“I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”

— Chuang Tzu

Tethered is my debut work of interactive fiction. It was entered into the prestigious IFComp (Interactive Fiction Competition) of 2018, and ended up on 23rd place out of 77 games.

Tethered runs on the Z-machine, a venerable virtual machine for text adventures, conceived by Infocom back in 1979. Of course, I couldn't just use one of the existing story authoring systems for the Z-machine (such as Inform 6 or Inform 7); I had to go and invent my own. It's called Dialog, and I will post more information about it soon. (Edit: Here!)


You can play Tethered online, in your web browser.

At certain points, including at the very beginning, you are expected to press any key to continue. When you see a prompt (>), you are supposed to type an action, such as “examine me” or “go north”. If you are unfamiliar with parser-games in general, you may want to start with “help”.

Note that, by default, a full transcript of your play session will be logged on the server. These transcripts are extremely helpful to me, as I strive to improve my skills as an IF writer. Should you prefer to play without being logged, please use this link instead, or download the game and play locally.


Please play the latest version. You will need an interpreter that is capable of reading zblorb files, such as Gargoyle or Frotz.


After the Comp, authors traditionally reflect on their work in a post-mortem article. Here is mine. Please play the game before reading the post-mortem, as there are spoilers.

Here is the IFDB page for Tethered.

Posted Saturday 17-Nov-2018 23:40

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Disclaimer: I am not responsible for what people (other than myself) write in the forums. Please report any abuse, such as insults, slander, spam and illegal material, and I will take appropriate actions. Don't feed the trolls.

Jag tar inget ansvar för det som skrivs i forumet, förutom mina egna inlägg. Vänligen rapportera alla inlägg som bryter mot reglerna, så ska jag se vad jag kan göra. Som regelbrott räknas till exempel förolämpningar, förtal, spam och olagligt material. Mata inte trålarna.

Mon 19-Nov-2018 14:33
Interesting game Linus, I'd never played a game like that, interesting! A parser game! The story was also compelling. Great job.
Koi Nil
Sun 25-Nov-2018 06:15
Great game! I enjoyed the trip.
--- spoilers ---
It became frustrating at some point and I relied on the hints rather too frequently. Especially where I had to push the boulders around, I was too tired to remember the navigations that I just pushed the boulder around until something clicks.

As for the AMUSING things I've tried, I did these things before seeing that list:
* get Charles to be naked.
* I did try "panic" at one point but it didn't seem to do anything.
Tue 11-Dec-2018 10:31
Dialog looks interesting, any chance that the source for Tethered will be released?