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Explore-the-Structure Genre

Recommendations by Jim Kaplan (Jim Kaplan has a room called the location. The location of Jim Kaplan is variable.)

Lengthy games where the PC's express purpose is the exploration of a single complex structure, such as a museum or mansion. Progress in the game is usually measured by the segments of the structure the player has rendered accessible. Concealed passages and rooms are a common device, as is the presentation of backstory belonging to the previous inhabitants of the structure; exploration of the geography usually coincides with exploration of its past. Although the game may take detours into external locations, these are always related in some way to the central structure, and it forms the vast majority of the gamespace.

An honorable mention goes to Anchorhead, which draws upon this "genre" but doesn't fully qualify as the focus of exploration is on a village rather than a single complex structure.

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1. The Mulldoon Legacy, by Jon Ingold (1999)
Average member rating: (33 ratings)
Jim Kaplan says:

The objective is to search your grandfather's old museum to establish that he is dead.

2. Savoir-Faire
by Emily Short
(2002)
Average member rating: (95 ratings)

Jim Kaplan says:

Here the player character's goal is to strip his family's old mansion of valuables to pay off incurred debts.

3. Curses!
by Graham Nelson
(1993)
Average member rating: (96 ratings)

Jim Kaplan says:

The player must search his family's mansion for a tourist map of Paris.

4. The Dreamhold
by Andrew Plotkin
(2004)
Average member rating: (114 ratings)

Jim Kaplan says:

The PC explores the private abode of a wizard in search of clues to her own memory.

5. Christminster, by Gareth Rees (1995)
Average member rating: (71 ratings)
Jim Kaplan says:

The PC searches an English university campus for her brother.

6. Building
by Poster
(2005)
Average member rating: (12 ratings)

Jim Kaplan says:

The PC explores an office building and uncovers the dark evils it harbors.

7. Bronze
by Emily Short
(2006)
Average member rating: (187 ratings)

Jim Kaplan says:

The titular Beauty of the Beauty and the Beast tale returns to the Beast's mansion.

8. Planetfall
by Steve Meretzky
(1983)
Average member rating: (90 ratings)

Jim Kaplan says:

A lowly Stellar Patrol minion searches an abandoned facility on an alien planet, trying to learn what happened to its inhabitants.


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