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Noteworthy Games Which Aren't Z-Code or TADS Bytecode

Recommendations by Walter Sandsquish

Most text-adventure games have been written with some version of ZIL or Inform or TADS, but most isn't all, and we might forget that other methods get used too.

So, here is a list of noteworthy games which don't live on a Z-Machine or a TADS VM. By noteworthy, I mean games which offer at least three hours of game-play, which use a full-sentence parser that isn't frustrating, and which aren't overly clichéd or, at least, make novel use of clichés.

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1. Amnesia
by Thomas M. Disch
(1986)
Average member rating: (10 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Part satire, part thriller, part homelessness.

2. Breakers
by Rodney Smith
(1986)
Average member rating: (2 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

A bar-room brawl meets a religious epiphany.

3. Brimstone
by James Paul
(1985)
Average member rating: (2 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Camelot as a nightmare.

4. Busted!, by Jon Drukman and Derek Pizzuto (1993)
Average member rating: (5 ratings)
Walter Sandsquish says:

A surreal, sardonic, & stoned tour of campus.

5. Corruption
by Rob Steggles, Hugh Steers
(1988)
Average member rating: (16 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

A workplace so toxic you'll get poisoned.

6. Cosmoserve, by Judith Pintar (1991)
Average member rating: (7 ratings)
Walter Sandsquish says:

Programming, investigation, and plumbing.

7. Cryptozookeeper
by Robb Sherwin
(2011)
Average member rating: (20 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Splatterpunk mixed with Pokémon.

8. Demon's Tomb - The Awakening
by Simon Price
(1989)
Average member rating: (3 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Eldritch horror twists archeology.

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

Walter Sandsquish says:

The quest as a sit-com.

10. Fish!
by John Molloy, Pete Kemp, Phil South, Rob Steggles
(1988)
Average member rating: (14 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Espionage, parallel dimensions, and goldfish.

11. Gateway
by Mike Verdu, Michael Lindner, and Glen Dahlgren
(1992)
Average member rating: (33 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

(and Homeworld) A plethora of planets, all with something in common.

12. Guilty Bastards, by Kent Tessman (1998)
Average member rating: (6 ratings)
Walter Sandsquish says:

Neo-noir, but cute.

13. The HeBGB Horror!, by Eric Mayer (1999)
Average member rating: (7 ratings)
Walter Sandsquish says:

Cthulhu, nose piercings, and guitar chords.

14. Jinxter
by Georgina Sinclair, Michael Bywater
(1987)
Average member rating: (9 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Can luck get worse than death?

15. Mindwheel
by Robert Pinsky, William Mataga, Steve Hales
(1985)
Average member rating: (5 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Telepathy as biography.

16. Myth
by Paul Findley
(1989)
Average member rating: (10 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Greek gods and game-play.

17. Necrotic Drift
by Robb Sherwin
(2004)
Average member rating: (18 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Coming of age with zombies.

18. The Pawn
by Rob Steggles, Peter Kemp, Hugh Steers, Ken Gordon, and Geoff Quilley
(1985)
Average member rating: (26 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

(and Guild of Thieves) Medieval monopolies, with dwarves, and stripey shirts.

19. Shades of Gray, by Mark Baker, Steve Bauman, Belisana, Mike Laskey, Judith Pintar, Cindy Yans, and Hercules (1992)
Average member rating: (7 ratings)
Walter Sandsquish says:

Robin Hood, the American Civil War, the Red Scare, and voodoo, and it all makes sense, almost.

20. The Sound of One Hand Clapping
by Erica Sadun
(1993)
Average member rating: (5 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Dragons, Buddhism, and water features.

21. 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) Frats with magic mood organs.

22. Spur, by Kent Tessman (1995)
Average member rating: (6 ratings)
Walter Sandsquish says:

A murder mystery in the Old West.

23. Tales of the Traveling Swordsman
by Mike Snyder
(2006)
Average member rating: (44 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Pastoral plunder.

24. TimeQuest
by Bob Bates
(1991)
Average member rating: (10 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Fix a past that's getting fixed.

25. Trading Punches
by Mike Snyder
(2004)
Average member rating: (10 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Remember the past and live in the future.

26. Wonderland
by David Bishop, Bob Coles, Paul Findley, Ken Gordon, Richard Huddy, Steve Lacey, Doug Rabson, Anita Sinclair, Hugh Steers and Mark Taylor
(1990)
Average member rating: (10 ratings)

Walter Sandsquish says:

Victorian fantasy, with white rabbits, and living playing cards.


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