Matthew Warner

Judge “Second Wind” Game in IFComp2021

My new game, “Second Wind,” is now online as an entrant in the Interactive Fiction Competition 2021 (IFComp2021). With a free account at, you’re invited to judge it and the other contest entrants until November 15.

“Second Wind” is a text adventure game in the parser style, meaning that you interact with environments with commands like OPEN DOOR and USE WRENCH. I programmed it in a wonderful game engine called Adventuron. It’s adapted from a short story of the same title, first published by Horror World in 2012 and later collected in Dominoes in Time. Michael Heath Pecorino generously gave me permission to use art from his comic adaptation as the game’s cover art.

Here is its synopsis:

Journey across a post-apocalyptic wasteland to get medical help for your pregnant wife.

You and Lorraine live in Shelter 5. It’s an airtight building in a radioactive desert. It’s airtight to prevent exposure to werespores left over from the war and which would transform you into a mindless proto-human. When Lorraine goes into labor with your child, she needs a C-section, or they will die. The only doctor qualified to help is your ex-wife, Wendy, miles away in Shelter 4 — and Wendy hates your guts.

Getting help before Lorraine dies of exhaustion will require escaping Shelter 5’s confines, a perilous journey across a desert and bombed-out city filled with hostile weremen, and confronting your greatest nemesis: your ex. Your family is worth it, though. So put on your environmental suit and start running.

Content warning: Violence/gore, childbirth trauma, profanity

IFComp is the world’s longest-running competition for text adventure game creators. It’s run by the non-profit Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation. For the second year, I am donating to the prize pool the full audiobook production of any contest winner’s short story.

Finally, here are a few screen shots from the gameplay. Enjoy!

Second Wind 1

Second Wind 2