Zarf's List of Interactive Games on the Web

Here's a wodge of history.

Asymptotic Rise

Back when the World Wide Web was starting up -- and we pronounced all three words -- I set up my first web site, at CMU. (I'd graduated and was working for the CS department.) I was interested in games (yeah, surprise), and people were coming up with crazy ways to put games onto Web pages. So I decided to make a project of it: I would link to all of the Web games.

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.

Zarf's List of Interactive Games grew along with the Web. I added icons (icons!) for particular browser features that you might need to play any particular game. (Features like "color" or "forms". Not everybody had them. Forget Javascript, that was still a couple of years away.)

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.

Paralysis and Fall

In April of 1995, I left CMU for the glorious world of commercial game development. (The game industry laid my ass off in late 1996, in case you're curious, and I never returned to it. But never mind that.) I knew I wouldn't be able to keep running the site on CMU's servers, so I arranged with some guy to set up a domain of my own: He said he'd be able to put in advertising, make some money.

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; 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.


I'm not sure of the exact order of these events; but in various ways, the list stopped existing. I posted a "sorry, no longer updating" notice. The leftfoot site turned into something less interesting. Quite a lot of web sites copied my page, links and descriptions and all. (I was annoyed at the time; now I regret that most of the clones have vanished!) I set up a new web site.

(Then I changed jobs again, and decided to get my own for-real web domain, once and for all. I called it But never mind that.)

I never put Zarf's List of Interactive Games back online. Until now.

This edition

I don't think I kept a copy of my page. Maybe it lingers on a 40-megabyte hard drive in my closet somewhere, but I haven't gone spelunking. Instead, I turned -- as we all must -- to Google.

I found many (dead) links to my list, but only two complete copies: one at, and one at These snapshots were as of March and April 1995 -- before I shifted to (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.

Zarf's List of Interactive Games on the Web

[last update: 4/4/95] [maintainer:]

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:

Interactive Games
Multi-player games, user-versus-computer games, adventure games, anything else which sounds like a game.
Interactive Toys
Things you can fool around with, that don't necessarily have a real goal.
Each list is approximately in chronological order, with the most recent entries appearing first. (Naturally, I make an exception for my own game. :-) If you're in the habit of checking here every few weeks -- which, of course, I recommend -- check both 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:

FORMS : Your browser must support fill-out forms.
INLINE : Your browser must support in-line display of images.
MAPS : Your browser must support requests made by clicking on image maps.
COLOR : A color display is required.
SOUND : 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.

Interactive Games

Easter Egg

Carnegie Mellon University

Aoki Mitsuru ( has:

Connect!, a Connect-Four game (vertical style) by Keith Pomakis ( Can be configured for any board size and number to connect. FORMS INLINE

Sabacc, a card game from the Star Wars universe. By Dave Sanborn ( INLINE COLOR if you want to see the (very nice) card images.

Casino Games, including solo poker, slots, and blackjack. By Kenneth McCloskey ( FORMS INLINE, and the slot machine also needs MAPS. 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 ( Go to "the Temple" to enter the game.

University College of Karlskrona/Ronneby in Sweden has

Nowwwhere, an interactive adventure by Brian Casey ( FORMS MAPS INLINE COLOR

Wacky WWW Adventure, another extendable choose-your-own thing by Chris Hubick ( FORMS to add new segments.

Blackjack from Henry Minsky ( INLINE if you want to see what playing cards look like.

WebMeninges, another version of MasterMind from Laurent Finas and Ludovic Dubost ( FORMS

Web Entertainment Pack by Peter Wansch ( and Klaus Johannes Rusch ( 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. FORMS required; the games can be played in text or with INLINE COLOR.

Extendable Maze by Manfred Wuits ( A grid-based maze; you can extend it into the undrawn areas, adding personal questions to each block. FORMS INLINE

Zbouby Burger by Michel Buze ( 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.) FORMS

Vocabulary games. Somewhat elementary educational games from Sam Mantics Enterprises. You must register with FORMS (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 INLINE COLOR. Much commercial weaselry and trademark symbols. The server seems very slow.

