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Games for IASQ

Recommendations by Leland Paul (Swarthmore, PA)

Recommendations for linguist-friends, intended to a) be a good introduction to the medium and b) show off things that you can accomplish in this medium that don't really work elsewhere. This should supplement, not replace, the excellent general-beginner list at PR-IF.org

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1. Photopia
by Adam Cadre
(1998)
Average member rating: (416 ratings)

Leland Paul says:

A game that is very nearly static fiction you have very little free choice at any given point in time and yet the little bit of interactivity is used to great affect. An example of a story that I really just don't think would be particularly effective in any other medium. (Although apparently the author is working on a novelization?)

2. Violet
by Jeremy Freese
(2008)
Average member rating: (262 ratings)

Leland Paul says:

The first game I recommend to almost everybody, especially academics: Slapstick comedy about writing one's dissertation. Also shows off how the medium can create awesome, interesting relationships between the narrator and the player (and the viewpoint character).

3. Galatea
by Emily Short
(2000)
Average member rating: (232 ratings)

Leland Paul says:

A conversation with a piece of art, literally. Conversation-driven IF is nearly impossible to pull off, but Emily Short is the acknowledged master, and Galatea is one of the best characters ever created in this medium. Short refers to this as "multilinear" narrative: This game can end in any of about 50 different ways, so you should expect to play it several times through and be constantly re-evaluating what's happening.

4. Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home
by Andrew Plotkin
(2010)
Average member rating: (67 ratings)

Leland Paul says:

Short, beautiful sci-fi IF by a master of the medium.

5. Make It Good
by Jon Ingold
(2009)
Average member rating: (59 ratings)

Leland Paul says:

Hard-boiled detective fiction with a twist. A good example of a game that focuses on exploring the hidden space between the viewpoint character and the player, making it painfully clear that they are two different entities with different knowledge and possibly different motivations.

6. For a Change
by Dan Schmidt
(1999)
Average member rating: (82 ratings)

Leland Paul says:

The sun is gone. It must be brought. You have a rock. (Surrealist IF at its cutest.)

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

Leland Paul says:

A game with a premise derived from a "wugs"-like ling thought experiment. How could I not include it here? (I've never actually finished this game...)


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