If you're ten years younger than me, that sentence probably sounds grammatically wrong -- never mind impossible. But that was the world of 1993. NCSA's "What's New in Mosaic" page listed all new web sites as they appeared. I watched it, saw who was trying to write games, and linked them from my site, with tiny little descriptions.
It didn't take long before I abandoned my goal of linking to every Web game. People were happily snarfing ideas from each other, for the sheer joy of implementing them. I didn't need to link to yet another twenty-questions or maze game. But I still tried to note all the new and interesting ideas.
It was a heck of a popular site, let me note. Everybody linked to me. Everybody recommended me. That's a small "everybody" compared to today -- but still, very satisfying. If you look in any "web-for-dummies" book of the mid-90s, you'll see me listed.
Keep in mind that this was a crazy new idea. I had no idea if web advertising could really work for me. I wasn't pioneering the idea, but I had no clue how to get into it -- that's why I trusted some guy to manage it.
(I also had no clue how to register a domain name. Which is why I'm not linking to leftfoot.com; it wasn't registered in my name, and it's long since vanished. Pity. I would have hosted the Left Foot Living Review there.)
It quickly became clear that (a) my new job didn't really leave enough screwing-around time to maintain the list properly; (b) it was 1995, by damn, the Year Of Everybody Else Learning About the Internet, and the web was snowballing. Keeping track of every new web game was hopeless. (Also, a whole lot of them were marketing ventures, and they didn't need me doing free PR for them.)
I slacked off updating the site. The other guy briefly tried taking it over, but he got nowhere either. No ads ever appeared, for either of us.
(Then I changed jobs again, and decided to get my own for-real web domain, once and for all. I called it eblong.com. But never mind that.)
I never put Zarf's List of Interactive Games back online. Until now.
I found many (dead) links to my list, but only two complete copies: one at uni-kl.de, and one at pbm.com. These snapshots were as of March and April 1995 -- before I shifted to leftfoot.com. (The "new location" you'll see mentioned was to a different CMU server.)
Neither site preserved my clever little icons. I've reconstructed them, as best I could, with the aid of this blurry screenshot from a Mosaic for Windows book. (Thanks Google Books.) Notice that the screenshot is from before web games started using audio; I'm purely guessing at the fifth icon.
Here's the list. I present it exactly as it was cloned in 1995 -- all the links are just as they were. Which means, nearly all the links are broken. I will not be fixing them. This is history, not recreation. (If you happen to have better copies of my original icons, I'd love to reinsert them.)
Enjoy the cool refreshing blast of the past.
[last update: 4/4/95] [maintainer: email@example.com]
Notice that we are in a new location! Please update any links you have to this Games List.
I have divided the list into two sections:
Feel free to send me suggestions for more links to add. I am interested in games that are actually carried out through the Web, not Web pages about games. (The latter can be found in the Games Domain, maintained by someone else.)
Some games require particular features in your Web browser. I have tagged them with the following icons:
: Your browser must support fill-out forms.
: Your browser must support in-line display of images.
: Your browser must support requests made by clicking on image maps.
: A color display is required.
: You must be able to play audio data on your system.
Editor's Note: My machine has a monochrome display. I get somewhat annoyed at games which look glorious in color, but are vague smears of dots on my machine even when the color is purely decorative. It doesn't take much effort to make images that contrast in brightness as well as hue. Thanks.
Carnegie Mellon University
Aoki Mitsuru (firstname.lastname@example.org) has:
Connect!, a Connect-Four game (vertical style) by Keith Pomakis (email@example.com). Can be configured for any board size and number to connect.
Sabacc, a card game from the Star Wars universe. By Dave Sanborn (firstname.lastname@example.org). if you want to see the (very nice) card images.
Casino Games, including solo poker, slots, and blackjack. By Kenneth McCloskey (email@example.com). , and the slot machine also needs . These may not work with all browsers; I'm not sure if the problem is with the server or the browsers.
Beneath the Village, an interactive story by David Donachie (firstname.lastname@example.org). Go to "the Temple" to enter the game.
