Influential Games - an IFDB Poll

by Rose
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As a historical exercise, I've begun compiling a list of IF games that have either done something ground breaking with the medium or otherwise influenced it; and I've turned it into a poll so everyone can have input on the expansion.

This list began as a recommended list combined with poll, but I have decided to keep everything on this page for convenience's sake.

Thanks for your help!

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Zork I, by Marc Blank and Dave Lebling
49 votes
"Set the standard for modern IF." [+]"Set the standard for modern IF.: Zork I lifted the IF world right out of the depths of Adventure and set its course straight for the golden shores. " ( - Full review) --AmberShards... "IF Ancestor should not be missed" [+]"IF Ancestor should not be missed: Where else would you have discovered a grue?" () --DallasBrianK... "Epic and Funny Universe." [+]"Epic and Funny Universe." --Drobatch... "One of the earliest, and still great." [+]"One of the earliest, and still great." () --artao... "The one and only." [+]"The one and only." --Atari Lover... "The best IF game ever!!" [+]"The best IF game ever!!: It's a milestone in the IF history." --zhaofeng... "it's zork" [+]"it's zork" --stadtgorilla... "In the beginning, there was ZORK." [+]"In the beginning, there was ZORK.: The parser set the standard for the genre." () --Puddin Tame... "It's the first!" [+]"It's the first!: Zork begat pretty much all interactive fiction" --ZUrlocker... "first game ever played on a personal computer (1982)" [+]"first game ever played on a personal computer (1982)" --hazel... "IF as we know it does not exist without the original Zork!" [+]"IF as we know it does not exist without the original Zork!" --Zennmaster... "The Great Underground Empire. Enough said." [+]"The Great Underground Empire. Enough said.: Zork was and is the most elaborate IF game ever. The sheer scope of The Great Underground Empire is unrivaled by even the most in-depth games." --Ant-Fan... "Infocom's first..." [+]"Infocom's first..." --blindncool... "IF's sine qua non" [+]"IF's sine qua non: Without Zork, we literally would not have IF. It's the first game with a parser that doesn't make you want to throw your computer. The field has made such advances since that I'd never recommend it to an inexperienced player, but it's still playable." () --Janice M. Eisen... "Funny and immersive!" [+]"Funny and immersive!: It's how I got into IF in the first place! The locations feel real to me; I can picture standing outside the house in the beginning so clearly it feels like an actual memory. Not to mention the wonderful tongue-in-cheek narration!" () --beriaearwen... "A game changer with Grue" [+]"A game changer with Grue: The best beginner's adventure-Zork, is the game that lets imagination and fantasy create the worlds." --A. I. Wulf... "There at the Beginning" [+]"There at the Beginning" --Chuckles... "Seminal" [+]"Seminal: The jokey, slightly surreal tone established in Zork continues to reverberate through IF today even in games with entirely different settings and play styles." () --JonathanCR... "To my knowledge,..." [+]"To my knowledge, this was the first work of IF sold commercially. " --Rose... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Ghalev... "The game that..." [+]"The game that became emblematic of interactive fiction for a generation." () --qwrrty... (No comment) [+](No comment) --David Welbourn... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --schifter... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Grey... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --tggdan3... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Matt Wigdahl... "Its a tough call..." [+]"Its a tough call between this one and Adventure. I think you could make the case that Adventure some more innately seminal, but I believe the superior quality of the Zork One gaming experience, and the fact that it was almost certainly the single best-selling piece of commercial entertainment software until the mid-to-late 1980s, places it a cut above Adventure in overall significance. Contrary to popular belief, it was not the first commercial IF game. It was preceded by Scott Adams' Adventureland, Pirate Adventure, and Secret Mission...and possibly by Voodoo Castle as well (they both came out in 1980). There were also several other largely quite obscure & forgotten IF titles for the Commodore Vic-20, Commodore PET, the TRS-80, and very probably the Apple II and IBM PC systems. But Zork One sold more than all of them combined, and will still be remembered (albeit not so much, alas) in the year 2050." () --Xervosh... (No comment) [+](No comment) --sushabye... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Muskie... "Does this even..." [+]"Does this even require discussion? To the outside world, Zork IS interactive fiction." () --Jim Kaplan... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Karl Ove Hufthammer... (No comment) [+](No comment) --E.K.... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) --H1N1777... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Wanderer... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Denk... "Loved this game..." [+]"Loved this game from the very beginning of my gaming life. I was only 4 when I started playing & I learned how to read because of Zork. Honestly, I don't know where my creativity would stand today if I didn't need to make up my own "graphics" in my head." --Kronous... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Zoltar... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Billy Mays... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Spike... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Audiart... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Mizake... (No comment) [+](No comment) --prevtenet... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --plutonick... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Mikalye... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Fredrik... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo...

