Posted on 12/30/2020
Tags: Leisure, Interactive Fiction
My interest in interactive fiction and simple-yet-vast personal websites intersected this week when I stumbled upon Andrew Plotkin's homepage (aka Zarfhome).

(My previous adventures have led me to Drew's clamps, Lawrence's coding machines, and Eric Meyer's heartbreaking posts about his daughter Rebecca.)

Andrew has done some really cool work over the years. His body of work includes foundational tools for building/packaging interactive fiction games and an impressive library of interactive fiction games.

Zarfhome's design aesthetic of black text, blue links, and a white background may not be enticing to everybody browsing the web these days. When I see a site like this, I'm drawn in. This is where the special gems on the internet still exist.

Here are some notable pages to check out:

- The homepage

- The sitemap where he lists decades of projects
  - He even made an interactive-fiction-style caves version of the sitemap. What a clever idea!

- A years-out-of-date changes page. When I see this, I think about how much more durable this is than posts on Facebook or Twitter. There's something special about this kind of website that we don't get in today's social media.

- Andrew's blog
  - This is what led me to the homepage in the first place

As I browsed, I had a few neat surprises:

- Over a decade ago, I downloaded a Python program called Boodler to make soundscapes. It turns out Andrew made Boodler!

- I had stumbled upon "Crazy Uncle Zarf"'s handy interactive fiction reference card when I was getting started playing IF. It turns out Andrew wrote this too!

- Up until now, I hadn't seen other examples of blending richer interactive fiction with a web/mobile-friendly hyperlink interface like I recently experimented with in Dungeon Memalign. I found that Andrew did some work like this back in 2012! His game, Bigger Than You Think, is played by clicking hyperlinks and picking up items.

Andrew's decades of work, shared through his site with the world, are truly inspiring. It's so cool that he's shared complete projects, half-baked prototypes, random ideas, and more. Thank you Andrew!