Firsts in IF

From IFWiki

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: all of these "firsts" are merely the potentially earliest games that exhibited this feature; there might be mistakes, oversights, or maybe we just haven't unearthed an earlier game. For instance, Adventure was long held 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: Deadline (1982) [2]
  • First game released with a map: Treasure Hunt (1978) [3]
  • First purchasable hint book: Scott Adams Adventureland (1978) [4]
  • 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 dozen of Scott Adams games, circa 1980 [8]


  • First use of graphics, but only occasional ASCII art: Zork (1977~9), or Stuga (1978), or Aldebaran III (1977-8). [9] [10]
  • First use of graphics to depict each location: likely Atlantean Odyssey (1979?). [11]
  • 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). [12]
  • 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 [18]
  • 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 queer PC: maybe Jeweled Arena (1993) [19]


  • First choice-based, choose-your-line conversation: ??
  • First NPC who can kill the player: ??
  • First game with romanceable NPCs: possibly Farmer's Daughter, but there were lots of pornographic games that might fit this category [20]
  • First queer NPC : Paco in the French Apple II Le crime du parking (1985). Also possibly the first queer character in any video game ever. Anglophone sources often report Vivien Pentreath in Moonmist (1986) [21].

Input method

  • First CYOA book: Consider the Consequences! (Doris Webster and Mary Alden Hopkins; 1930). [22] [23]
  • First use of adverbs in a parser game: ??
  • First free-text conversation in an adventure context: Local Call for Death [24]
  • First parser game with real-time mechanics: perhaps Madness & The Minotaur (1982)
  • First use of choice-based interaction in a parser game: Stuga [25]
  • First IF with clickable elements: possibly Borrowed Time [26]
  • First use of 'cyclable hyperlinks': ??
  • First unclickable hyperlink or unselectable choice: ??


  • First dynamic puzzle generation: Mines [27]
  • 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 game with an impossible puzzle: ??
  • First game with a puzzle where solving it renders the game unwinnable: ??


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

Genre, themes, setting


Adaptations & licences

  • First game inspired by literature: Aldebaran III (1977-8) [34]
  • First game inspired by a movie : I.L. L'intrus (1983), inspired by "Alien"
  • First licensed adaptation of a book into an adventure game: maybe Rendezvous with Rama (1984)
  • First licensed adaptation of a movie into an adventure game: perhaps Rambo II or 007 A View To A Kill, both by Angelsoft in 1985.



  • First game explicitly set in a real-world location: ??
  • First game set on a university campus: Library (1978) by Nat Howard [37]
  • First game set in a hospital: ??
  • First one-room game: Mop and Murder [38]
  • First zero-room game: ??