Best Interactive Fiction of 2012

While video games are all well and good, they’ll never offer the level of immersion that a good book can.  Unless, of course, those video games are a good book.  Welcome to the world of interactive fiction.

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While video games are all well and good, they’ll never offer the level of immersion that a good book can.  Unless, of course, those video games are a good book.  Welcome to the world of interactive fiction.

2012 saw a number of notable releases in the world of playable words, proving that the genre didn’t die back in the days of ZORK or Choose Your Own Adventure – and 2013 is set to offer even more!  But this isn’t a roundup of interactive fiction that’s still being written, this is a roundup of interactive fiction that’s ready to be read.  Wondering what the best stories that you could play in 2012 were?  Then read on!



#5 – Cabinet Noir (browser)

Failbetter Games are a polarizing developer.  Gamers who’ve played their releases – most notably Fallen London – either love them or hate them.  Here at Gamezebo, we definitely fall into the former category.  Their free-to-play twist on readable adventures was a perfect fit for the web in 2012, and Cabinet Noir is an awesome example of that.  There aren’t many games that take you back to 17th century France, but after playing Cabinet Noir, we wish there were a lot more of them.


#4 – Cypher (PC, Mac)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  I have no idea.  But what I do know is that you can never have enough stories that feel like Blade Runner.  Our reviewer described the story thusly; “You take on the role of a data smuggler in a dystopian Japan.”  If that doesn’t scream cyberpunk awesome, I don’t know what does.


#3 – Judge Dredd: Countdown Sector 106 (iPhone, iPad)

In Tin Man Games’ first game featuring characters that readers already know and love (or at least fear and respect), YOU ARE THE LAW.  Players took to the streets of Mega-City One, riding atop their lawmasters as they dealt out sweet justice as judge, jury and executioner.  The story was unique in that players were given plenty of freedom to choose from a variety of crimes to investigate, but Tin Man managed to tie it all together with a bigger story regardless of the additional freedom Sector 106 provided.


#2 – Cinders (PC, Mac)

Tired of stories where Cinderella gets pushed around?  Cinders lets her push back.  Sure, she’s still a servant to her evil step-family, but she has every intention of changing that.  MoaCube’s first effort in the world of interactive fiction is incredibly strong – about as strong as the game’s protagonist.  Gorgeous art and and a great story make this one an absolute must-play for desktop gamers.


#1 – Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies (iPhone, iPad, Android)

If you follow the history of interactive fiction all the way back to its pre-video game roots, you’re sure to discover the name Fighting Fantasy.  A series of books that blended fiction and role-playing mechanics, it served as the inspiration for Tin Man Games’ popular Gamebook Adventures series.  Much to Tin Man’s delight, that relationship has come full circle, as their GA games proved that they were the perfect mobile masters to adapt the latest Fighting Fantasy book from series co-creator Ian Livingstone.

Not only is it their best game to date, but it has us drooling with anticipation for the other Fighting Fantasy books they’ve announced they’re adapting.  We can’t wait to see what they come up with in 2013.

With another year come and gone, Gamezebo is looking back at the best games that 2012 had to offer. Our month-long retrospective will touch on just about every type of game you can imagine – so be sure not to miss any of it! Check out our full collection of Best of 2012 articles, and vote for your favorite games in our 2012 Reader’s Choice awards.

Jim Squires is the Editor-in-Chief of Gamezebo. Everything you see passes his eyes first, so we like to think of him as "the gatekeeper of cool stuff." He likes good games, great writing, and just can't say no to a hamburger. Also, he is not a bear.