Download *
Contains photo201.blb
Requires a Glulx interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
Play online via Parchment
Parchment version hosted at adamcadre.​ac
This is a pseudo-format used to represent download adviser records that apply to multiple formats.
iOS application
(with bonus graphics)
This is a pseudo-format used to represent download adviser records that apply to multiple formats.
Requires a Z-Code interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
Competition version
Requires a Z-Code interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
Way to avoid a bug in the competition release
Spanish version.
Requires a Z-Code interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
black and white version
Requires a Z-Code interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links. *
converted to PalmOS .prc file
Palm OS Application (PalmOS low res devices and later)
MS-DOS Application
Russian translation in Z8
Requires a Z-Code interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at

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by Adam Cadre profile

Slice of life

Web Site

About the Story

"Will you read me a story?"

"Read you a story? What fun would that be? I've got a better idea: let's tell a story together."

Game Details

Language: English, Castilian, Russian (en, es, ru)
First Publication Date: October 1, 1998
Current Version: 2.01
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
Baf's Guide ID: 255
IFIDs:  ZCODE-1-991220-0079
TUID: ju778uv5xaswnlpl

Off-Site Reviews

Adventure Gamers
About twenty minutes in, when the series of seemingly disconnected and unordered scenes snaps into place and you understand what is happening, every emotional bone you possess will tingle sharply, and your pounding heart will carry you through to the inevitable conclusion of the story. You will understand, as I did, the emotional impact that a story can have. I have cried each of the three times I have played through Photopia; it is that darn powerful.
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Brass Lantern

[...] the overall layout of the story appears to be a complex weave, where you travel along the thread as it makes its way in one direction, turns around and comes back, crossing the previous parts of the weave and then continues. [...] In summary, this game is like an interactive story nestled inside another. A russian doll. A woven russian doll at that.
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Gaming Enthusiast
Not your usual adventure game, but if you look for some originality and ingenuity youíve come to the right place.
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Necessary Games
Photopia: Not a Mediocre Short Story
Does Photopia deserve to be so hallowed as it is? Quantitatively, that question may be hard to tackle. In my mind, though, the game does, without a doubt, deserve to be hallowed to some degree. It is historically important both as a work of interactive fiction and as a game, for its numerous technical innovations, and for its minimalist interactive component that makes it such a great example of a ďlimiting case game.Ē Whether Photopia succeeds on the affective level is open for debate, but my opinion and your opinion notwithstanding, the fact that it clearly does succeed with so many people is a strong testament to Adam Cadreís ability to innovate and impact all in the same breath.
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New Indian Express - Krish Raghav
The core of its emotional impact is its ability to turn this expectation of interaction in a traditional video-game narrative on its head, and use the LACK of interaction as a narrative form in itself. Events in Photopia hurtle towards their inescapable fate, and the jigsaw puzzle timeline provides occasional flashes of what that conclusion might be, and that sense of foreboding, created by glimpses of understanding as the plot slowly unravels, only intensifies as the game progresses.
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Play This Thing
Photopia made me cry.

That's not something I say often. I don't think any other work of art has ever affected me to the extent that Photopia has.
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As a text adventure, Photopia is a pared down example of such. There are few puzzles, and they donít require much stress on the brain cells. Also, the whole game flows so naturally as a story that it could lead an outside observer to think that the work might be better off as a short story. However, just because a game isnít interested in what is traditionally thought of as gameplay doesnít mean that it isnít utilizing the mediumís specific attributes to its advantage.
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Photopia isn't strictly an adventure game, but more of an interactive story, or series of intertwining stories. For the most part I normally do not like this type of game and prefer lots of puzzles to solve. Photopia, however, grabbed my interest from the start.
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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction

