and broader communities.

“By cataloging narrative games, we’re upholding these works—and their creators—as part of the bibliographic universe,” Colin noted in his recent talk. For example, catalog information could link a reader interested in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with Shelley Jackson’s hypertext work Patchwork Girl, aiding in interactive fiction’s discovery.

How to Participate

You can find all the details for Colin’s focus group sessions here. Both sessions are free and open to anyone interested in attending, but advance signup is required.

It’s that time of year again: registration for IFComp 2023 is now open! IFComp is our annual interactive fiction competition and is open for anyone to participate as either an entrant or a judge. Submissions are open until September 1, 2023, so polish up your game and hurry to the IFComp website to get your entry started.

About IFComp

IFComp, which began in 1995, welcomes all kinds of text-driven digital stories and games, making them freely available to encourage the creation, play, and discussion of interactive fiction. Here’s how it works: Over a six-week period, judges play as many entries as they can, awarding a score from 1 and 10 to each of the games they play. A game’s final score is averaged based on all the scores it’s received.

Like any good competition, there are prizes at stake, with the top two-thirds or so of entries eligible for a modest cash prize. In addition to awards based on judges’ scoring, we’ve got a small handful of superlatives as well. The Miss Congeniality Award is a secondary competition that allows authors to vote on one another’s entries. Meanwhile, the Rising Star Award goes to the highest-rated game by a first-time entrant, while the Golden Banana of Discord goes to entries with the highest standard of distribution among its ratings.

Important Dates for IFComp 2023

If you plan to participate in IFComp 2023, keep the following dates in mind:

  • September 1: Registrations close
  • September 28: Authors upload their games
  • October 1: Games are released to the public and judging begins
  • November 15: All votes are submitted; results are announced and prizes are awarded shortly after

Keep up with all IFComp-related news over on the IFComp website. We can’t wait to see what the community creates this year!

IFTF’s 2021 Transparency report is online, summarizing the organization’s activity over the previous calendar year, including its financial income and outflow.

From the summary:

IFTF took 2021 to reorganize amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s second year.

While the decision not to hold a NarraScope event in 2021 led to an overall muted public tone, a new program to manage the IFDB joined IFTF’s other programs that continued to maintain and improve IF technology services year-round.

IFTF significantly modified the organization’s core structure, inviting several new directors onto the board, and establishing a new steering council.

Find the whole report on our website.

We’ve just added a sneaky new feature to the IF Archive and IFDB. Sneaky, but useful!

Take a look at the Archive directory of Twine games. You’ll see a “View contents” link on every entry. Select one of them and hit the “Open” button — or just select the HTML file. Presto, you’re playing the game.

This trick works for any web-playable game on the Archive — not just Twine. In fact, you can browse inside zip and tar files anywhere on the Archive. Source code packages, collections of walkthroughs, whatever you want.

This seems small, but it’s a key upgrade. HTML-based games are generally zipped on the Archive, for easy download and to avoid possible scripting attacks. But this made them hard to play. Seems silly for an archive of games, right? Now that problem is solved. (We avoid the scripting issue with domain name magic.)

The upshot is that the Archive is now viable as a game hosting site as well as a game archiving site.

But there’s more! With the help of this feature, IFDB is now able to offer its “Play On-Line” button for zipped-up Z-code, Glulx, and TADS games as well. If you want numbers, 98 of the top 100 free games on IFDB are now playable in-browser with one click.

These are good numbers. It’s a huge jump in making IF games approachable.

If you’re interested in the techy details, see the Unbox source code on GitHub. Thanks to Dannii for implementing this project, and Dan Fabulich for the IFDB integration.

More good news: as of the beginning of the year, IFWiki is officially an IFTF project.

IFWiki was founded in 2004 by David Cornelson to record the history and culture of the IF community. It was quickly adopted as a complement to the IF Archive (which stores games). (And, a few years later, IFDB, which collects game bibliographic data and reviews.) IFWiki has continued as a community-edited resource for almost two decades under the management of Peter Seebach, David Cornelson, and Carl Muckenhoupt.

Over the holiday break, discussion among the community editors and volunteers led to the idea of moving the site to IFTF hosting. (See thread, thread.) Everyone was on board with the plan, and that’s what we’re here for, right? So we got to work.

We’re still cranking through the paperwork of a formal IFTF IFWiki committee. But the good part is done! IFWiki now has a new server, a current version of MediaWiki, and a variety of updates to its content and presentation.

For a start, take a look at the new summary boxes on interpreter and platform wiki pages. These are drawn from a wiki database which can be easily updated and extended. See this post for more info.

Watch for more updates, and more active editing and support, in the future.

Our enormous gratitude to Jonathan for getting this ball rolling, shepherding the process, and agreeing to be our IFWiki committee chair.

These four sites — IFWiki, IFDB, the IF Archive, and the IntFiction forum — are the backbone of the IF community’s long-standing commitment to preservation, accessibility, and public awareness. We’re proud to have them all under one roof and secured for future. For discussion and requests, see our new forum section on IFTF resources.

(Speaking of preservation, did you know that the IF Archive hosts public data dumps of the other three sites? One of IFTF’s goals is to not be a single point of failure.)

(Oh, and IFDB just got its 10000th contributed review. This has nothing to do with IFWiki but we just had to say!)

And, of course, thanks to you all for your continued support of IFTF.

On May 1, 2021, IFTF’s board of directors more than doubled its size with the election of five new members. This fulfills the task the board gave itself at the start of the year to grow and redefine its role within the organization. As the executive body that provides strategic oversight to IFTF and its various programs, the board today aims to keep a broader, more diverse, and more regularly rotating membership than it held over the organization’s first five years.

Have a look at our updated board page, and meet the new directors! They include Hugo Labrande, Jan DeLozier, Jedidjah Julia Noomen, Kofi Oduro, and Lydia Pauly. The five represent a broad swath of personal and professional backgrounds, representing many different approaches to the study and creation of interactive narrative.

Among a wealth of new experience and expertise, the new directors add a refreshing international perspective to IFTF’s board as well. Since its founding, all of IFTF’s directors have been American, and almost all lived near the organization’s home city of Boston. With membership now stretching between Western Canada and Europe, the board now stands more able to serve an interactive fiction community that has long spanned the whole globe.

IFTF has published its 2020 transparency report as a six-page PDF.

From the summary:

As a small nonprofit of modest goals and thin overhead costs, IFTF spent the world-wide annus horribilis of 2020 able to keep all its extant public-service programs running more or less as usual. All the programs found success sticking with their respective missions, though the conference program did face some particularly significant challenges.

IFTF itself didn’t grow or change in any obvious fashion, but did use the energy of suddenly ubiquitous global teleconferencing to engage in the most intense long-term planning since the organization’s founding four years earlier. These discussions led to some fairly radical decisions about the maturing nonprofit’s ideal structure, the effects of which we expect to see unfold in 2021.