University College of Karlskrona/Ronneby in Sweden has
Nowwwhere, an interactive adventure by Brian Casey (email@example.com).
Wacky WWW Adventure, another extendable choose-your-own thing by Chris Hubick (firstname.lastname@example.org). to add new segments.
Blackjack from Henry Minsky (email@example.com). if you want to see what playing cards look like.
WebMeninges, another version of MasterMind from Laurent Finas and Ludovic Dubost (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Web Entertainment Pack by Peter Wansch (email@example.com) and Klaus Johannes Rusch (firstname.lastname@example.org). A set of games, currently including Othello and Connect Four (the vertical version.) Partially an advertisement for Peter Wansch's shareware versions of these games for IBM, but since I have a similar advertisement above, I can hardly complain. required; the games can be played in text or with .
Extendable Maze by Manfred Wuits (email@example.com). A grid-based maze; you can extend it into the undrawn areas, adding personal questions to each block.
Zbouby Burger by Michel Buze (firstname.lastname@example.org). A fast-food game where you try to keep up with an ever-expanding backlog of patrons. (In French, but not too hard to figure out.)
Vocabulary games. Somewhat elementary educational games from Sam Mantics Enterprises. You must register with (no charge) to look at the puzzles; there is also a contest which requires further registration and money to enter. Can be played in text, but looks much better with . Much commercial weaselry and trademark symbols. The server seems very slow.
Cindy Crawford Concentration by Jonathan Katz (email@example.com). Which is to say, Concentration with pictures of Cindy Crawford. I don't get it either. needed; if you want color pictures.
Idea Futures, a stock market system in which people trade on claims about the future. The money is play money, but the idea is quite serious. to join in; anyone can watch the numbers.
Name That Tune by Glenn Franck (firstname.lastname@example.org). to play; to submit answers.
Mazes by James McNalley (email@example.com). Get through some mazes. Still a prototype, but more may be done with it. One is text; one requires .
The Contact Project: try to decipher a message received from Tau Ceti. From the Lunar Institute of Technology (firstname.lastname@example.org). The site maintains a Web-accessible discussion list of people working on the messages as they appear, which you can join ( to submit messages). Or, you can work by yourself and check your solutions against the group's.
More Trivia Quizzes at University of Sunderland.
Hangman, by Patrik Lundin (email@example.com). They're only three-letter words, so...
Boston University Interactive WWW Game page.
Rome Lab Snowball Camera at US Air Force Rome Lab. Toss virtual snowballs at real people in their computer lab. You will need to be able to display GIF and JPEG images (not necessarily in-line).
TinyCWRU, a Web interface to a MUSH. By Glenn Crocker (firstname.lastname@example.org). This is fully interactive; you can enter arbitrary MUSH commands using a text form.
A Chess Server, which mediates games between human players using Web browsers. By Tyler Jones (email@example.com). .
Ataxx, or whatever you want to call that jumping / oozing strategy game. By Bharat Mediratta (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Marvel Comics Quizzes by Jonathan Couper (email@example.com).
Jackpot, the classic Fruit Machine of yore. By Anders Selander (firstname.lastname@example.org).
WebMind, aka Mastermind. By Marcel van der Laan (email@example.com).
Brian Casey (firstname.lastname@example.org) has produced:
Yet Another 16-Puzzle by Arlet Ottens(email@example.com).
Connect Four, the vertical version. By Brian Roder (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Joe Hines (email@example.com). needed, look nicer.
Othello by Thomas Fine (firstname.lastname@example.org). make it prettier.
An NFL Pool run via the Web by Mark A. Gaither. Not for money, just for fun.
A bunch of games from Gene Cutler at Berkeley, including:
Webory, a Memory / Concentration game by Oliver Fromme (email@example.com). both make it prettier.
Battleship by Jeff Fink at Virginia Tech.
Portfolio Management Contest from Security APL Inc. You start with 100 kilobucks of play money, and try to make more. This contest ends October 14, but there may be others. Another marketing-weasel promotional gimmick which looks like fun.
