Cambridge, Massachusetts, 30 June 2016—The Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (IFTF) was formally announced today as the first-ever nonprofit formed to support the success and growth of all forms of interactive fiction — text adventures, choice-based games, visual novels, and more. The Foundation’s mission is to ensure the ongoing maintenance, improvement, preservation, and development of tools and services necessary to the creation and distribution of interactive fiction. IFTF also announced today that it will assume stewardship of the prestigious Interactive Fiction Competition (IFComp).
Interactive fiction is a game category where the player’s interactions primarily involve text. Examples run the gamut from classic titles such as as Infocom’s Zork (the bestselling computer game of 1980), to more contemporary work including Zoe Quinn’s controversial Depression Quest (2013), or inkle studios’ 80 Days (TIME magazine’s 2014 Game of the Year).
In order to further support and broaden the reach of interactive fiction, a team of category veterans came together this year to found IFTF. The board of directors includes President Jason McIntosh (principal organizer of IFComp), Andrew Plotkin (the most award-winning interactive fiction author of all time and author of Hadean Lands), Carolyn VanEseltine (founder of Sibyl Moon Games and former Harmonix developer), Chris Klimas (creator of Twine), and Flourish Klink (Chief Research Officer of Chaotic Good Studios).
The Annual Interactive Fiction Competition is the largest and longest-running competition of its kind, founded in 1995 by Kevin Wilson and having taken place annually ever since. In 2015, more than 20,000 people took part in making, playing, or rating the 53 games entered into the twenty-first IFComp. Under IFTF’s stewardship, IFComp will receive long-lacking legal and financial support to ensure its continued presence as a cornerstone of the modern IF community.
“IFComp is just the first of many efforts that we want to help with this foundation,” says Chris Klimas. “People have given so much of themselves to projects like it, not for any external reward but because of their love of interactive fiction, and we want to make sure that work endures.” Carolyn VanEseltine adds, “The formation of IFTF begins a new chapter in interactive fiction history. With input and help from players, authors, and communities, we’ll maintain old tools and create new ones so this unique art form thrives for years to come.”
IFComp is just the beginning: IFTF seeks to support all parts of the interactive fiction community. It is currently considering ways to best support the Twine platform’s growth and development. A project to increase the accessibility of works of interactive fiction is also in planning stages. To learn more, visit IFTF’s website: http://www.iftechfoundation.org/.
I’m on the Advisory Board of IFTF and I’m super excited about it!