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Favorite semi-linear games

Recommendations by MathBrush

These are games like Anchorhead where you have a large amount of freedom, but you can't always return to the beginning. Generally these games are divided into chapters or days, with each one like its own mini game.

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1. Anchorhead
by Michael Gentry
(1998)
Average member rating: (274 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A massive game with great plot and atmosphere. Divided into 3 days, I think.

2. Worlds Apart
by Suzanne Britton
(1999)
Average member rating: (73 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A novel-length science fiction game divided into 3 time periods. The contrast of the first and second time periods is haunting, and the finale in the 3rd act made me tear up a little.

3. Beyond
by Roberto Grassi, Paolo Lucchesi, and Alessandro Peretti
(2005)
Average member rating: (41 ratings)

MathBrush says:

More linear than the others, and not as well implemented. This game managed to keep me guessing for a while, and dealt with theological questions generally avoided by most games.

4. Delightful Wallpaper
by Andrew Plotkin ('Edgar O. Weyrd')
(2006)
Average member rating: (63 ratings)

MathBrush says:

While I didn't like some of the content in the second half, this game is two wide-open puzzle games set after each other. The first half is a pure, mind-bending puzzle, while the second takes the form of an author of sorts fleshing out some notes on a story.

5. Delusions, by C. E. Forman (1996)
Average member rating: (35 ratings)
MathBrush says:

This game is also set in 3 or so acts, with a lot of freedom in each act. I didn't like this game so much when I first started IF, but I was comparing it to games like Anchorhead or Zork. It is far better than most IF. It deals with reality and identity.

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

MathBrush says:

This game is divided into 3 large areas, each of which interacts with the other. The last area is very fun after experiencing the first two areas.

7. Jigsaw
by Graham Nelson
(1995)
Average member rating: (61 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Jigsaw consists of 16 separate areas, each accessed by keys found in other areas in no particular order. An area can only be accessed once. Big, hard game. One of the best games of all time if you like very hard games.

8. 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:

Split into 2 or 3 acts, this is a tribute to Zorkian adventures. It's beginning to make more sense now that I've tried Zork I and Zork II.

9. Rover's Day Out
by Jack Welch and Ben Collins-Sussman
(2009)
Average member rating: (41 ratings)

MathBrush says:

I could never complete this due to the dog food disappearing in the second or third act, but this game was very amusing. A woman's daily life with her house and her dog means more than it seems...

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

MathBrush says:

Incredible Infocom game. Has 12 main hubs you work through.

11. Winter Wonderland
by Laura Knauth
(1999)
Average member rating: (31 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A beautiful Christmas-themed game set in the Old World. Great puzzles. Won the IFComp when it came out.

12. The Light: Shelby's Addendum, by Colm McCarthy (1995)
Average member rating: (6 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A huge game from after Curses and before Anchorhead/Bable. Explore a lighthouse with labs in it and stop a madman. Huge game, very difficult.

13. Losing Your Grip
by Stephen Granade
(1998)
Average member rating: (18 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Wonderful trippy very hard explore-a-mindscape game. Takes place over five 'fits' with short interludes.

14. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky
(1984)
Average member rating: (153 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Written by the ACTUAL AUTHOR of the book! Puzzles are notoriously hard, though. I just used a walkthrough and played through. Has several separate areas you access independently.

15. Return to Ditch Day
by M.J. Roberts
(2004)
Average member rating: (24 ratings)

MathBrush says:

One incredible, linear opening sequence, followed by an open world.

16. The Duel That Spanned the Ages, by Oliver Ullmann (2009)
Average member rating: (17 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A mid-length sci-fi game with some heavy backstory. A linear sequence opening up to some truly fun puzzles.

17. Bolivia By Night, by Aidan Doyle (2005)
Average member rating: (15 ratings)
MathBrush says:

5 Chapters of a wide variety, beginning as a sort of photographic travel essay about Bolivia, and ending with some of the craziest antics I've seen in an IF game.

18. Christminster, by Gareth Rees (1995)
Average member rating: (71 ratings)
MathBrush says:

An excellent but very hard game from the mid 90's about a young woman searching a college for her lost brother.

19. The Orion Agenda, by Ryan Weisenberger (2004)
Average member rating: (12 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A nice science fiction that plays off of the idea in Stars Trek Insurrection. Something is wrong with a monitoring station.


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