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Most unusual games

Recommendations by MathBrush

These are games that are very different than most games on IFDB. Some games that are exceptional in execution (like Counterfeit Monkey) are derived from concepts that are similar to other games (like Andrew Schultz's or Ad Verbum).

This list is for games that are truly unusual, and have not really been copied that much.

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1. Toonesia, by Jacob Weinstein (1995)
Average member rating: (15 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A mid-90's game based on Looney Tunes characters. Unusual in that it uses parodies of copyrighted characters, as well as cartoon logic.

2. Suspended
by Michael Berlyn
(1983)
Average member rating: (31 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Control six different robots as they interact with each other and their environment. The robots are your only connection to the outside world.

3. The Shadow in the Cathedral
by Ian Finley and Jon Ingold
(2009)
Average member rating: (16 ratings)

MathBrush says:

This game is unusual in that it is a linear thriller game (like Gun Mute or attack of the killer robot yetis), yet it is very, very long for such a game, and has a deep story.

4. Border Zone
by Marc Blank
(1987)
Average member rating: (19 ratings)

MathBrush says:

This game includes a timer that goes all the time, even when you're not typing. Can be fun, but hard on a tablet.

5. AlethiCorp
by Simon Christiansen
(2014)
Average member rating: (21 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A game disguised as a remote working website.

6. Lock & Key
by Adam Cadre
(2002)
Average member rating: (59 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Make your own dungeon, watch people try to escape.

7. Six Stories
by Neil K. Guy
(1999)
Average member rating: (25 ratings)

MathBrush says:

TADS game with narration, background images, and more. You solve a few puzzles, but most of the game is reading six different short stories.

8. 69,105 Keys
by David Welbourn
(2009)
Average member rating: (58 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A game that seems like a logic puzzle at first, but is mostly an exploration game. Search through 69,105 keys to find the right one.

9. Keepsake
by Savaric
(2011)
Average member rating: (19 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A game concept everyone has thought of at some point, but Savaric got to it first (in parser land, at least). Can't give it away, but it is highly unusual.

10. The Gostak
by Carl Muckenhoupt
(2001)
Average member rating: (46 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Learn a bizarre set of new words by using help menus and standard parser responses.

11. Whom The Telling Changed
by Aaron A. Reed
(2005)
Average member rating: (54 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Someone tells a story, and you change it by using keywords.

12. Guilded Youth
by Jim Munroe
(2012)
Average member rating: (31 ratings)

MathBrush says:

As of 2015, I believe this is the only example of a Vorple game, combining graphics and parser.

13. My Angel, by Jon Ingold (2000)
Average member rating: (25 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A game intended to read like a novel as you play.

14. Slap That Fish
by Peter Nepstad
(2007)
Average member rating: (29 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A pseudo-random RPG where you combat 10 fish in a row. Unusual mix of puzzles and rpg.

15. Dead Cities
by Jon Ingold
(2007)
Average member rating: (25 ratings)

MathBrush says:

An interesting experiment in presentation, with graphics and an inventory pane.

16. Alabaster
by John Cater, Rob Dubbin, Eric Eve, Elizabeth Heller, Jayzee, Kazuki Mishima, Sarah Morayati, Mark Musante, Emily Short, Adam Thornton, Ziv Wities
(2009)
Average member rating: (92 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A real game that is essentially crowdsourced, with tons of writers. I mean real in that it has a plot, unlike PUTPBAA.

17. Shrapnel
by Adam Cadre
(2000)
Average member rating: (138 ratings)

MathBrush says:

An extreme experiment in story presentation.

18. Bigger Than You Think
by Andrew Plotkin
(2012)
Average member rating: (34 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A very parser-like Twine game with extreme branching and required replay.

19. Ecdysis
by Peter Nepstad
(2007)
Average member rating: (63 ratings)

MathBrush says:

An on-the-rails lovecraft horror parser game with interesting restrictions. I'm glad there's only one of these...

20. Kerkerkruip
by Victor Gijsbers
(2011)
Average member rating: (43 ratings)

MathBrush says:

The only really successful parser RPG (except possibly the erotic Flexible Survival, which I haven't tried).