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Adventure, by William Crowther and Donald Woods
42 votes
"It all starts here" [+]"It all starts here: Without Adventure, we would be lost in a dark cave." --Sylvia Storm... "No IF without this one." [+]"No IF without this one." () --artao... "The Granddaddy Of Them All" [+]"The Granddaddy Of Them All: This was the first-ever Interactive Fiction; without it, the entire genre might never have gotten started." () --Jeff Zeitlin... "What Zork copied from." [+]"What Zork copied from.: Adventure defined the whole genre - Crowther invented the world representation (rooms, directions, inventory, darkness, ..) and Woods the notion of story (treasure hunting, puzzles, magic, NPCs, ..)." --Biep... "It literally set the standard, it created the standard" [+]"It literally set the standard, it created the standard" --Mikalye... "Zork's sine qua non" [+]"Zork's sine qua non: The game that inspired the Imps to do better." --Janice M. Eisen... "Inspires imagination and wonder!" [+]"Inspires imagination and wonder!" --Sardog... "Even before PC" [+]"Even before PC" --Chuckles... "welcome to adventure!!" [+]"welcome to adventure!!: absolutely THE most influential was ADVENT" --Dave Arnt... "The one that..." [+]"The one that started it all! This was the first work of what is now known as Interactive Fiction. " () --Rose... (No comment) [+](No comment) --qwrrty... (No comment) [+](No comment) --aaronius... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) --schifter... "So much that we..." [+]"So much that we take for granted was established here, including basics like inventory and navigation." --baf... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Azazel... "The very first..." [+]"The very first one. This is why IF exists." () --Nathan... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Xervosh... "The very first...." [+]"The very first. Nothing more need be said." () --Fredrik... (No comment) [+](No comment) --sushabye... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Cheryl L... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Ferret From Hell... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Karl Ove Hufthammer... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Artran... (No comment) [+](No comment) --David Welbourn... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Anthony Hope... (No comment) [+](No comment) --teefal... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Zoltar... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Denk... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --tekket... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Mizake... (No comment) [+](No comment) --prevtenet... (No comment) [+](No comment) --CMG... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Ivanr... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Feneric... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Jade68... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Jubal...

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Photopia, by Adam Cadre
28 votes
"Vivid and charming." [+]"Vivid and charming." --HumanHand... "A new spin" [+]"A new spin: This was a new spin on a genre showing that the story arc trumped interactivity. An interesting forbearer of "modern IF"." ( - Full review) --ZUrlocker... "Imitated a lot." [+]"Imitated a lot.: One of the first games of the amateur era to really put story first. So many games afterward use the same sequence-of-vignettes structure." --baf... "Others sum up..." [+]"Others sum up this game far better than I can. Just read the reviews. " () --Rose... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Emily Short... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Merk... (No comment) [+](No comment) --SleepyEmp... "Photopia drove..." [+]"Photopia drove home the notion that works of IF did not have to be "games", that IF could still be interactive without puzzles, and that the medium of IF can present stories in a way that other media can't easily match -- that is, some stories can only be told via IF." --David Welbourn... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Michael R. Bacon... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Grey... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Matt Wigdahl... "Very interesting..." [+]"Very interesting and captivating story, great for beginners and hardcore gamers alike (if you are tired from breaking your brains). You read it like a book (because you don't forget about the plot when you solve a puzzle)." --Drobatch... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Aintelligence... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Jordan Magnuson... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Karl Ove Hufthammer... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Janice M. Eisen... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --prevtenet... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Ivanr... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Pedestr!an... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Karlok... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Jade68... (No comment) [+](No comment) --DAzebras... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Kinetic Mouse Car... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Drew Cook...