The colors, like everything else in Photopia, worked beautifully, adding artfully to the overall impact of the story. The work is interactive in other important ways as well. In fact, in many aspects Photopia is a metanarrative about the medium of interactive fiction itself. Again, it wasn't until the end of the story that I understood why it had to be told as interactive fiction. And again, to explain the reason would be too much of a spoiler. I have so much more I want to talk about with Photopia, but I can't talk about it until you've played it. Go and play it, and then we'll talk. I promise, you'll understand why everyone has been so impatient. You'll understand why I loved it, and why I think it's one of the best pieces of interactive fiction ever to be submitted to the competition.
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[Reviews by Paul O'Brian, Duncan Stevens, Brian Blackwell and David Ledgard]
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SPAG Specifics - Victor Gijsbers
Photopia's message is this: "Do not despair at death, for from the tiniest seeds we have sown, new and abundant life can come forth."
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XYZZY news
Photopia is an amazing piece of work; it has incited both criticism and praise for its masterful focus on story rather than on puzzles -- or, to use the popular analogy, on fiction rather than on interactivity. Because of this, its detractors have scorned it as being "not a game at all," and its supporters have hailed it as a breakthrough in the medium.

In a sense, both allegations are correct, and even self- predicting. Any game which breaks new ground (and Photopia does), can be considered a "non-game" using the old standard. But the details of the "theory" of interactive fiction are neither pertinent nor illustrative to this review. Photopia is at its best when it is viewed alone, without preconceptions.
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Page Update History

  v.32: 12-May-2022 18:42 - onebrownfinch (Current Version) - Edit Page - Normal View
Changed IFIDs
v.31: 06-May-2022 01:06 - Paul O'Brian
Changed external review links
v.30: 11-Jan-2022 23:47 - J. Hodges
Changed forgiveness
v.29: 26-Sep-2021 20:07 - Zape
Changed download links
v.28: 21-Mar-2021 07:48 - Dan Fabulich
Changed description
v.27: 15-Apr-2020 14:44 - Lance Campbell
Changed external review links
v.26: 18-Dec-2017 06:35 - Autymn Castleton
Changed language
v.25: 05-Apr-2017 17:57 - Doug Orleans
Changed external review links
v.24: 24-May-2016 15:00 - Doug Orleans
Changed external review links
v.23: 22-Dec-2015 13:20 - Digger
Changed IFIDs
v.22: 24-Oct-2015 10:37 - Adam Cadre
Changed download links
v.21: 24-Oct-2015 10:29 - Adam Cadre
Changed download links
v.20: 24-Oct-2015 10:27 - Adam Cadre
Changed download links
v.19: 24-Oct-2015 10:24 - Adam Cadre
Changed download links
v.18: 05-Sep-2014 11:35 - realsonic
Changed download links
v.17: 23-Sep-2013 15:38 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.16: 22-Sep-2013 10:36 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.15: 23-May-2013 03:22 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.14: 20-Mar-2013 12:26 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.13: 03-Mar-2013 07:27 - Edward Lacey
Changed description, external review links
v.12: 10-Aug-2010 13:23 - Dave Chapeskie
Changed download links
v.11: 22-Sep-2009 22:10 - Dannii
Changed download links
v.10: 22-Sep-2009 07:05 - Jordan Magnuson
Changed external review links
v.9: 07-Feb-2009 04:19 - Adam Cadre
Changed cover art, description
v.8: 09-May-2008 11:31 - Paul O'Brian
Changed external review links
v.7: 05-Apr-2008 11:35 - Emily Short
Changed external review links
v.6: 11-Mar-2008 19:04 - David Welbourn
Changed description
v.5: 28-Feb-2008 09:42 - Eriorg
Changed author
v.4: 24-Feb-2008 20:29 - Adam Cadre
Changed cover art
v.3: 24-Feb-2008 20:26 - Adam Cadre
Changed cover art, publication date, Web site URL
v.2: 17-Oct-2007 10:25 - yandexx
Changed download links
v.1: 16-Oct-2007 01:49 - IFDB
Created page