Best non-commercial games from before XYZZY and IfComp

I love playing every IF game I can get my hand on, and I have made extensive use of jmac’s excellent IFcomp histories and ifwiki’s XYZZY nominee list.

What came before that? I love Infocom, Adventure, and Curses!, and perhaps Praser 5 (but maybe that was later). What were some of the best games from that time?

I guess you want to look at the TADS shareware era (now freeware) – the Unnkulia series, Ditch Day Drifter. Emacs Dunny.

An IFDB search on “published:1990-1994” should cover it, although of course there’s lots there that nobody now remembers.

You sound like you’re really like The Mulldoon Legacy.

And if you’re really in for a challenge, hey, try out the Phoenix/Topologika games. Sangraal and Avon seem to be the best places to start.

You’ll also enjoy Magnetic Scrolls and Level 9, the British counterparts of Infocom, and Legend Entertainment (Eric the Unready, Timequest, Spellcasting 101, Gateway), the spiritual successor to Infocom.

So basically, you have a lot to discover (lucky you!), and a lot of quality games were the commercial ones made by companies that we now know very well - what a shocker!

The ones that immediately come to mind:

Shades of Grey
Multi-Dimensional Thief
The Legend Lives!
The Sound of One Hand Clapping
The Horror of Rylvania

and to pick one so far out of left field it isn’t even on ifdb, try Under the Ice:

Where were you when I was looking for BBC micro games? :slight_smile:

…only a Private Message away?

But in seriousness, I haven’t done much BBC gaming. A lot of them have non-BBC ports. I think the only exception was a Phoenix game only available in that form (Quondam) which is incidentally absurdly hard; you get killed just for saving your game too early.

Even the one I linked above has a DOS version (that’s how I originally played it) but I wasn’t able to find a working image.