Commercial game; visit the website (no longer active) to purchase or order feelies. "Play Online" and "Show me how!" links pertain to original 1998 version.
The original .z8 game file, first published in 1998. This version is still free to play.
Requires a Z-Code interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
A proof-of-concept demo written in Inform 7, published in 2007. Also free to play.
Requires a Glulx interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
Anchorhead 2018 Map
Full map of Anchorhead 2018 edition
InvisiClues Hints for 1998 edition *
Rot13 Invisiclues for Anchorhead, both the 1998 and 2018 editions *
map in GUEmap format (for 1998 version)
GUEmap file. Requires the GUEmap viewer - visit for information.
solution (for 1998 version)
solution (for 1998 version)
Guided Tour (for 1998 version) *
Contains ​_Read Me First
Everything to enhance the enjoyment of Anchorhead for new and veteran players alike. There are 11 map files, a playthrough in a spreadsheet format created in Google Docs for compatibility, a large glossary, also created in Google Docs, and more. This is a work in progress, and I invite any feedback or suggestions.
* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page


by Michael Gentry profile


Web Site

About the Story

You take a deep breath of salty air as the first raindrops begin to spatter the pavement, and the swollen, slate-colored clouds that blanket the sky mutter ominous portents amongst themselves over the little coastal town of Anchorhead.

Travel to the haunted coastal town of Anchorhead, Massachusetts and uncover the roots of a horrific conspiracy inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft. Search through musty archives and tomes of esoteric lore; dodge hostile townsfolk; combat a generation-spanning evil that threatens your family and the entire world.

To mark the twentieth anniversary of its initial publication, Anchorhead is now available in a special Illustrated Edition. Every aspect of the game has been rebuilt and redesigned from the ground up:

  • The code has been rewritten in Inform 7 and compiled to the glulx format, allowing far more detail and interactivity than before.
  • The prose has been revised and polished to reflect 20 years of accumulated writing experience.
  • Additional puzzles, scenes, and background information to explore.
  • Decorated with over 50 gorgeous illustrations by Carlos Cara Ŕlvarez.

Anchorhead: the Illustrated Edition is a commercial game. See the website for purchasing information.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: May 7, 1998
Current Version: 6
License: Commercial
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Cruel
Baf's Guide ID: 17
IFIDs:  F76B2529-27F8-44ED-B643-C5F03492881D
TUID: op0uw1gn1tjqmjt7

Off-Site Reviews

Adventure Gamers
[...] in my book this game is the ultimate work of interactive fiction, overflowing with intrigue and compelling story elements, scary and engrossing, exceptionally written and impressively coded with a remarkable eye for detail.
See the full review

Brass Lantern
The best authors in the field of interactive fiction are often innovators - stretching the medium in new directions. With Anchorhead, Michael Gentry decided to take the best of what was already there and work on polishing and perfecting it. This attention to detail is refreshing. Examine any noun in room descriptions and you will always get a sensible reply. Attempt to solve a puzzle in a sensible way and you will likely solve it or get a hint about the correct way to do so. Anchorhead is proof that good solid writing and good solid design make for a great interactive journey.
See the full review

Gaming Enthusiast
Anchorhead has been widely praised, mainly for its atmosphere as well as for well-written dialogues and gripping narration. The only gripe people had with this game was puzzle-difficulty, but even if you’ll have to resort once or twice to the walkthrough, it is still a production definitely worth checking.
See the full review

Aweighing an Anchorhead
As IF goes, though, this is a deeply beautiful piece. (Not what you were expecting me to say, hunh?) There's lots of disgusting, unpleasant imagery, but first -- and en route to that imagery -- is a masterful build-up of setting and mood unparalleled by almost any other game I have ever played. The scenery descriptions take into account very particular and yet very evocative features: the dull light through the pebbled glass in the courthouse building, suggesting offices inhabited by apathetic people doing dull jobs on a rainy day (if there was anyone in there at all); the changing weather, variable yet always gloomy; the disturbing drifts of ash; the wind-blown leaves, the slapping of waves against the shore. Every sense is called into play. There are odors, sounds, textures, variations in temperature and air quality, and the overall effect is an environment that becomes almost oppressively real. (Emily Short)
See the full review

Necessary Games
Overall, the experience of playing Anchorhead was incredibly rich and memorable—not for the difficulty navigating, or for the puzzles, but for the immersive experience it provided. It compared very well with any interactive experience I have ever had, and came in well ahead of the graphical adventures I have played (with the possible exception of Myst). My distaste for horror in general may have curbed my appetite slightly, but only slightly: this game manages to rise above horror, and the experience of playing it is beautiful as often as it is frightening. I would highly recommend the game, though if you have no previous IF experience beware: read the help, use the map, use a walkthrough when needed, and stick with it if you feel overwhelmed early on. It’s worth it.
See the full review

Play This Thing!
Anchorhead is a rare achievement in interactive fiction, a well-designed puzzle-rich game that nonetheless leaves you mostly remembering the story.