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Curses, by Graham Nelson
26 votes
"Beautifully written epic" [+]"Beautifully written epic: I was recommended this as a classic, and although I'm a novice player I can appreciate it's significance." ( - Full review) --ragnaR... "Kickstarted modern IF and Inform" [+]"Kickstarted modern IF and Inform" --artao... "Charming and beautiful..." [+]"Charming and beautiful..." --blindncool... "A new beginning for Interactive Fiction" [+]"A new beginning for Interactive Fiction: Computer technology advanced relentlessly, leaving behind in its wake much that excited the imagination of many of us. Would games like Zork disappear into the recess of old computer games with no graphics? Thankfully, along came Curses, which demonstrated that IF can be taken seriously as a medium for writers who want to get the reader actively involved." --mjhayes... "The first modern game" [+]"The first modern game" () --Zoltar... "Quality and depth" [+]"Quality and depth: Great atmosphere, great puzzles and addictive gameplay." ( - Full review) --The Black Rattie... "Large, sprawling, mystical, funny, awe-inspiring" [+]"Large, sprawling, mystical, funny, awe-inspiring" ( - Full review) --Wynter... "The first Inform..." [+]"The first Inform game released. " --Rose... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --zer... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Emily Short... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --schifter... "Inform's default..." [+]"Inform's default command responses were written specifically for this game, and loads of games use them without alteration. As such, Curses has had a tremendous impact on their feel." --baf... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Azazel... (No comment) [+](No comment) --sushabye... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --E.K.... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Janice M. Eisen... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Mizake... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --prevtenet... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Spike... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Denk... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Mikalye... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Edo...

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky
25 votes
"frackin' hilarious. and tough." [+]"frackin' hilarious. and tough." --stadtgorilla... "Mostly harmless!" [+]"Mostly harmless!: I believe this game was the first to use non-linear story-telling and multiple POVs. It is also laugh out loud funny. So good I will excuse the fact that it only covers about half the book. Ranks among my top 3 Infocom works (along with TRINITY and DEADLINE)." () --Puddin Tame... "Don't Panic!" [+]"Don't Panic!: My second IF!" --Agnishom... "Tough but charming" [+]"Tough but charming: Perhaps the best IF based on a book. Funny, tough and great feelies." --ZUrlocker... "The adventure at the end of the universe!" [+]"The adventure at the end of the universe!" --blindncool... "Funny" [+]"Funny" --hhrichards... "Nostalgic" [+]"Nostalgic: especially since I was so attached to the original novel" --egostat... "First game with a..." [+]"First game with a lying narrator. First game to use footnotes. Probably the first game with multiple PCs." --David Welbourn... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --qwrrty... (No comment) [+](No comment) --pylar_escapist... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Michael R. Bacon... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Grey... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Xervosh... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Janice M. Eisen... (No comment) [+](No comment) --itsdnoftheworld... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Mizake... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Integer Man... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Fredrik... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --plutonick... "Proved that the..." [+]"Proved that the atmosphere and puzzles could co-exist and feed on each other." --Mikalye... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Pedestr!an... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Edo...

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Anchorhead, by Michael Gentry
23 votes
"Widely praised, standard-setting modern game" [+]"Widely praised, standard-setting modern game" () --artao... "One of the most..." [+]"One of the most coherent and compelling narratives in IF. Putting the "fiction" back in interactive fiction." () --qwrrty... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Emily Short... (No comment) [+](No comment) --CAS 1317-38-0... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Azazel... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Xervosh... (No comment) [+](No comment) --HumanHand... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Michael R. Bacon... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --bluevelvetwings... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Janice M. Eisen... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Denk... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Mizake... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Laney Berry... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --E.K.... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Jade68... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Kinetic Mouse Car... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Inarcadia Jones... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo...

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A Mind Forever Voyaging, by Steve Meretzky
18 votes
"Broadened the possibilities of IF beyond "gaming"" [+]"Broadened the possibilities of IF beyond "gaming"" --artao... "Breaking out of the box of traditional I.F." [+]"Breaking out of the box of traditional I.F." --Atari Lover... "Defines "Interactive Fiction" as contrasted with "Adventure Game"" [+]"Defines "Interactive Fiction" as contrasted with "Adventure Game": This opened up the possibilities beyond "Get stuff, score points". Actually encourages exploration of the game world, even if you've previously successfully reached an endpoint." () --Jeff Zeitlin... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --aaronius... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Grey... "The first IF that..." [+]"The first IF that had something important to say." () --Nathan... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Matt Wigdahl... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Janice M. Eisen... "Groundbreaking..." [+]"Groundbreaking idea." --DonaldJohnson... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Laney Berry... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --E.K.... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --plutonick... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Karlok... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Drew Cook... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo...

