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Annotated list of best sci-fi games

Recommendations by MathBrush

A few months ago, I thought, "There really aren't that many sci-fi IF games". Then I started going through old games I had played, and downlaoded TADS, and was shocked at how many great sci-fi games there are. This is a list of my favorite science fiction games with a short blurb about each. Some horror-type games are not on this list, and time travel games and space games are common enough to have their own list.

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1. Worlds Apart
by Suzanne Britton
(1999)
Average member rating: (80 ratings)

MathBrush says:

My very favorite sci-fi game. I love reading sci-fi novels, and this book is just a great sci-fi novel in puzzle form. You play a healer in a very different world from ours. This is a TADS game. It's worth downloading the interpreter (not available on mobile) just for this game.

2. Spider and Web
by Andrew Plotkin
(1998)
Average member rating: (252 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Just as Worlds Apart is one of the best-written sci-fi games, Spider and Web has some of the best puzzles, including what many consider the best single puzzle of all time. You play with numerous gadgets and tools in the not-too-distant future.

3. Coloratura
by Lynnea Glasser
(2013)
Average member rating: (82 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A very popular competition game from recent years that I really enjoyed. You play the part of the alien who escapes on a ship. Your efforts to get home cause some trouble for the crew...

4. howling dogs
by Porpentine
(2012)
Average member rating: (99 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A twine game by Porpentine. In this game, you are a prisoner who uses an alternate reality machine every day. Porpentine is the best Twine writer I've seen.

5. Delusions, by C. E. Forman (1996)
Average member rating: (37 ratings)
MathBrush says:

A game about reality and truth. You play a tester of a virtual reality machine. Intricate and long.

6. Babel
by Ian Finley
(1997)
Average member rating: (133 ratings)

MathBrush says:

The most popular TADS game of all time. You wake up on a cold floor in an arctic base wearing a medical gown with no memory of who you are.

7. Gun Mute
by C.E.J. Pacian
(2008)
Average member rating: (128 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Has some parts that are PG-13 (just enough to be mildly annoying), but this shoot-em-up is a lot of fun. You are a cowboy in a post-apocalyptic world shooting through a sequence of a dozen robots/mutants.

8. Glowgrass, by Nate Cull (1997)
Average member rating: (90 ratings)
MathBrush says:

Another great TADS game. You play an archaelogist from the distant future investigating some ancient ruins. Has one of the most lovable NPC's of all time.

9. Slouching Towards Bedlam
by Star Foster and Daniel Ravipinto
(2003)
Average member rating: (184 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A very popular steampunk game where you investigate the death of a man with a mysterious illness. Turns IF conventions on their head.

10. Chlorophyll
by Steph Cherrywell
(2015)
Average member rating: (43 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A very well-implemented game where you play as a teenager 'xyloid' (a plant creature) who must fend for herself when her mother is incapacitated. A lot of optional material, which provides a beautiful and well-developed setting.

11. Till Death Makes a Monk-Fish Out of Me
by Mike Sousa and Jon Ingold
(2002)
Average member rating: (32 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Explore an underwater base with robots and squids after an experiment goes horribly wrong. Humor game.

12. Scavenger
by Quintin Stone
(2003)
Average member rating: (23 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Follow a lead on a big find as a scavenger in a post-apocalyptic world. Emily Short described it in part as playing Doom in Interactive Fiction (referring to atmosphere more than fighting, of which there is little).

13. Andromeda Awakening - The Final Cut
by Marco Innocenti
(2011)
Average member rating: (37 ratings)

MathBrush says:

What a fun natural disaster science fiction game! The writing is good, though a bit unusual at times. This game has elements similar to Sphere, Babel, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Independence Day (although without rubber-suited aliens). I liked it a lot.

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

An old-school difficult big sci-fi game. You are a PhD student working with scientists in an alternate universe when things go terribly wrong.

15. Solarium
by Anya Johanna DeNiro
(2013)
Average member rating: (47 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A Twine alchemy/steampunkish game. Uses a large inventory of sorts, interesting use of colors, voted Best Story the year it came out. I loved it.

16. Starcross
by Dave Lebling
(1982)
Average member rating: (42 ratings)

MathBrush says:

I liked this Infocom SciFi game more than Planetfall. Explore a big cylindrical space station controlled by mysterious rods and inhabited by 4 or more interesting races of creatures.

17. Brain Guzzlers from Beyond!
by Steph Cherrywell
(2015)
Average member rating: (58 ratings)

MathBrush says:

IFComp 2015's winner. A funny 50's tow run over by slimy brain Guzzlers. Mid length and illustrated.

18. Final Exam
by Jack Whitham
(2015)
Average member rating: (21 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Save a simulated world. Interesting commentary on worldwide politics.

19. Choice of Robots
by Kevin Gold
(2014)
Average member rating: (28 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Incredibly detailed and fascinating commercial choicescript game about shaping the future of robots.

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

MathBrush says:

Dramatic sci-fi game similar to Worlds Apart, but shorter. A story of two civilizations, one vaguely like ours and one of fiery humanoids, interacting over 3 or 4 episodes in their history.

21. Open Sorcery
by Abigail Corfman
(2016)
Average member rating: (48 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Outstanding, long Twine game about a firewall that is a living elemental in a world where magic mixes with tech.

22. Fabricationist DeWit Remakes the World
by Jedediah Berry
(2015)
Average member rating: (23 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A mid length Twine game with great setting, characters, and images. Help fix a station, yourself, and the world.

23. The Rocket Man From The Sea
by Janos Honkonen
(2012)
Average member rating: (15 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A mid-length Golden Age-type sci-fi story about a young kid playing pretend in the middle of an earth-Mars war.

24. Absence of Law
by mathbrush
(2017)
Average member rating: (29 ratings)

MathBrush says:

My game; communicate long distance with a sentient computer in a research facility to save a doctor's life.

25. Future Threads
by Xavid
(2017)
Average member rating: (10 ratings)

MathBrush says:

In an alien world, stop visions of the future that threaten a girl you care for.

26. En Garde
by Jack Welch
(2018)
Average member rating: (12 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Zombie science. Parser games with actions replaced by buttons.

27. Terminal Interface for Models RCM301-303
by Victor Gijsbers
(2018)
Average member rating: (15 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A mech game with remote control.

28. Human Errors
by Katherine Morayati
(2018)
Average member rating: (13 ratings)

MathBrush says:

A dystopian future game with nice styling.

29. Rent-a-Vice
by Natalia Theodoridou
(2018)
Average member rating: (5 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Choicescript game in a future where you can live vicariously through others, even having them do dangerous things.

30. MetaHuman Inc.
by Paul Gresty
(2015)
Average member rating: (4 ratings)

MathBrush says:

Run a corporation that specializes in witchraft and alien technology. Monthly budget meetings interspersed with a mystery plot involving aliens.


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