21. For a Change
by Dan Schmidt
(1999)
Average member rating: (81 ratings)

MathBrush says:

An interesting linguistic experiment, making familiar words seem alien.

22. Everything We Do Is Games
by Doug Orleans
(2015)
Average member rating: (5 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A purely minimalist game.

23. Delightful Wallpaper, by Andrew Plotkin ('Edgar O. Weyrd') (2006)
Average member rating: (61 ratings)
MathBrush says:

Both halves are highly unusual: the first where all interaction is movement, the second where you rewrite a story by shuffling concepts.

24. Constraints, by Martin Bays (2002)
Average member rating: (17 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A four-pack of related games, all restricting your actions. Very, very unusual.

25. Praser 5, by Andrew Plotkin (1989)
Average member rating: (8 ratings)
MathBrush says:

An ancient plotkin game that is just riddles.

26. The Space Under the Window
by Andrew Plotkin
(1997)
Average member rating: (71 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Recommended by Christina Nordlander, this was a keyword-based game long before Twine became popular. A short description of a room is given, and by typing a keyword, you can change the description by focusing more on the keyword or by advancing the plot in different branches.

27. Bee
by Emily Short
(2012)
Average member rating: (53 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Varytale is still an unusual format, and this story is odd. You are a homeschooled girl preparing for a spelling bee. Slice-of-life for the win.

28. Laid Off from the Synesthesia Factory
by Katherine Morayati
(2015)
Average member rating: (15 ratings)

MathBrush says:

An experiment in eliminating unnatural parser messages to creat a freeflowing text.

29. Taghairm
by Chandler Groover
(2015)
Average member rating: (18 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A game about roasting cats. Disturbing, but meant to make you rethink your preconceptions.

30. The War of the Willows
by Adam Bredenberg
(2015)
Average member rating: (8 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A game in Python with a very creative battle system. Man vs. tree.

31. Trapped in Time
by Simon Christiansen
(2013)
Average member rating: (21 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A pdf (!) with some parser-like features.

32. The End Means Escape, by Steve Kodat (2000)
Average member rating: (9 ratings)
MathBrush says:

An almost dadaist game. Why is everything talking? Why can you pick up the room description? What is going on here?

33. Bad Machine
by Dan Shiovitz
(1998)
Average member rating: (13 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Dir ALT{ER}DDDisplace-: 2 [west -> south]
(self.travelTo(loc) = nil && m$ve(her@) FAILED.

If you can understand what that's saying, you can beat this game.

34. ASCII and the Argonauts
by J. Robinson Wheeler
(2003)
Average member rating: (12 ratings)

MathBrush says:

An enjoyable game based off of the old-school Adventureland. A speed-IF with very minimal writing, all caps, and limited verbs.

35. > by @, by Aaron A. Reed (2010)
Average member rating: (19 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A parser game whose source code is <140 characters.

36. 18 Cadence, by Aaron A. Reed (2013)
Average member rating: (14 ratings)
MathBrush says:

Play through 100 years in a house with 5 rooms. Cut out part of the text of each room/year combination and combine them to make a free-form story.

37. Strange Geometries, by Phillip Chambers (2006)
Average member rating: (16 ratings)
MathBrush says:

Unpolished Lovecraftian game with a huge twist.

38. Escape From Summerland
by Joey Jones and Melvin Rangasamy
(2012)
Average member rating: (16 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Three PCs you can switch between: robot, monkey, and ghost.

39. The Magic Toyshop, by Gareth Rees (1995)
Average member rating: (15 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A collection of mini games using ASCII art, together with many homages to Curses! and Trinity.

40. Alien Abduction?, by Charles Gerlach (1996)
Average member rating: (7 ratings)
MathBrush says:

The only game I know of that treats alien abduction in a non-humorous way.

41. Downtown Tokyo, Present Day, by John Kean (1998)
Average member rating: (22 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A game presented as a movie in a theatre. The only giant monster game I have seen.

42. I Palindrome I, by Nick Montfort (2012)
Average member rating: (13 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A five-move game about palindromes that uses text entry on a website.

43. The Sons of the Cherry, by Alex Livingston (2010)
Average member rating: (17 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A choicescript game set in the American Revolution.


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