Difference between revisions of "Firsts in IF"

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Revision as of 18:21, 15 September 2017

Inspired by [1], this page lists some important firsts in the history of Interactive Fiction, be it parser-based or choice-based, along with sources when available.

Note that some of these firsts may not be "real" firsts because we don't know about even earlier games. For instance, Adventure was long believed to be the first (parser-based) adventure game, until Wander was rediscovered in 2015.


  • First game with cover art by a famous illustrator: ??

Release methods

  • First game with feelies: ??
  • First game released with a map: ??
  • First purchasable hint book: ??
  • First game with a hotline for tips: ??


Distribution channels

  • First IF sold at RadioShack: ??
  • First parser game on Steam: ??
  • First choice-based game on Steam: ??
  • First IF with crowdfunding: ??
  • First bundle or compilation of games: ??


  • First use of graphics, but only occasional ASCII art: Zork (1977~9) or Stuga (1978). [4]
  • First use of graphics to depict each location: likely Atlantean Odyssey (1979?). [5]
  • First use of graphics that are not merely illustrations, but are actually needed to play the game: Mystery House (designer: Roberta Williams, implementor: Ken Williams, publisher: On-Line Systems; 1980). [6]
  • First game with video cutscene: ??
  • First game with pictures with clickable elements: ??
  • First game with music composed by a famous artist: Bad Max (1985), with music by Alan Parsons project




  • First defined player-character: Aldebaran III [10]
  • First PC suffering from amnesia: ??
  • First unreliable narrator: ??
  • First game with a twist on the PC's identity: ??
  • First non-human PC: ??
  • First PC who cannot get killed: ??
  • First game with selectable PC gender: ??
  • First character selection screen: ?? (Note: the 1930 CYOA "Consider the Consequences!" has three different sections corresponding to three different stories, which has been referred to as the first character selection screen).


  • First choice-based, choose-your-line conversation: ??
  • First NPC who can kill the player: ??
  • First romanceable NPC: ??

Input method

  • First use of adverbs in a parser game: ??
  • First free-text conversation in an adventure context: Local Call for Death [11]
  • First use of choice-based interaction in a parser game: Stuga [12]
  • First use of 'cyclable hyperlinks': ??
  • First unclickable hyperlink or unselectable choice: ??


  • First dynamic puzzle generation: Mines [13]
  • First game with 'push the key in then recover it' puzzle: ??
  • First game with 'fill the jars with a precise amount' puzzle: ??
  • First game with a pun-based puzzle: ??
  • First puzzle that can only be solved by looking at an in-game picture: ??
  • First time-sensitive puzzle: ??


  • First adventure game with several endings (other than death): ??
  • First game trapping the player in an endless loop: ??

Genre, themes, setting



  • First game set during a historical event: ??
  • First game (or at least the first widely distributed text adventure) about sexuality: Softporn Adventure (Chuck Benton, publisher: On-Line Systems; 1981; Apple II). [16]
  • First game about queer sexuality: ??


  • First game explicitly set in a real-world location: ??
  • First game set on a university campus: Library (1978) by Nat Howard [17]
  • First game set in a hospital: ??