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Spy games

Recommendations by MathBrush

Games involving espionage, whether military or industrial. I've tried to put a few especially good games first, but the rest are in no particular order. This list includes games of excellent quality as well as games of lower quality.

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1. Spider and Web, by Andrew Plotkin (1998)
Average member rating: (212 ratings)
MathBrush says:

Widely regarded as one of the top 2 or 3 best games of all time. A game about breaking into a scientific research compound. Has science fiction elements.

2. City of Secrets
by Emily Short
(2003)
Average member rating: (82 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A sort of alternate-reality/fantasy world, where two large organizations that operate from the shadows are looking for information on each other, and you are caught in the middle.

3. Counterfeit Monkey
by Emily Short
(2012)
Average member rating: (79 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Another contender for best game of all time. Try to smuggle information out of a repressive regime. The game is based on wordplay having real-life effects.

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

MathBrush says:

An unusual espionage game that is set up as an ARG, with a website that acts like an actual corporate website. You have been hired to monitor subversive elements and to check on the work of spies. Has no fantasy or sci-fi elements, if you're interested in more pure espionage.

5. Inside Woman, by Andy Phillips (2009)
Average member rating: (9 ratings)
MathBrush says:

An absolutely massive game; took me a month WITH the walkthrough. Truly one of the biggest games of all time, and well-polished.

You play Alice Wei Ling, a chinese agent infiltrating a distopian city-in-a-box. You fight against 6 identical powerful women and one director who rule the city, hacking into robots, starring in a movie, getting a job at a pizza restaurant. Probably Andy Phillips' best game.

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

MathBrush says:

Infocom's spy game; this has real-time elements, such as waiting for spotlights or soldiers to pass by you. Very difficult, but shorter than many infocom games.

7. Nightfall
by Eric Eve
(2008)
Average member rating: (46 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A terrorist threat has led to the evacuation of a city, and your beautiful but mysterious friend is missing.

8. Code Name Silver Steel
by SpecialAgent
(2017)
Average member rating: (4 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A very short spy game that's well-clued and implemented, and avoids a lot of dumb spy stereotypes.

9. Secret Mission
by Scott Adams
(1979)
Average member rating: (13 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Originally titled Mission Impossible, this was the first espionage game that I know of. Playable on Gargoyle, it has Adams' signature minimalist style and various timers going on.

10. The Unholy Grail, by Stuart Allen (1997)
Average member rating: (3 ratings)
MathBrush says:

As a marine biologist, you are caught up in a web of intrigue between competing powers.

11. The Weapon
by Sean Barrett
(2001)
Average member rating: (23 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Conduct military sabotage covertly while a prisoner. A one-room sci-fi game.

12. To Spring Open, by Peter Berman and Yoon Ha Lee (as Two-Bit Chip) (2015)
Average member rating: (15 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A beautiful but short little espionage twine game about a bizzare world where society is mask-based.

13. Jacks or Better to Murder, Aces to Win, by J. D. Berry (1999)
Average member rating: (14 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A brilliant setting based on a hierarchical but violent religious society. Short but sweet.

14. Insight
by Jon Ingold
(2003)
Average member rating: (20 ratings)

MathBrush says:

An interactive flashback in the future, with several layers of nested story, including espionage. Jon Ingold considered this his best game, at one time.

15. Secret Agent Cinder
by Emily Ryan
(2015)
Average member rating: (17 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A fun little game with strong graphics (I think it won an XYZZY for multimedia), where you, as Secret Agent Cinder(ella) infiltrate the ball.

16. Rent-A-Spy, by John Eriksson (2002)
Average member rating: (5 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A fun, mid-length spy game marred by some implementation and cluing problems. Fun to play with the walkthrough.

17. Break-In, by Jon Ingold (1999)
Average member rating: (3 ratings)
MathBrush says:

One of Ingold's earliest games, and one with the most problems. Very big game that swerves from genre to genre, but starts out as espionage.

18. Outsided, by Chad Elliott (1999)
Average member rating: (3 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A game with great concepts destroyed by bugs. From the author's notes;

Hi, first I would like to say 'sorry.' Good! Now that I have gotten
that out of the way, Please 'enjoy' the game. '

With the walkthrough, though, it's a fun spy thriller about jumping into different minds.

19. Internal Vigilance
by Simon Christiansen
(2005)
Average member rating: (11 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A well-put together and thoughtful game on terrorism, torture, and espionage in general. You make moral choices. Has 9 or more endings.

20. The Lost Spellmaker, by Neil James Brown (1997)
Average member rating: (12 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A fantasy spy thriller about cute little dwarfs and their secret service.


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