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.

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