Ideas For Games

From IFWiki

Some random ideas which may inspire creators of IF (being aware of IF Cliches ...)

Settings and Genres

See also discussions about genres, themes and types of IF on the newsgroup
See also TV Settings

  • Existing categories (mostly from Baf's Guide)
    • Adaptation, Allegory, Beginner's, Children's, Collegiate, Educational, Epic, Espionage, Fantasy (Arthurian, Cave Crawl, Eastern, Mythological, Tolkeinesque, Zorkian), Historical, Horror (Haunted House, Kaiju, Lovecraftian, Vampire), Humor, Legal / Forensic, Mystery / Detective, No Inventory, Observational, One Room Game, Pirates, Pornographic, RPG, Religious, Romance, Science Fiction (Alien Visitation, Space Exploration, Time Travel), Seasonal, Simulation, Slice of life, Superhero, Surreal, Travel, Western, Wordplay
  • Interesting locations
    • Under water, in the air, up in the trees, precariously balanced on something
    • Jungle, volcano, desert, ice and snow, mountains, chasms, swampland, lakes and rivers, rising waters, floating city
    • Mines, quarry, tunnels, ice caverns, glaciers
    • Nuclear wasteland, ruins, perfectly preserved town, artificially recreated town
    • Islands, reefs, secluded valley, paradise / seemingly perfect place, easily damaged / disturbed place
    • Space craft, odd gravitational fields
    • Inside another creature (cf. movie The Incredible Journey)
    • Mansion, castle, citadel, pyramid, tower
    • Inside a computer
    • A few locations don't follow the rules of physics/logic ("anti-logic zone")


  • Unusual PC
    • See also Games with Animal Protagonists .. Games with Robot Protagonists
    • Limited or different kinds of senses (blindness, sonar, short term prediction of the future)
    • Special abilities: magic, superpowers, specialist skills. Using these may be at a cost, or may draw unwelcome attention (cf. using the ring's invisibility in Lord of the Rings)
    • PC is someone who would normally be the enemy
    • PC is unimportant / powerless in the normal scheme of things (eg. a child)
    • Huge, tiny or amorphous character
    • Inanimate object
    • Strange creature that nobody understands
    • Allow the player a choice
  • Multiple PCs
    • Player controls a group of characters who must cooperate to achieve a goal (cf. Suspended)
    • Player has limited control over change of character (Dr Jeckyl & Mr Hyde), or can't become the same character again
    • Player controls multiple PCs that all act on the same commands the player types (for example if you type GO NORTH then all PCs will attempt to go north, and the ones that can't will stay in the same place without moving)
  • No PC
    • Player has no physical form, but may influence characters in the story

Plot Ideas

See also The Big List of RPG Plots .. The 36 Basic Plots .. TV Plots

  • Interesting events
    • Natural events
      • Storm, blizzard, avalanche
      • Famine, floods, earthquakes, fire, hail, wind, sandstorm
      • Eclipse, comet / meteor, collision of bodies
      • Atmosphere is changing (poisonous, or less breathable air)
    • Other events
      • Gravity flips around
  • Creatures
    • Baby creature (maybe orphaned)
    • Hibernating / dormant creature
    • Wounded animal
    • Invisible
  • Encounters with creatures
    • PC comes across tracks of creature, or realises he is being hunted
    • Creature mistakenly thinks PC is one of its kind (eg. mother, child, rival male)
    • (Annoyingly) follows PC around, giving away PC's location
    • PC helps creature, and creature later remembers and helps PC
    • PC encounters baby creature first, then its (big) mother appears to protect its young
    • Creature is attracted to something PC is carrying (unknowingly)
    • Creature attacks PC
    • Creature attacks PC because they think the PC is someone else than who they really are
    • Creature attempts to help PC but does something wrong accidentally
    • Creature guards a location, but allows the PC to enter in certain circumstances


  • Lasers passing through color filters
  • Puzzles having to do with the parser, the standard libraries, etc
  • Determining what is happening inside somewhere you can't see by observing what the effect outside is
  • Puzzles that are the opposite of what is normally expected, such as a room being dark actually helping you because it is dark (rather than having to light up the room to solve the puzzle, the way to solve the puzzle is to keep the room dark!)
  • Moving walls
  • Conveyor belts
  • Hacking/hacker


  • An unreliable narrator, possibly antagonistic or merely uninformed
  • A PC with a mind of his own (may disagree with player's commands)
  • Nonstandard perspective (past tense, first/third person, etc)
  • Wordplay