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Galatea, by Emily Short
18 votes
"Vivid and intelligent." [+]"Vivid and intelligent." --thomasjent... "The entire game..." [+]"The entire game consists of a conversation with one NPC. " () --Rose... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) --CAS 1317-38-0... (No comment) [+](No comment) --SleepyEmp... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Michael R. Bacon... (No comment) [+](No comment) --David Welbourn... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --diddlescatter... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Cheryl L... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) --darint... (No comment) [+](No comment) --E.K.... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Janice M. Eisen... "Arguably kicked..." [+]"Arguably kicked off a whole era of games and discussion focused on realistic conversation." --prevtenet... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Pedestr!an...

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Aisle, by Sam Barlow
15 votes
"Multiplicity actualized!" [+]"Multiplicity actualized!" --HumanHand... "Introduced the..." [+]"Introduced the 'one-move' game. Influenced Pick Up the Phone Booth and Aisle, I'll, Rematch, and The Phoenix Move." --David Welbourn... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Emily Short... (No comment) [+](No comment) --CAS 1317-38-0... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Michael R. Bacon... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Karl Ove Hufthammer... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --E.K.... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --DustyCypress... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Laney Berry... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Pedestr!an... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Karlok...

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Spider and Web, by Andrew Plotkin
13 votes
"Perhaps the cleverest use of IF to tell a story that would not work in any other medium." [+]"Perhaps the cleverest use of IF to tell a story that would not work in any other medium." () --Jerome C West... "The unreliable narrator taken to another level." [+]"The unreliable narrator taken to another level." --Mizake... (No comment) [+](No comment) --pylar_escapist... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Matt Wigdahl... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Xavid... (No comment) [+](No comment) --cozy... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Karlok... (No comment) [+](No comment) --VanishingSky... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Edo...

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Trinity, by Brian Moriarty
12 votes
"Perhaps Infocom's best game." [+]"Perhaps Infocom's best game.: TRINITY pushed IF in a literary direction moreso than any game that preceded it. A thoughtful, well-written blend of fantasy and history." () --Puddin Tame... "The first IF that made me say, "This can be art."" [+]"The first IF that made me say, "This can be art."" () --Janice M. Eisen... "The first serious game" [+]"The first serious game: Most games are designed to make you feel clever. Trinity is designed to make you feel for the human race." --Mikalye... "I haven't played..." [+]"I haven't played it myself, but I believe it has been an influence on many works of IF since. " --Rose... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --zer... (No comment) [+](No comment) --aaronius... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Form 27b-6... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Edo...

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The Hobbit, by Philip Mitchell and Veronika Megler
11 votes
"Unbelievably advanced for its day" [+]"Unbelievably advanced for its day: It's hard to believe this game wasn't written yesterday, and sent back 25 years into the past in a time machine as some cruel prank to confuse future IF historians. Despite its many flaws by today's standards, it still pulls off many tricks with its parser and AI characters which are more advanced than any IF system available to us now." () --Jerome C West... "Innovative early..." [+]"Innovative early use of AI for NPCs." --Molly... "Extremely..." [+]"Extremely influential on the mid-80s European IF market." () --Fredrik... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Zoltar... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Denk... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --plutonick... (No comment) [+](No comment) --JonathanCR... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Jade68...

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Adventureland, by Scott Adams
11 votes
"Scott Adams influenced everyone who played computer games in the eighties." [+]"Scott Adams influenced everyone who played computer games in the eighties." --Ken Hubbard... "One of the first. Challenging." [+]"One of the first. Challenging.: One of the first. Challenging. Available for some of the first home home computer systems." () --jgerrie... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Xervosh... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Fredrik... "A fun game which..." [+]"A fun game which established a template for fitting parser-based adventures into home computers which didn't have much RAM. Of course Adams's games were also ported to computers which had RAM to spare." () --Wade Clarke... "Limited, but..." [+]"Limited, but kicked off the home computer adventure game craze and established the famous "you can't get ye flask" style that many people still associate with IF today." --prevtenet... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Denk... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Jason Lautzenheiser...

