The Grumpy Cricket (And Other Enormous Creatures)

This Christmas, one of my gifts to my kids was a text adventure (interactive fiction) game for them. Now that they’ve enjoyed it, I’m releasing it under the GPL v3.

As interactive fiction, it’s like an e-book, but the reader is also the player, guiding the exploration of the world.

The Grumpy Cricket is designed to be friendly for a first-time player of interactive fiction. There is no way to lose the game or to die. There is an in-game hint system providing context-sensitive hints anytime the reader types HINT. There are splashes of humor throughout that got all three of my kids laughing.

I wrote it in 2023 for my kids, which range in age from 6 to 17. That’s quite a wide range, but they all were enjoying it.

You can download it, get the source, or play it online in a web browser at https://www.complete.org/the-grumpy-cricket/

22 thoughts on “The Grumpy Cricket (And Other Enormous Creatures)

  1. Allison R says:

    Played this with my 6 year old today, thank you for sharing! I am curious if you followed a tutorial? Both of my kids (6 and 9) are interested in designing their own games now.

    1. John Goerzen says:

      I’m curious how it went with your 6-yr-old! This is my first stab at writing IF.

      I wrote it using Inform 7. The Inform 7 IDE includes a sort of rough tutorial of sorts, with some examples. Actually the Inform 7 language is very atypical of progamming languages, as it attempts to sort of use natural language. For a person that has been programmer for a long time, I’m a bit divided about it. But for someone that hasn’t got a bunch of languages in their past, it might actually be a pretty decent way to go. There are some details at https://ganelson.github.io/inform-website/doc/ There’s also https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Beginner%27s_Guide_to_Interactive_Fiction_with_Inform_7

      1. Allison R says:

        It took her a while to catch on to how to guess things to do, so the first part I played and read to her. But by the time we got to the buttons she had fun pressing all the buttons to see what would happen! Maybe as a first project we will fork your story and add a few more buttons, as there have been lots of ideas (β€œan apple pie alert!”).

        1. John Goerzen says:

          Oh fun, thanks for letting me know!

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