Tadashi Hamano in Japan has several toys:
From SenseMedia, we have
A multiple-choice quiz run by UniPress Software. The questions are randomly chosen from a large set, and are different every time you play. If you score well on your first try, you might win a t-shirt. This is pretty much a marketing-weasel promotional thing; but it's also a good quiz. to submit answers.
Elsewhere in Boston
Fascist, a variant of Nomic. (That page contains the current ruleset, scores, etc.) The game is being run by Denis Howe (firstname.lastname@example.org)... as of the time of this writing, anyhow. can be used to submit rule proposals, or just send email to him.
Addventure, another player-extendable choose-your-own-adventure game. By Allen Firstenberg (email@example.com). to submit more story segments and choices.
The IMRF Choose Your Own Adventure, maintained by The Internet Multimedia Research Foundation (IMRF). An interactive work of interactive fiction, if you know what I mean. Originally posted to talk.bizarre, and therefore very silly and somewhat tasteless. to submit more story segments and choices.
A maze by Greg Galcik (firstname.lastname@example.org). This requires a Web client that highlights the target of positional links (ie, links with "#" in them.) MacMosaic works; XMosaic doesn't; I don't know about any others.
The WWW Dungeon by Staren Ett. This is a simple prototype of a 3d-viewpoint dungeon game. At the moment you can only walk around, but more will be done with it eventually -- by the author, or by anyone else who snarfs the interface idea and runs with it.
Guess the Disease by Karl Anderson (email@example.com). Like the Animal Game, but more twisted. to submit new questions and diseases.
Drool, an interactive story by Jeff Breidenbach (firstname.lastname@example.org). You play a dog, that's why. all add more atmosphere to the game, but are not needed to play.
The Asylum at Caltech now has such bizarre toys as
Yet another 16-puzzle, with images taken from various science fiction shows. From Loren Peace at U. of Missouri.
Mad Libs from SIPB at MIT.
The CyberMUD, a game by Eri Izawa (email@example.com). This is a piece of interactive fiction done entirely through Web files and links.
U. of Wales, Cardiff Fun and Games page
Another Tic-Tac-Toe by firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 16-Puzzle, live and direct from the Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT. ; this requires an 8-bit X display, since the server machine sends an X window to your screen. It is, by the by, the most egregious use of bandwidth I have seen in a month. I like it.
The Graffiti Wall, a place to scribble. Add a line, and you get to see what everybody else has added.
Solar System Live, a Web-accessible orrery by John Walker (email@example.com). Displays images of the solar system at arbitrary times, angles, and scales. Can also do stereogram images. needed; looks better with .
Keeper of Lists by some people. Every day, a Top N List topic is provided; you can add entries and vote on their order.
Complaint Letter Generator by Scott Pakin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cyrano's Valentine's Server at NC N&O will compose and email romantic messages to your sweetie. You supply key words in a Mad Libs manner.
The Mercury Project: Robotic Tele-Excavation at USC. Created by Ken Goldberg (email@example.com) and Michael Mascha (firstname.lastname@example.org). Play in the sandbox via the Web.
Mr. Potato Head, by Andrew Kutner. How can you not play with Mr. Potato Head?
The Dada Server by Gene Cutler at Berkeley. In case you're short of dada.
The Magic 8-Ball, a toy from Elsewhere in Boston. Sees all, knows most, tells some, is right when it feels like it. needed; make it look nice.
Raj Vaswani (email@example.com) has a number of interactive thingies:
Fractal Explorer by Neal Kettler. needed; makes it look nicer.
Frog Dissection Kit at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. Definitely a winner. Better than dissection, really -- you pick which froggie organs to turn invisible, and it draws the result. From any angle. required; for best viewing; needed to rotate the image, but there's also a non- interface available.
Conway's Game of Life by Stephen Stuart.
Mandelbrot Explorer by Panagiotis Christias.
Interactive geometry toys from the Geometry Center at U. Minnesota. needed; helpful.
Personalized messages (well, they're sort of interactive.)
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