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howling dogs, by Porpentine
11 votes
"got me interested in IF" [+]"got me interested in IF" --carciclarbtor... "Arguably the game that kickstarted Twine" [+]"Arguably the game that kickstarted Twine" --Jubal... "It may be a bit..." [+]"It may be a bit odd to call a year-old game influential, but the effect this work (plus nearly all of Porpentine's games) has had on the Twine community is tremendous." () --Molly... "Highly visible..." [+]"Highly visible both inside and outside the IF community; got its own booth on the GDC floor when Richard Hofmeier gave it his Cart Life slot." --Emily Short... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sdn... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --CMG... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Ivanr... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Nathaniel... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Kinetic Mouse Car... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Drew Cook... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo...

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Deadline, by Marc Blank
11 votes
"Established a new genre" [+]"Established a new genre: To me, this was the first IF game that went outside the realm of dungeons & dragons lore and into the mainstream. It also established the whole notion of "Feelies" (e.g. clever packaging) and introduced a number of other elements like real-time, NPCs, etc. This game helped establish story-based IF." ( - Full review) --ZUrlocker... "Whodunit I.F. A fun new genre when introduced. " [+]"Whodunit I.F. A fun new genre when introduced. " --Atari Lover... "Got me hooked on Infocom games." [+]"Got me hooked on Infocom games.: Pioneer in the use of NPCs. Infocom never produced another mystery game as good as this one. Ranks among my top 3 Infocom games (along with TRINITY and HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GLAXY)." () --Puddin Tame... "Set the template..." [+]"Set the template for how mystery genre games would be represented in IF, overshadowing the approach taken by The Colonel's Bequest." --David Welbourn... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Matt Wigdahl... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Janice M. Eisen... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Denk... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Drew Cook...

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De Baron, by Victor Gijsbers
10 votes
"Contains an..." [+]"Contains an innovative multiple-choice system: at certain points in the story you are allowed to make choices on not only what your character does, but why he does it (e.g., whether to kill an animal out of mercy or sadism.)" () --Molly... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Emily Short... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --aaronius... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --CMG... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Ivanr... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Laney Berry... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Karl Ove Hufthammer...

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Plundered Hearts, by Amy Briggs
9 votes
"Not just for the female PC" [+]"Not just for the female PC: though that was important too, this game was also one of the first with a PC who had a specific character and backstory that you could detect in the game's prose. Huge leap forward in terms of literary quality for IF." --Pinstripe... "Early example of..." [+]"Early example of a protagonist who's a) female and b) a specific individual with a family, etc." --Gemma Bristow... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Xervosh... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Jubal... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Drew Cook...

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Blue Lacuna, by Aaron A. Reed
9 votes
"Great extensions" [+]"Great extensions: Whether you dig this game or not, Aaron Reed set a new bar for ease of use and story quality. Plus he contributed some excellent extensions for keyword emphasis, smarter parser etc." --ZUrlocker... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Juhana... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --brattish... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Azazel... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Matt Wigdahl... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Denk... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Laney Berry... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo...

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Leather Goddesses of Phobos, by Steve Meretzky
8 votes
"Black circles, gender-changing restrooms, and more" [+]"Black circles, gender-changing restrooms, and more: One of the earlier gender-bending games, and arguably the first to reach a wide audience (complete with a gender choice made by taking an action rather than answering a prompt). Also a strong example of conscious advancement in player-friendly world design, with teleportation circles making it easy to move quickly across multiple regions in a large play-area." () --Ghalev... "How can you not like a game that introduced scratch and sniff. It is a pity that this particular innovation was not more widely copied." [+]"How can you not like a game that introduced scratch and sniff. It is a pity that this particular innovation was not more widely copied." --Mikalye... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Xervosh... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --stadtgorilla... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Janice M. Eisen... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney... (No comment) [+](No comment) --plutonick...

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Counterfeit Monkey, by Emily Short
8 votes
"My first really great if game I've played- it's still my favorite!" [+]"My first really great if game I've played- it's still my favorite!" --Callithumpian... "The best game ever created" [+]"The best game ever created: This game is reason enough to create a national IF Laureate post. I hope Emily Short wins the lottery, or, barring that, I hope I win the lottery and can become a patron of her work. If anyone ever meets Sarah Vowell, please please have her play this game." ( - Full review) --jenzwick... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Xavid... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --DustyCypress... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Laney Berry... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Lance Cirone... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Edo...

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Suspended, by Michael Berlyn
8 votes
"Broke the Mold" [+]"Broke the Mold" --AmberShards... "Very innovative" [+]"Very innovative: Multiple protagonists was something new, and they could even cooperate. Still, it wasn't just a game based on a single gimmick - the story, writing and artwork were all compelling." () --Fredrik Ramsberg... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Matt Wigdahl... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Mikalye... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Janice M. Eisen... "A very..." [+]"A very interesting premise that showed a new way for puzzles to be done." --DonaldJohnson...