Michael Gentry's game is based on the locations and ideas of H. P. Lovecraft, but the result has its own unique vision and integrity.
See the full review

The trodden nature of this particular ground means that the seasoned IF veteran needs more than unnameable horrors and unspeakable rituals to stay interested in a game that borrows from Lovecraft. But Anchorhead is up to the job: the story is more than good enough to overcome the familiarity of the horror devices. Part of the reason is that the story revolves around the relationship between the PC and her husband, which comes alive as much as any relationship between two IF characters in memory -- and much of the progress of the story is marked by changes in that relationship.
See the full review

The atmosphere of this game is unbelievably good, very Infocomish, and draws you further and further into the plot as the tension grows and you uncover even more of a horrific mystery. The sense of relief when it is all over is overwhelming. This game has to be one of the best I've seen in many a long year and has to be an absolute must for any adventurer.
See the full review

Page Update History

  v.43: 07-Dec-2022 15:26 - RonFromPgh (Current Version) - Edit Page - Normal View
Changed Web site URL
v.42: 02-Sep-2022 19:15 - Zach Harper
Changed publication date
v.41: 10-Aug-2022 00:23 - Dan Fabulich
Changed download links
v.40: 20-Jan-2021 16:09 - Dan Fabulich
Changed download links
v.39: 20-Jan-2021 16:08 - Dan Fabulich
Changed download links
v.38: 29-Jun-2020 15:47 - Zape
Changed external review links
v.37: 28-Feb-2020 22:55 - Zape
Changed download links
v.36: 28-Feb-2020 22:49 - Zape
Changed download links
v.35: 28-Feb-2020 22:46 - Zape
Changed download links
v.34: 03-Feb-2019 05:20 - Dan Fabulich
Changed download links
v.33: 29-Aug-2018 13:19 - Michael Gentry
Changed description
v.32: 29-Aug-2018 13:19 - Michael Gentry
Changed description
v.31: 07-Mar-2018 10:26 - Pegbiter
Changed publication date, version number
v.30: 30-Jan-2018 19:06 - Michael Gentry
v.29: 29-Jan-2018 19:11 - Michael Gentry
Changed download links
v.28: 29-Jan-2018 11:31 - Michael Gentry
v.27: 29-Jan-2018 11:29 - Michael Gentry
Changed description
v.26: 29-Jan-2018 11:27 - Michael Gentry
v.25: 29-Jan-2018 11:26 - Michael Gentry
Changed IFIDs
v.24: 29-Jan-2018 11:25 - Michael Gentry
Changed cover art, publication date, version number, license type, development system, description, genre, Web site URL, download links
v.23: 30-Nov-2015 09:34 - mjhayes
Changed download links
v.22: 16-Nov-2015 01:49 - mjhayes
Changed download links
v.21: 12-Nov-2015 08:01 - Michael Gentry
Changed author
v.20: 12-Nov-2015 08:00 - Michael Gentry
Changed description
v.19: 09-Oct-2015 15:16 - Michael Gentry
Changed description
v.18: 04-Mar-2015 23:36 - Matt W
Changed forgiveness
v.17: 08-Nov-2013 16:48 - Michael R. Bacon
Changed download links
v.16: 23-Sep-2013 15:43 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.15: 22-Sep-2013 16:35 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.14: 18-Mar-2013 13:01 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.13: 24-Feb-2013 09:25 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.12: 30-Jan-2013 11:47 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.11: 19-Aug-2009 06:01 - Jordan Magnuson
Changed external review links
v.10: 16-Dec-2008 02:50 - Jacob Gunness
Changed download links
v.9: 10-Nov-2008 04:19 - Ghalev
Changed publication date, version number
v.8: 16-Oct-2008 13:33 - Michael Gentry
Changed cover art
v.7: 02-Jun-2008 14:56 - Michael Gentry
Changed cover art, forgiveness
v.6: 05-Apr-2008 11:41 - Emily Short
Changed external review links
v.5: 25-Oct-2007 02:52 - Michael R. Bacon
Changed description, download links
v.4: 25-Oct-2007 02:48 - Michael R. Bacon
Changed description, download links
v.3: 22-Oct-2007 15:04 - Michael Roberts
Changed download links
v.2: 21-Oct-2007 00:23 - Michael R. Bacon
Changed title, description, download links
v.1: 16-Oct-2007 01:49 - IFDB
Created page