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Zorkian fantasy games

Recommendations by MathBrush

My best fantasy games list is getting too long, so I decided to branch off a list of all Zorkian fantasy games.

These are games that have a vague fantasy setting where anachronisms or inconsistencies are allowed, the game is goofy or funny, and there are shout-outs to original games like Adventure and Zork.

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1. Adventure
by William Crowther and Donald Woods
(1976)
Average member rating: (77 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Zork itself borrowed a significant amount of material from Adventure, either the first or second adventure game, depending on who you ask. Complete with dragon, troll, and magic rods. The underground volcano is breathtaking, and the dwarves are a great obstacle. Worth checking out the short endgame, too.

2. Zork, by Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling (1979)
Average member rating: (25 ratings)
MathBrush says:

The original free version of Zork, which was later split up into 3 smaller games. Very big, and the origin of many tropes in IF.

3. Zork I
by Marc Blank and Dave Lebling
(1980)
Average member rating: (160 ratings)

MathBrush says:

The first Infocom game. It contains the easier puzzles from the MIT version of Zork, and starts with the famous white house with a mailbox out front.

4. Zork II
by Dave Lebling, Marc Blank
(1981)
Average member rating: (72 ratings)

MathBrush says:

The Zork game with the most fantasy elements. A princess, a dragon, a wizard, a demon, a unicorn, and a great adventure. Frequently considered the best Zork game.

5. Zork III
by Dave Lebling, Marc Blank
(1982)
Average member rating: (59 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Much darker than the earlier games, a haunting journey of self-discovery.

6. Enchanter
by Marc Blank, Dave Lebling
(1983)
Average member rating: (77 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Introduced a wildly popular spell system into interactive fiction. Find scrolls, copy them into a spell book, and use them to defeat an evil sorcerer. The adventurer from Zork makes an appearance.

7. Sorcerer
by Steve Meretzky
(1984)
Average member rating: (47 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Darker than the first Enchanter game, you have to save your mentor from demons. Has a famous time travel puzzle.

8. Spellbreaker
by Dave Lebling
(1985)
Average member rating: (42 ratings)

MathBrush says:

The greatest fantasy game of all, in my opinion. Infocom's final Enchanter trilogy game.

Magic is crumbling, and you have to say it. Info com's biggest games, and one of its hardest. Has incredible puzzles and a map made of discrete chunks you teleport around in.

9. Wishbringer
by Brian Moriarty
(1985)
Average member rating: (83 ratings)

MathBrush says:

An excellent Infocom game aimed at beginners. Rescue a cat from an Evil witch using a magic stone that grants seven wishes. One of the highest-ranked commercial games on IFDB. Features a light world/dark world vibe.

10. Unnkulian Underworld: The Unknown Unventure, by D. A. Leary (1990)
Average member rating: (9 ratings)
MathBrush says:

Between Infocom and Inform, Unnkulia was the most popular series of games. You, the slave of master Kuulest, have to stop the demons of Unnkulia from under the Beegas'hell mountains from destroying the world. Very Zork-influenced.

11. Balances
by Graham Nelson
(1994)
Average member rating: (30 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A succesor to the Enchanter trilogy, also designed to show off Inform's abilities as a brief demo. Find four cubes, save some monks.

12. Curses!
by Graham Nelson
(1993)
Average member rating: (97 ratings)

MathBrush says:

The game that got everyone interested in Inform. Although set in the modern day, the magic system and the feel owes a lot to Infocom. My favorite game, up there with Spellbreaker.

13. The Meteor, The Stone And A Long Glass Of Sherbet
by Graham Nelson (as Angela M. Horns)
(1996)
Average member rating: (45 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Set in the Zork world; investigate a magic-wielding nation by exploring an underground area. Graham Nelson's IFComp game that won first place.

14. Enlightenment
by Taro Ogawa
(1998)
Average member rating: (38 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A one-room game in the Zork tradition. At the end of an adventure, you must remove all your sources of light to bypass a troll.

15. Lock & Key
by Adam Cadre
(2002)
Average member rating: (61 ratings)

MathBrush says:

You make the dungeon in this game. Place traps in a path through a 4x4 grid and watch as a versatile adventurer sneaks through them. Create the perfect path to defeat the adventurer.

16. Risorgimento Represso
by Michael J. Coyne
(2003)
Average member rating: (28 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A very complex and large Infocom-style fantasy humor wizard game. Makes extensive use of chemistry, has numerous NPCs and a deep backstory.

17. Lost Pig
by Admiral Jota
(2007)
Average member rating: (342 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Many rate this as the best piece of IF ever. I loved it when I first played, but I lost interest replaying it recently. A funny game where you play as a less-than-intelligent orc searching for his lost pig. Includes a great gnome npc.

18. Frobozz Magic Support, by Nate Cull (1996)
Average member rating: (6 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A Zork tribute game. Visit six locations inspired by Infocom to fix a time loop. Great puzzles, funny writing.

19. Speculative Fiction
by Diane Christoforo and Thomas Mack
(2012)
Average member rating: (8 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A long, puzzly finished version of an Introcomp game. Play as a wizard commanding a crow as you try to bust out of jail.

20. Augmented Fourth
by Brian Uri!
(2000)
Average member rating: (51 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A long and well-implemented funny game about a magical musician in an underground volcano.

21. Scroll Thief
by Daniel M. Stelzer
(2015)
Average member rating: (7 ratings)

MathBrush says:

An enjoyable sequel to the Enchanter trilogy. A long game. Raid the magical library to get enough spells.

22. Endless, Nameless
by Adam Cadre
(2012)
Average member rating: (36 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A straight-up high-fantasy game with dragons, trolls, and wizards, mixed with something a bit more soft and thoughtful. Unforgettable. A must-play for fantasy fans.

23. Portcullis
by Robin Johnson
(2016)
Average member rating: (11 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A game that came out the same week as this list. A Web game with a custom parser interface, from the author of the popular Aunts and Butlers.

24. Adventurer's Consumer Guide
by Řyvind Thorsby
(2007)
Average member rating: (26 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Test out various magic products for an adventurers consumers guide while seeking treasure.

25. Unnkulian Unventure II: The Secret of Acme, by David Baggett (1991)
Average member rating: (7 ratings)
MathBrush says:

The second Unnkulia game has you trying to preserve your fame as you discover more about the ACME Cheez products.

26. Unnkulia Zero: The Search for Amanda, by D. A. Leary (1993)
Average member rating: (6 ratings)
MathBrush says:

Probably the best of the fantasy Unnkulia games. Sets the stage for the others, a bit more mature humor.

27. Janitor, by Peter Seebach and Kevin Lynn (2002)
Average member rating: (24 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A zorkian game in reverse. Clean up after an adventurer by resetting everything.


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