(hide navigation)
  • Swedish content
Fund my projects
Don't miss
Page thumbnail
Log in
Latest comments
RSS feed


“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.


It is recommended to play the latest version.


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 22:40

Discuss this page

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 13:33
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 05:15
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 09:31
Dialog looks interesting, any chance that the source for Tethered will be released?
Wed 2-Jan-2019 20:24
Dialog looks interesting, any chance that the source for Tethered will be released?

This would be incredibly helpful. Whilst the manual and standard rules help having a fully worked example would be a bonus.
Tue 16-Apr-2019 02:31
I posted about this at the Intfiction.org forum as well, but just in case you missed it:

Trying to run Tethered with Fizmo gives the error message: “This interpreter is broken. Please use another one.”

What is Fizmo doing that Tethered doesn’t like? It seems to be able to run other games in zblorb format, such as Savoire-Faire.
Sat 4-May-2019 19:11
Right, apparently I have two problems: firstly, when I try to register a new account here, I get a database error.

Anyway, the real reason I wanted to post is this: I'm still trying to add autorestore to Spatterlight, and after the fix to Fizmo throw/catch, Fizmo now runs Tethered, but whenever I restore it, auto or manual, I get this:

Game state restored successfully.
(Technical trouble: Invalid error code! Attempting to recover with UNDO.)
Undoing the last turn.
(Technical trouble: Invalid error code!)


Tue 2-Jul-2019 12:52
I have some questions about the game, I’ve finished it, so if you don’t want to ruin the fun- don’t read!
I am an obsessive person, so when I play IF games I try everything I can think of, just to see how it goes. In this case, I really wanted to see if there was a way to save Judith. I know that would take away from what turned out to be a really beautiful and interesting ending, but I prefer to experience heart wrenching emotions while still remaining willfully ensconced in my naivety.
Here’s my proposal: in the end it takes Charles 4 hours to get back to Judith with a rescue team. After playing the game, I did some reading about hypothermia and I think Judith might have been able to survive if she had followed certain steps. Charles even mentions that she exhausted herself, so one of the requirements could be that she doesn’t expend much energy (ie, remain in one room, or pick a spot and stay there). If Judith huddles in a corner (crawlspace, anyone?) she would be slightly more insulated, and could possibly survive the ordeal, even if she still fell into a catatonic state. Another possibility is capitalizing on the sunlight, or building a snow cave. Whichever method, I think the user could then use the command REST, WAIT or something similar... 240 times. Each turn says that a “moment slips away,” so I’m thinking that if she waits for 240 moments, (if moments = minutes) then she’ll have survived the 4 hours until help arrives. I know this might sound crazy, and like a huge amount of work for you with no discernible payoff- but I think it could be really rewarding for weirdos like me!
I obviously really loved “Tethered,” and even after I finished it, I couldn’t stop thinking about the game. It was completely delightful and unexpected, and I appreciated all the nuances included in the game. Definitely one of my favorite IF games!
I doubt anyone would try my crazy solution without first finishing the game in the way intended. If so, they should be congratulated on arbitrarily choosing 240 as the number of moments they must let slip away! I have no doubt that you would be able to seamlessly allow this bizarre conclusion in a pithy and hilarious way (not a viable waste management system). Thank you for providing a lovely game, you are incredibly talented!
Linus Åkesson
Tue 12-Nov-2019 08:17
Thanks for your kind feedback! I'm working on a small incremental update for Tethered right now, and I've decided to include your suggested ending as part of it. It will be hard to find, more or less an Easter egg.
Tue 3-May-2022 01:16
Beautiful & clever game, thank you.