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Planetfall, by Steve Meretzky
8 votes
"Floyd is the first NPC that everyone talks about." [+]"Floyd is the first NPC that everyone talks about." --matt w (Matt Weiner)... "An early success at vivid imagery and storytelling." [+]"An early success at vivid imagery and storytelling." --Zennmaster... "Really showed what could be done with an NPC" [+]"Really showed what could be done with an NPC" --Mikalye... "Floyd!" [+]"Floyd!" () --Janice M. Eisen... "30+ years later, I still remember Floyd." [+]"30+ years later, I still remember Floyd.: This game showed that a NPC didn't have to be just another object, but something that made the world come alive. Floyd is the granddaddy of Non Players being an actual Character you care about." --Mark Pittman... "thoughtful, robust NPC development" [+]"thoughtful, robust NPC development" --Dave Arnt... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Denk... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney...

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Slouching Towards Bedlam, by Star Foster and Daniel Ravipinto
7 votes
"A sinister steampunk masterpiece" [+]"A sinister steampunk masterpiece" () --Jerome C West... "Ingenious and innovative" [+]"Ingenious and innovative" --Zoltar... "Incorporates meta-commands into the story." [+]"Incorporates meta-commands into the story." --Rovarsson... "Great work on..." [+]"Great work on offering the player real control over the direction of the story without reducing that control to a single undoable choice-point." --Emily Short... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Azazel... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney...

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Rameses, by Stephen Bond
7 votes
"New innovations in railroading and in strongly characterized PCs." [+]"New innovations in railroading and in strongly characterized PCs." --matt w (Matt Weiner)... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Emily Short... (No comment) [+](No comment) --CAS 1317-38-0... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Cheryl L... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Artran... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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So Far, by Andrew Plotkin
7 votes
"A beautiful and unsettling dream" [+]"A beautiful and unsettling dream: IF doesn't necessarily have to tell a coherent story; sometimes it just throws a series of puzzles at you, or challenges you to choose between a bunch of morally dubious options. So Far doesn't ever seem to be about narrative, or challenge, or debate; it's about mood, and tone, and sensation. Each scene evokes a genuinely palpable feeling: suspicion, unease, astonishment, claustrophobia, reconciliation; it's all there. As an experience, I can't really fault it; as a game, it's a bit of a nightmare, but that's why walkthroughs exist." --Mizake... "If this isn't the..." [+]"If this isn't the first example of the now cliche "surreal adventures in a land that may or may not be in the protagonist's mind" IF, then it certainly was the one that had the most effect on the imitators." --Molly... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --zer... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Emily Short... (No comment) [+](No comment) --rec53... "Inspired a flurry..." [+]"Inspired a flurry of other surrealist works, such as Of Forms Unknown." () --JasonMel... (No comment) [+](No comment) --DustyCypress...

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Enchanter, by Marc Blank, Dave Lebling
7 votes
"Seems like every IF product ever is named after a spell from this trilogy." [+]"Seems like every IF product ever is named after a spell from this trilogy." --matt w (Matt Weiner)... "Showed the world what IF was capable of" [+]"Showed the world what IF was capable of: Zork was the first game that gave us a taste of the scope of how much an Interactive Fiction game could do. Enchanter took Zork and expanded on it, making the game even larger with more features. This is the game that truely defined IF." --Ant-Fan... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Janice M. Eisen... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Denk... (No comment) [+](No comment) --JasonMel... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney...

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Pick Up The Phone Booth And Die, by Rob Noyes
6 votes
"Hugely influential... in its own way" [+]"Hugely influential... in its own way: More of a meme game than a serious contender. But it undeniably started a trend." --Gyromancer... "Love it or hate..." [+]"Love it or hate it, it did spawn a lot of imitators, even as recently as 'Pick up the pine box and die' in 2008." --David Welbourn... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Michael R. Bacon... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Karl Ove Hufthammer... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo...

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Fail-Safe, by Jon Ingold
6 votes
"Would not work if..." [+]"Would not work if it was static fiction, the experience on replaying is completely different. Cadre tried to do something similar at an earlier time, but Ingold is much more compelling with Failsafe." --CAS 1317-38-0... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Matt Wigdahl... "Perhaps the first..." [+]"Perhaps the first convincing example of true second-person fiction - with a brilliant plot twist that matches the second person mode as well." () --Cheryl L... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Janice M. Eisen...