Cindy Crawford Concentration by Jonathan Katz ( Which is to say, Concentration with pictures of Cindy Crawford. I don't get it either. INLINE needed; COLOR 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. FORMS to join in; anyone can watch the numbers.

Name That Tune by Glenn Franck ( SOUND to play; FORMS to submit answers.

Mazes by James McNalley ( Get through some mazes. Still a prototype, but more may be done with it. One is text; one requires INLINE.

The Contact Project: try to decipher a message received from Tau Ceti. From the Lunar Institute of Technology ( The site maintains a Web-accessible discussion list of people working on the messages as they appear, which you can join (FORMS to submit messages). Or, you can work by yourself and check your solutions against the group's.

More Trivia Quizzes at University of Sunderland. FORMS

Hangman, by Patrik Lundin ( 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 ( This is fully interactive; you can enter arbitrary MUSH commands using a text form. FORMS

A Chess Server, which mediates games between human players using Web browsers. By Tyler Jones ( FORMS.

Ataxx, or whatever you want to call that jumping / oozing strategy game. By Bharat Mediratta ( INLINE COLOR

Marvel Comics Quizzes by Jonathan Couper ( FORMS INLINE

Jackpot, the classic Fruit Machine of yore. By Anders Selander (

WebMind, aka Mastermind. By Marcel van der Laan ( FORMS INLINE COLOR

Brian Casey ( has produced:

Yet Another 16-Puzzle by Arlet Ottens( INLINE MAPS

Connect Four, the vertical version. By Brian Roder ( and Joe Hines ( FORMS needed, INLINE COLOR look nicer.

Othello by Thomas Fine ( INLINE COLOR make it prettier.

An NFL Pool run via the Web by Mark A. Gaither. Not for money, just for fun. FORMS

A bunch of games from Gene Cutler at Berkeley, including:

Webory, a Memory / Concentration game by Oliver Fromme ( INLINE COLOR both make it prettier.

Battleship by Jeff Fink at Virginia Tech. INLINE

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. FORMS

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. FORMS 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 ( as of the time of this writing, anyhow. FORMS 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 ( FORMS 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. FORMS to submit more story segments and choices.

A maze by Greg Galcik ( 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. INLINE

Guess the Disease by Karl Anderson ( Like the Animal Game, but more twisted. FORMS to submit new questions and diseases.

Drool, an interactive story by Jeff Breidenbach ( You play a dog, that's why. FORMS INLINE COLOR 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. INLINE COLOR

Mad Libs from SIPB at MIT. FORMS

The CyberMUD, a game by Eri Izawa ( 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

The 16-Puzzle, live and direct from the Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT. FORMS COLOR; 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.

Interactive Toys

WWW Spirograph by Jeffrey Cohen ( INLINE FORMS

The Graffiti Wall, a place to scribble. Add a line, and you get to see what everybody else has added. FORMS

Solar System Live, a Web-accessible orrery by John Walker ( Displays images of the solar system at arbitrary times, angles, and scales. Can also do stereogram images. FORMS needed; looks better with COLOR.

Keeper of Lists by some people. Every day, a Top N List topic is provided; you can add entries and vote on their order. FORMS

Complaint Letter Generator by Scott Pakin ( FORMS

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. FORMS

The Mercury Project: Robotic Tele-Excavation at USC. Created by Ken Goldberg ( and Michael Mascha ( Play in the sandbox via the Web. FORMS INLINE COLOR MAPS

Mr. Potato Head, by Andrew Kutner. How can you not play with Mr. Potato Head? FORMS INLINE

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. FORMS needed; INLINE COLOR make it look nice.

Raj Vaswani ( has a number of interactive thingies:

Fractal Explorer by Neal Kettler. INLINE MAPS FORMS needed; COLOR 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. FORMS INLINE required; COLOR for best viewing; MAPS needed to rotate the image, but there's also a non-MAPS interface available.

Conway's Game of Life by Stephen Stuart. FORMS

Mandelbrot Explorer by Panagiotis Christias. FORMS MAPS COLOR

Interactive geometry toys from the Geometry Center at U. Minnesota. FORMS needed; MAPS helpful.

Personalized messages (well, they're sort of interactive.)

Last updated May 5, 2010.

Zarfhome (map) (down)