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Society, Socialites and Social Climbing

Recommendations by E.K.

Games where the protagonist has to navigate aspirational society in some way, whether it is an attempt at climbing the social ladder or avoiding those who seek to do so. Status, gossip, backstabbing and money are the orders of the day here.

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1. Sting of the Wasp, by Jason Devlin (2004)
Average member rating: (26 ratings)
E.K. says:

Acerbic golf club satire where you play a highly unlikeable socialite attempting damage control after being caught in flagrante.

2. Party Foul
by Brooks Reeves
(2010)
Average member rating: (22 ratings)

E.K. says:

Trapped in a cocktail party, all your protagonist wants to do is leave. Strong puzzles as you attempt to escape your socialite host.

3. Varicella
by Adam Cadre
(1999)
Average member rating: (99 ratings)

E.K. says:

You are the scheming Palace Minister Varicella, attempting to take advantage of the king's death. A masterpiece of IF, with excellent humour, plotting and puzzles. In all honesty, though, I've never managed to finish it, as it is just too hard for me.

4. Broken Legs
by Sarah Morayati
(2009)
Average member rating: (22 ratings)

E.K. says:

A mini Varicella in a schoolyard Wasp setting.

5. Gossip, by Hugo Labrande (2009)
Average member rating: (6 ratings)
E.K. says:

You play a gossip magazine journalist, hunting down the stories by whatever means necessary, whether paparazzi style snaps or mingling with the stars themselves. This is an IntroComp game but feels fully formed in its own right.

6. Aunts and Butlers
by Robin Johnson
(2006)
Average member rating: (35 ratings)

E.K. says:

You play a louche gentleman fallen on hard times, who must bow to the whims of his rich aunt in order to maintain his inheritance and financial security. A gentle but amusing farce.

7. Tea Ceremony
by Naomi Hinchen
(2014)
Average member rating: (15 ratings)

E.K. says:

Possibly more diplomacy than society, but etiquette is still the name of the game here, as you must work out the correct rituals to appease a haughty alien-blob diplomat.

8. First Draft of the Revolution
by Emily Short, Liza Daly and inkle
(2012)
Average member rating: (37 ratings)

E.K. says:

Written in a new form of IF, similar to Choose Your Own Adventure but with far more depth. A banished dauphine writes letters to her husband - it is up to you to shape them, and through these choices the future of Juliette, her husband, and the kingdom. The writing here is incredibly strong, as to be expected from Emily Short games.

9. Living Will, by Mark Marino (2012)
Average member rating: (13 ratings)
E.K. says:

Written in Undum, with a similar style to First Draft (though I believe that was written with a different system). This time the form is used to manipulate the terms of an inheritance. Choosing whether to be money-grubbing or honest is curiously compelling, despite not having that much in the way of gameplay.

10. The Wedding, by Neil James Brown (1996)
Average member rating: (8 ratings)
E.K. says:

Your best friend is getting married. Well, was getting married. It's your job to try to repair the impending nuptials while navigating his fiancée's snooty family.

11. Time For Tea, by kaibutsu (2010)
Average member rating: (4 ratings)
E.K. says:

Tea is of course the archetypal drink of high society. Add in alchemists, nobles and intrigue for a fun game.

12. Earl Grey, by Rob Dubbin and Allison Parrish (2009)
Average member rating: (26 ratings)
E.K. says:

Another game of tea and monarchy, this is only so low as the society connection is somewhat tenuous. It is in fact an excellent wordplay puzzler, and well worth your time.

13. Hampstead
by Trevor Lever and Peter Jones
(1984)

E.K. says:

I haven't played this one yet, but the entire aim of the game is to climb the social ladder and 'attain Hampstead' (a notably trendy area of London, particularly at the time). Has been re-released as an app recently. Will revise comment/placing if I can play it later.


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