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Shade, by Andrew Plotkin
6 votes
"Modern IF work..." [+]"Modern IF work relatively well-known and well-regarded outside of IF circles - probably has introduced many to modern non-commercial interactive fiction." () --Cheryl L... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Emily Short... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Janice M. Eisen... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo...

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9:05, by Adam Cadre
6 votes
"Very short, but play it again. Trust me." [+]"Very short, but play it again. Trust me." () --darint... "Great comedic game with amazing replay value" [+]"Great comedic game with amazing replay value: Great comedic game with amazing replay value. I always recommend this game to my friends who are unfamiliar with IF due to its charm and ease of play." () --sugar.freegirl... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Wanderlust... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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Mystery House, by Ken Williams and Roberta Williams
5 votes
"The first graphic adventure" [+]"The first graphic adventure: Established conventions seen throughout the first wave of illustrated text games (such as hitting return on an empty line to toggle the graphics on and off), and paved the way for all the Sierra games." --baf... "Launched a genre" [+]"Launched a genre" --Mikalye... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Wade Clarke... (No comment) [+](No comment) --sushabye... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Denk...

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Hunter, in Darkness, by Andrew Plotkin
5 votes
"Linguistic claustrophobia" [+]"Linguistic claustrophobia" --Mizake... "Does away with..." [+]"Does away with compass directions. Technically, this isn't influential since it didn't catch on, but it was an interesting innovation. " ( - Full review) --Rose... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --aaronius... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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Varicella, by Adam Cadre
5 votes
(No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Emily Short... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Laney Berry... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It, by Jeff O'Neill
5 votes
"Long-term influence seems minimal or at least indirect, but noteworthy for discarding the standard adventuring-room-to-room paradigm almost entirely in favor of conceptual puzzle-play." [+]"Long-term influence seems minimal or at least indirect, but noteworthy for discarding the standard adventuring-room-to-room paradigm almost entirely in favor of conceptual puzzle-play." --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Janice M. Eisen... (No comment) [+](No comment) --plutonick... (No comment) [+](No comment) --JonathanCR...

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Softporn Adventure, by Chuck Benton
4 votes
"The granddaddy of..." [+]"The granddaddy of all pornographic IF, laying the groundwork (nudge nudge, wink wink) for the first game in the Leisure Suit Larry series." --David Welbourn... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Ghalev... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Xervosh...

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Main Hall & Beginners Cave, by Donald Brown
3 votes
"Representative of a series" [+]"Representative of a series: Beginner's Cave is utterly insignificant by itself, but as the representative of probably the longest-running series in IF history, it takes on a whole other dimension. Especially since you can keep your character, treasures and weapons throughout as many games as you can survive." () --Fredrik... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Denk... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Edo...

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Border Zone, by Marc Blank
3 votes
"different roles/perspectives in the same story, and realtime events" [+]"different roles/perspectives in the same story, and realtime events" --Fredrik Ramsberg... "A new spy genre in realtime" [+]"A new spy genre in realtime: This was one of the last Infocom games, and has a great 3 part sequence. It's easy to have fun with it and the atmosphere is tense because of the realtime clock. I only wish there were more spy genre!" () --ZUrlocker... "Perspectives IF" [+]"Perspectives IF" --Atari Lover...

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For a Change, by Dan Schmidt
3 votes
(No comment) [+](No comment) --Anya Johanna DeNiro... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Will... (No comment) [+](No comment) --patrick.brian.mooney...

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John's Fire Witch, by John Baker
3 votes
"Start of the trend towards short IF" [+]"Start of the trend towards short IF: On its release in 1995, it was novel to have a full game, not a mere sketch or demo, intended to be finished in a single sitting. This game inspired a lot of discussion on the newsgroups. Later that year, the first IF comp was held." --baf... "Fun and atmospheric" [+]"Fun and atmospheric" () --Zoltar... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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A Change in the Weather, by Andrew Plotkin
2 votes
"I believe this..." [+]"I believe this was the first game with no score. " --Rose...

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Rematch, by Andrew D. Pontious
2 votes
"Tour de force of indirection" [+]"Tour de force of indirection: Rematch is on the surface a one-turn game like Aisle, however it provides an impressive way of packing many actions into that one turn. It's the first of its kind." --CAS 1317-38-0... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Sobol...

