Ib:Downloadable Interactive Fiction


When my brother came home for spring break, he showed me a Japanese video game called Ib. It’s a freeware game, meaning that it’s software that can be downloaded with little monetary or legal restrictions. The story is about a nine-year-old girl named Ib who gets trapped in an art museum with a man named Gary. As the story progresses, the museum’s artwork comes to life and attacks them. The two eventually meet a young girl named Mary, who turns out to be a painting. During gameplay, the characters cannot attack enemies, and have to avoid them to avoid damage. Enemies in the game include headless mannequins, paintings of women coming to life and crawling halfway out of their frames, and living dolls. The reason why I chose Ib is that unlike most video games I’m used to, this game can be downloaded through the internet, and is not sold in stores. In this interactive fiction, there are some texts that vary between Gary and Ib. There are some words that Ib can make out, which speculates that she cannot read them because she’s so young. In one point of the game, Gary tells Ib not to read something until she gets older, suggesting that there are texts that contain profanity. And just like many works of interactive fiction, there are many choices that player can make, and multiple endings that depend on those choices.


  4 comments for “Ib:Downloadable Interactive Fiction

  1. Bekka
    March 17, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Ib is one of my favorite RPG-Maker style games. Like many other interactive fiction pieces it includes multiple endings, each intriguing, which led me to play the game various times. I feel like Ib also does a good job of portraying the story through the young eyes of Ib – helpless against her demonic art enemies and the fact that some texts aren’t comprehensible to her. Ib has an interesting story and puzzles that I would definitely recommend.

  2. bmytelka
    March 19, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Ib shares many elements of some of my favorite horror games, so I thought I’d let you know about a few others that use the same style to tell a story (and are free!).

    Yume Nikki and .flow have the same sort of top down, RPG-maker feel that feature odd story-telling devices (they’re similar enough that writing two separate paragraphs would be pointless. .flow is the creepier one of the two). Both attempt to tell ethereal tales where the landscapes and seemingly aimless direction of the story tell more about the world than any written text could possibly achieve. Like Ib, they alter their world in odd ways to tell a story that couldn’t really be expressed through non-interactive fiction. Since they deal with dreamscapes, and try to emulate uncomfortable, lucid dreams, interactive fiction is really the only way they can truly be dealt with. Traditional fiction could create odd dreamscapes, but it is through that interactivity that the dreams become lucid, unsettling, and real.

    Irisu Syndrome is a puzzle game that features falling triangles that you match in a sort of physics-based Tetris style. Unlike most puzzle games, this one tells a story. While some unnerving elements are in the game (an anime girl stares at you, the background features cartoon cats committing suicide), its use of story-telling is what brings it more in line with what we’ve learned about interactive-fiction. As you progress, you unlock more photos in an album that tell a bit of a story in a more traditional style. If you thumb through the game files, however, you’ll find several notepad documents that change as you progress. The game is much more unnerving than directly scary, but the fact that you can discover more through looking into the game’s directory, folders, and files is what puts it in line with games like Passage and other games.

    You should also look up Ao Oni if you like frightening, RPG-maker games. It contributes less to interactive fiction so I won’t give it a huge writeup, but if you like indie horror that bends the genre as well as your perceptions of traditional game conventions you should check it out.

    The only wildly different game here is Irisu Syndrome, so if you really like Ib you should check out one of the other three mentioned (or at least watch a (non-PDP) playthrough).

  3. kutoof
    March 23, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Ib sounds like a fun and interesting interactive fiction game. While I appreciated your review on Ib, I felt as if it was more of a summary of the game rather than an in depth analysis of it. You mention that the characters are not capable of attacking their enemies in the game. Why do you think this is? Is it to teach a lesson that violence isn’t the key to solving problems? Or maybe because the characters are young, they aren’t physically strong enough to fight the enemies. You do a little of analysis, but I think you should really expand more on that. You sell the game well making me want to play it which is good but if you had put a little less summary, the game experience would have felt more new.

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