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Favorite Fours From Industrious Implementors, 1G

Recommendations by Walter Sandsquish

Some IF writers write more than others. Here are my favorite four games from authors who've released at least half-a-dozen games to date. This list covers 1st-generation text-adventure implementors, who published the bulk of their work from the Eighties on.

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1. Zork, by Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling (1979)
Average member rating: (27 ratings)
Walter Sandsquish says:

(aka Zork I, II, and III) Marc Blank, with Dave Lebling, topped the genre-defining "Adventure" by crafting a full-sentence parser and then creating the whimsically-anachronistic Great Underground Empire to go with it.

2. Deadline
by Marc Blank
(1982)
Average member rating: (45 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Blank opened-up adventure games by adding the murder-mystery genre to their repertoire. He also created faux documents to support the story, inventing the "feelies" which would become a hallmark of Infocom's games.

3. Border Zone
by Marc Blank
(1987)
Average member rating: (21 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Blank explored espionage, experimented with real-time gameplay, and pushed the player from one player-character to another in this suspense-filled game.

4. Zork: The Undiscovered Underground, by Marc Blank, Michael Berlyn, and G. Kevin Wilson (1997)
Average member rating: (29 ratings)
Walter Sandsquish says:

Blank, with Michael Berlyn, finally returned to the G.U.E. for more anachronistic fun and games.

5. Enchanter
by Marc Blank, Dave Lebling
(1983)
Average member rating: (83 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

(and Sorcerer and Spellbreaker) Dave Lebling, with Marc Blank and Steve Meretzky, added a magic system, and magical intrigue, to these cherished Zork sequels.

6. Suspect
by Dave Lebling
(1984)
Average member rating: (15 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Lebling accused the player-character of murder at a costume party in this perplexing murder mystery.

7. The Lurking Horror
by Dave Lebling
(1987)
Average member rating: (78 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Lebling brought occult horror, and creepy sound effects, to the campus in this Lovecraft-inspired game.

8. Shogun
by James Clavell, Dave Lebling
(1989)
Average member rating: (12 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Lebling integrated Japanese-style illustrations and evocative descriptions in this episodic adaptation of the popular historical novel.

9. Infidel
by Michael Berlyn
(1983)
Average member rating: (45 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Michael Berlyn's unflattering characterization of the player-character challenged adventure-game players in a new way.

10. Suspended
by Michael Berlyn
(1983)
Average member rating: (32 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Berlyn then required the player to see things through the senses of several different robots in this challenging optimization game.

11. Tass Times in Tonetown
by Michael Berlyn and Muffy Berlyn
(1986)
Average member rating: (9 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Berlyn, along with Muffy Berlyn, pulled the player into a dimension where New Wave sensibility remained fashionable in this hybrid of text-adventures and point-and-click adventures.

12. Dr. Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I.
by Muffy Berlyn and Michael Berlyn
(1999)
Average member rating: (7 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Berlyn, along with Muffy Berlyn, dropped the player into another surreal world in this light-hearted, quantum-mechanics-themed, puzzle-heavy game.

13. Planetfall
by Steve Meretzky
(1983)
Average member rating: (99 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

(and Stationfall) Steve Meretzky produced these engaging sci-fi classics after testing games for Infocom and getting promoted to Implementor.

14. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky
(1984)
Average member rating: (161 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Meretzky, along with Douglas Adams, tested the limits of vexation and absurdity with this adaptation of the beloved story.

15. Leather Goddesses of Phobos
by Steve Meretzky
(1986)
Average member rating: (58 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Meretzky lampooned mildly-risqué, pulp-era science-fiction in this entertaining puzzle-fest.

16. Spellcasting 101 - Sorcerers Get All The Girls
by Steve Meretzky
(1990)
Average member rating: (22 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

(and Spellcasting 201 and Spellcasting 301) Meretzky brought magical music, sexy co-eds, and relentless silliness to Legend Entertainment with this amusing illustrated series.

17. Wishbringer
by Brian Moriarty
(1985)
Average member rating: (89 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Brian Moriarty took players to a magically quaint town with a chilling dual personality in this enchanting fantasy.

18. Trinity
by Brian Moriarty
(1986)
Average member rating: (80 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Moriarty's engrossing time-travel game explored the beginnings of the nuclear age in a surreal and unnerving manner.

19. Bureaucracy
by Douglas Adams, The Staff of Infocom
(1987)
Average member rating: (39 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Moriarty, with Douglas Adams and various Infocommies, asked the player to go to great lengths to sort through a confusion of rules, endure hilariously annoying NPCs, and solve elaborate puzzles in this comic game.

20. Beyond Zork
by Brian Moriarty
(1987)
Average member rating: (43 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Moriarty mixed elements from role-playing games with adventure games in this witty sequel to both Zork and the Enchanter series.

21. Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels
by Bob Bates
(1987)
Average member rating: (19 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Bob Bates' wry humor enlivened this Victorian mystery which pitted Sherlock Holmes against his nemesis, Professor Moriarty.

22. Arthur
by Bob Bates
(1989)
Average member rating: (25 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Bates' illustrated depiction of England's legendary king had Arthur proving his worth to Merlin by living among and as the wildlife of Briton.

23. Eric the Unready
by Bob Bates
(1993)
Average member rating: (34 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Bates' slapstick account of an accident-prone knight sent on quests to prevent him from saving a princess was garnished by illustrations, sound effects, and music.

24. Thaumistry: In Charm's Way
by Bob Bates
(2017)
Average member rating: (13 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Bates imagined magic as a form of whimsical misfortune in this charming homage to Infocom's glory days.


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