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Ditch Day Drifter, by Michael J. Roberts
2 votes
"This was the..." [+]"This was the sample game for the TADS authoring system. " --Rose... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --MathBrush...

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All Roads, by Jon Ingold
2 votes
"Linearity of play and nonlinearity of plot in a way that goes beyond Photopia and I think was influential." [+]"Linearity of play and nonlinearity of plot in a way that goes beyond Photopia and I think was influential." --matt w (Matt Weiner)... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Ivanr...

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Endless, Nameless, by Adam Cadre
2 votes
"inspired my love for interactive fiction" [+]"inspired my love for interactive fiction: love this game, it was the first text adventure id ever played and it got me into the genre as a whole" --taxifurbied... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Laney Berry...

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A Day for Fresh Sushi, by Emily Short
2 votes
(No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --S. Plumb...

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Lime Ergot, by Caleb Wilson (as Rust Blight)
2 votes
(No comment) [+](No comment) () --Doug Orleans... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --CMG...

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A Bear's Night Out, by David Dyte
2 votes
(No comment) [+](No comment) --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Jade68...

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She's Got a Thing for a Spring, by Brent VanFossen
2 votes
(No comment) [+](No comment) --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Kinetic Mouse Car...

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Exhibition, by Ian Finley
2 votes
(No comment) [+](No comment) () --Artran... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --EJ...

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Twine Story, by Mike69420666
1 vote
"Inspiration for twine starters" [+]"Inspiration for twine starters: This is a really good game and it shall inspire every IF newbie to write a story in twine and add to the IF community..." ( - Full review) --Brett...

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The Edifice, by Lucian P. Smith
1 vote
"The language..." [+]"The language puzzle in particular - a good exercise exploring conversation in IF" --DustyCypress...

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Beyond Zork, by Brian Moriarty
1 vote
(No comment) [+](No comment) () --Ghalev...

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The Pawn, by Rob Steggles, Peter Kemp, Hugh Steers, Ken Gordon, and Geoff Quilley
1 vote
"First Magnetic Scrolls game" [+]"First Magnetic Scrolls game" () --Denk...

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The Guild of Thieves, by Rob Steggles
1 vote
"Funny, Surrealistic and innovative" [+]"Funny, Surrealistic and innovative: It was the one got me hooked. Funny, surrealistic and innovative. Although it just does the same thing as previous games it had a different feel. " --LeMort...

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A Conversation on Cheating the Twine Word Counter, by Mykael
1 vote
"gives us tips on twine internals and some workarounds" [+]"gives us tips on twine internals and some workarounds: It adds to the depth of knowledge that might be helpful for large game devs. The author has had good experience with it and has kept a note of things that matter to game devs. I'm sure the author might have another interesting story to share.." --Brett...

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the uncle who works for nintendo, by michael lutz
1 vote
"creepy as hell and makes great use of its format" [+]"creepy as hell and makes great use of its format" --carciclarbtor...

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The Space Under the Window, by Andrew Plotkin
1 vote
(No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Michael R. Bacon...

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The Golden Wombat of Destiny, by Huw Collingbourne
1 vote
"The sass on this game." [+]"The sass on this game.: A bizarre, descriptive exploration with the very best sense of humor. And some very hard puzzles." --thomasjent...

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Mystery Science Theater 3000 Presents "Detective", by C. E. Forman, Matt Barringer, Graeme Cree, and Stuart Moore
1 vote
"Several other..." [+]"Several other MiSTings followed, during the (first) run of the TV show." --JasonMel...

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The Lost Spellmaker, by Neil James Brown
1 vote
"First IF to..." [+]"First IF to feature an LGBT character or relationship (though I could be mistaken)." --JasonMel...

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Fallacy of Dawn, by Robb Sherwin
1 vote
(No comment) [+](No comment) () --Anya Johanna DeNiro...

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King's Ransom, by Sean Ellis
1 vote
"The first game made with GAC - a tool used for 300+ games" [+]"The first game made with GAC - a tool used for 300+ games" --Denk...

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Ghost Town, by Scott Adams
1 vote
"Very clever and well themed" [+]"Very clever and well themed: Scott Adams wrote this story which really created my love for IF." ( - Full review) --dimitroff...

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PataNoir, by Simon Christiansen
1 vote
(No comment) [+](No comment) --akaisha0...

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