The Fantastic Adventure Text Engine (FATE for short) is a browser based point-and-click text adventure system.

What that means is that, like Zork and other classic text adventures, you play a FATE game by issuing written commands and seeing how the game reacts. However, you don't construct these commands by typing them, but by clicking on words on the screen. Each word used to describe something, record a command, or respond to a command can be clicked on and used as a building block for the next command.

FATE is a system, not a game. It is designed to be a platform for anyone with knowledge of JavaScript to write and share adventures of their own. Because of this, these instructions can't give you a comprehensive tutorial on how to play a FATE game. There are specifics that will have to be covered by each author. In fact, I hope they have some surprises in store.

What these instructions can do is explain the things that will be common to all FATE games, as well as give some tips and advice.

The Menu

In the top right hand corner is the menu. At first (unless you followed a link that loads a FATE game directly), the only available options will be Built-in Games, Load from File, How To Play, How To Develop, and Dark Mode/Light Mode.

The Dark Mode/Light Mode button just toggles the display from a black on white, to a white on black color scheme.

Load from File Let's you load a FATE game stored on your harddrive

Built-In Games brings up a menu where you can select one of the FATE adventures bundled with the system itself. Just click on the game's name to see a short description, and then click "Load".

How To Play is a link to these instructions

How To Develop is a link to a tutorial on using the FATE engine to write adventures.

Once you've loaded a FATE game and clicked "Start Game", the Save Game and Load Game buttons will appear (and Start Game will become Restart Game). At any time, you can save and load the state of a current game. By default this file will be saved wherever your browser saves downloads and be named name_of_game.fs. Load Game will bring up a file dialoge. Just select and open the correct file to pick up where you left off in the current game.

Now that the game has started, there are several things to become familair with.

The FATE interface

At the top is the header. Normally, this displays the name of the room you are currently in, although the author can set it any time he wants.

Below that is the main game window, where the description of the current room, commands that have been entered, and any results of commands will be displayed. Remember that each word that appears here is clickable and can be used to compose commands. By default, this window will be cleared whenever entering a new room, but this is up to the author.

Below the main window is the "verbs" window. Each of the words here is also clickable and can be used to compose commands, but it doesn't necessarily change from room to room. Again, the author can change it whenever he likes.

At the very bottom is the input buffer, where you can see a command that is currently being composed. The "C" button will clear the buffer, and the button with the return symbol on it will submit the current command.

Entering commands

Double Click

In addition to clicking (or tapping) the "return" button to enter a command, you can also double click (or tap) the last word you wish to add to a command. For example, if you want to say "look letter" you could click on "look", and then double click on "letter" to automatically enter the command "look letter".


It is also possible to play a FATE game using the keyboard. Just start typing.

Keep in mind that the keyboard interface is for convenience. It does not fundamentally change the way a FATE game is played. If a word cannot currently be clicked on in the main game or verbs windows, it cannot form part of a valid typed command. If you try to submit a command that contains a word that doesn't appear in clickable form on the screen, the input buffer will be cleared.

Things to remember

FATE is not a text parser

Unlike games like Zork, where prepositions and other connecting words are properly handled or ignored, every word matters in a FATE command and the system does not treat any word as more important than any other.

An author could write a FATE game that required the player to enter full sentences, but given how tedious that would be, it's probably more likely that valid commands will be combinations of ideas. E.g.: "look table" rather than "look at the table", or "jelly knife" and then "knife bread", rather than "put jelly on the bread with the knife".

"Time" passes in FATE

Every command entered adds to a tally of "turns" taken since the start of a FATE game. Whether commands that have no effect count as turns, and whether the passage of "game time" matters at all is up to the author.

A lot is up to the author

FATE is meant to be flexible, so it's up to the author of any given game to tell his players how the game works, and any special rules that exist. FATE games might be word games, riddles, adventures, dad jokes, or fever dreams. I hope you enjoy trying them out and seeing what you find.

Any feedback, criticism, or questions are welcome. You can reach me at