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Twisty, a text-adventure interpreter for Android.

Twisty is a game interpreter for the Android operating system. It allaws you to play both classic and modern "text adventures" on your mobile device.

You can find numerous games to download at We also recommend visiting for general information on Interactive Fiction.

The z-machine is a virtual machine designed in 1979 by Infocom for playing text adventures, and it has been re-implemented on nearly every computer and PDA since then. This application allows Android users to play Infocom classics just as 'Zork', as well hundreds of newer text adventures written in the last ten years or so.

The glulx-machine is an modernized version of the z-machine capable of abstracted I/O, 32-bit operations, and other nifty things possible without ancient memory constraints. Most modern text adventures written in Inform ( create games of this type.

Twisty is theoretically capable of identifying and playing both types of games.


The codebase originally began as an Android Activity constructed around a heavily-hacked port of 'zplet', an early lightweight z-machine interpreter written for Java 1.0.

*** This project is now undergoing a huge rewrite! ***

We are now attempting to use Android's Native Development Kit (NDK) to make JNI calls to various VM-interpreters running as C libraries. This should give us a ~10x speed improvement, and also allow us to support a wider range of z-machines (via 'nitfol'), glulx games (via 'git') and perhaps someday even TADS or other interpreters.

Specifically, we're using the GlkJNI layer to provide an abstract UI to the various C interpreters. GLK is a UI "abstraction layer" created by Andrew Plotkin which can be implemented in any GUI toolkit, and GlkJNI ports this abstraction to JNI via a set of java interfaces. It then provides an Android-specific implementation of those interfaces. The best C interpreters out there expect to use GLK for I/O, so this allows us our pick of C interpreters.

Redistribution and Licensing

Twisty is open source software, and is distributed as a whole under the GPL v3 license. It depends heavily on the GlkJNI project, which is also under GPL v3; on 'nitfol', a z-machine interpreter, under the GPL v2 (which we're releasing under a "later version", GPL v3); and also on 'git', a Glulx interpreter, under an MIT license. The collective Twisty product is thus safely all GPLv3-able.

Three free, classic games are packaged with the application; for details on their licensing, see the LICENSE file. (This doesn't violate the GPL as far as we know, as these games aren't linked into the code, nor are they necessary for the code to build or run. They are merely interpreted and provided for convenience to users.)

Patches are welcome! Please mail us at

Installing the App


The version of Twisty in Google Play Store is from 2009 -- it's built from a totally different codebase that is 100% Java and only understands 'z machine' games. It's /not/ able to play most modern Inform-based glulx games (e.g. ones that end with .gblorb).

The rewritten version of Twisty isn't yet suitable for release. While it also knows how to play glulx games, it's still buggy and missing many features. That said, if you're a techie who knows how to install apps directly (e.g. loading an .apk package via the 'adb install' command), then you can find the experimental app in the downloads area of this Bitbucket project:

Building from Source

For developers contributing: see the file.


Twisty is a text-adventure interpreter for the Android operating system, playing both Z-machine and Glulx games.



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