Resources by Grade/Age Level

The various resources here are generously donated and (where appropriate) maintained by their authors. If you have tutorial materials that you would like to contribute, either for inclusion here or as a link to your own site, please contact Emily Short (emshort@mindspring.com).

Middle School (US grades 6-8, ages 11-13)

Instructional Materials

Inform 7 Handbook for Younger Authors, by Jim Aikin. Still a work of progress in April 2009, but a sizable manual written for younger readers, covering most of the basic tasks involved in developing IF, and introducing the capabilities of a number of extensions, as well.

An introduction to IF, by Brendan Desilets. A brief introduction to the concept of interactive fiction, written to kids in the 10-13 range, along with common vocabulary for interacting with games.

Inform Tutorial, by Brendan Desilets. The tutorial introduces room creation and description, object creation, rules for printing a prologue and ending the game, character creation, asking characters questions, and scoring.

Gentle Introduction to Inform, by Mark Engelberg. This heavily-commented sample game introduces room creation and description, object creation, doors, rules for creating a prologue and ending the game, character creation, asking characters questions, scoring, text variations, instead and after rules, and every turn rules. (Available as a project file for download.)

Test Lab, by Jim Aikin. A heavily-commented tutorial game designed for use with a workshop of homeschooled students. The tutorial demonstrates how to create a new action. (Available as a project file for download.)

Edited Bronze, by Emily Short, revised for younger players by Brendan Desilets. Removes some references to suicide and sexuality to make it more appropriate for classroom use with younger students. (Available as a project file for download, which may in turn be edited or used to produce a stand-alone game file. The game already-compiled is also available below.)

Games

Mrs. Pepper's Nasty Secret, by Jim Aikin and Eric Eve. A (mostly) light-hearted fantasy, written as an introduction to interactive fiction for young people. Includes extensive help files. Requires a download and a TADS 3 interpreter.

The Sleeping Princess, by Molly, Alex, and Mark Engelberg. A fairy-tale-like introduction to interactive fiction for young people. Includes an introduction in which the player is taught standard interaction commands. Requires a download and a TADS 3 interpreter.

The Enterprise Incidents, by Brendan Desilets. Written by Mr. Desilets for his students, The Enterprise Incidents can be played online.

Edited Bronze, by Emily Short: the original novice-friendly game, but revised for younger players by Brendan Desilets. (This is the game file; see above for the project file for the same game.)

List of interactive fiction appropriate for middle- and high-school students, assembled by Brendan Desilets.

High School (US grades 9-12, ages 14-17)

Instructional Materials

Inform Tutorial for history students, by Dr. Jeremiah McCall. The tutorial introduces room creation and description, object creation and description, and interaction with other characters (by asking them questions and giving them objects).

Inform Simulation Assignments and Rubrics, by Dr. Jeremiah McCall. Grading rubrics for IF projects used in the classroom.

Games

The Dreamhold, by Andrew Plotkin. A fantasy introduction to interactive fiction. Teaches the standard interaction commands and explains how to approach puzzle-solving, through an interactive "tutorial voice".

List of interactive fiction appropriate for middle- and high-school students, assembled by Brendan Desilets.

Voices of Spoon River, by Utah State University design students under the guidance of Dr. Brett Shelton. Introduces students to the Spoon River Anthology, through a series of related environments and puzzles.

Myth Mechanic, by Utah State University design students under the guidance of Dr. Brett Shelton. Introduces students to elements of classical, Middle Eastern, and Native American mythology, and connects these features with constellations.

Home-schooling

Promotional Materials

Flyers used by Mark Engelberg to promote his workshop on writing interactive fiction.

Instructional Materials

Gentle Introduction to Inform, by Mark Engelberg. This heavily-commented sample game introduces room creation and description, object creation, doors, rules for creating a prologue and ending the game, character creation, asking characters questions, scoring, text variations, instead and after rules, and every turn rules. (Available as a project file for download.)

Test Lab, by Jim Aikin. A heavily-commented tutorial game designed for use with a workshop of homeschooled students. The tutorial demonstrates how to create a new action. (Available as a project file for download.)

College

Instructional Materials

John Timmons' website includes a series of PDF handouts, example games, and snippets of Inform source text intended for classroom use at the community college level. (Tunxis Community College.)

Dennis Jerz' New Media Projects course website offers a syllabus and a gallery of student projects written in Inform. (Seton Hill.)

Zach Whalen's Archaeologies of Story course website offers a syllabus and blog entries by students working with Inform.

Emily Short's Teaching IF page contains a list of (mostly college) courses that have used IF over the last 10 years. In many cases the syllabus remains available, though it may be outdated by subsequent years of publication.

Games

The Secret of Otter's Ransom: An Electronic, Interactive, Interdisciplinary Introduction to the Medieval North Atlantic, by Christopher Fee and his students and assistants, in the department of English at Gettysburg College.

The Chinese Room, by Joey Jones and Harry Giles. An introduction to a wide variety of philosophical conundra and thought experiments. Suitable for late high-school students through adults.

Lists and Lists, by Andrew Plotkin. An interactive tutorial in the Scheme programming language.

Ausflug am Wochenende nach Munchen, by Dr. David Neville, Dr. Brett Shelton, and Dr. Brian McInnis. A game designed to teach the vocabulary and interactions required to negotiate a German train station. Expects some basic German knowledge from the player, but does come with PDF instructions and documentation of the vocabulary used in the game.

Teacher Training

Methods of Teaching With IF

Teaching with Interactive Fiction, by Brendan Desilets. A website for teachers interested in using IF with students in sixth to eighth grades, describing the pedagogical advantages of interactive fiction. This section of Mr. Desilets' site also introduces several games especially effective with students of this age and offers support materials for working with them.

Virtual Worlds for Education, a course for practicing K-12 teachers taught by Anthony Hursh at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The course was offered Spring of 2009, and the website features an extensive bibliography of related reading materials.

Student-designed text-based simulation games for learning history: A practical approach to using Inform 7 in the history classroom, by Jeremiah McCall. Discusses assignments and practices for teaching history with IF in the ninth-grade classroom.

Winning Fafnir's Gold: Teaching with Digital Game-based Fiction, presented by Christopher Fee at Quinnipiac University. Professor Fee shares his experiences with game-based teaching using a multimedia, interactive fiction tool that he created and continues to develop. Fee's teaching approach is applicable to a wide range of disciplines and involves the nexus between student reading and writing, instructor digital asset management, and the shared pedagogical goal of student engagement.

Effectiveness Studies

Aligning game activity with educational goals: following a constrained design approach to instructional computer games, Brett E. Sheldon and Jon Scoresby. Presents key findings on using the Voices of Spoon River project in the classroom. (Full article requires pay access to Springerlink.)

Cybertext redux: using digital game-based learning to teach L2 vocabulary, reading, and culture, David O. Neville; Brett E. Shelton; Brian McInnis. Discusses the use of IF for foreign language teaching. (Full article requires pay access to Springerlink.)

Public Libraries

List of interactive fiction that meets the licensing and content requirements for a public library in Texas, assembled by Paul Waak.