In order to play IF, you need an interpreter, i.e. a program to run the game files. Since there are several authoring systems in which IF is being written, you'll need several interpreters. The most popular authoring systems are Inform (the extensions of these files are usually .z5 or .z8) and TADS (extension .gam). If you get the interpreters to play Inform and TADS games, you already have the tools to play more IF than you will possibly be able to in your next ten years.
where to find interpreters:
In the interactive-fiction goldmine:
a couple of direct downloads:
With this interpreters you can also play Infocom games. They are usually well-crafted, elegant and witty. Unfortunately they are not freeware, like most IF. They are curently owned by Activision. The Zork saga, however, has been released to the public as freeware. I could provide here some easy links to the zork .dat files, but I don't want to spoil the pleasure of net-mining to you.
HTML multimedia capabilities added to the core of the TADS interpreter. Not many games use this features yet, though.
Step 2: the games
Here we go:
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