Interactive fiction is essentially a text-based medium, and the most obvious distinction between IF and other forms of computer game is the relative importance of text and graphics. Nonetheless, IF can and does include graphics in a secondary capacity, just as prose fiction often takes advantage of illustrations.
Although many authoring systems support graphics, not all of their associated interpreters will have the capability to display them. There may be no available interpreter for a given system and OS which will display graphics. Because of this, authors who use graphics often avoid making them vital to gameplay; instead, they are used to reinforce or supplement information and impressions already established by the text.
Authors may also choose to make game graphics available outside the game as feelies. Because of the great increase in filesize and the large amount of work necessary to produce a graphics-rich game, graphics-using IF games are often released in two versions - a freely available, graphics-free version for general download, and a version with graphics bought on CD.
Platforms which support in-game graphics
Examples of games with graphics
- 1893: A World's Fair Mystery (Peter Nepstad; 2002; TADS). Graphics in commercial version only.
- Beyond (Roberto Grassi, Paolo Lucchesi, Alessandro Peretti; 2005; Glulx). IF Comp 2005.
- City of Secrets (Emily Short; 2003; Glulx). Graphics in commercial version only.
- Fallacy of Dawn (Robb Sherwin; 2001; Hugo).
- Lock & Key (Adam Cadre; 2002; Glulx).
- Necrotic Drift (Robb Sherwin; 2004; Hugo). Graphics in commercial version only.