Escape-based story game recommendations, please

I am completely new to the world of IF, and I’ve never tried to make a game before. As you can imagine, I’m having a lot of trouble moving forward.

Mainly, I’m lacking in the area of game design and flow. I’m making the game version of an idea for a chapter of one of my many unwritten stories. It’s based on escaping an area – first you have to figure out getting out of the medical research facility, then you discover on the grounds that you need a key from the main area you’ve been forbidden to enter, you meet the deuteragonist there, you get the key, and then you have several choices on what to do after you get out. The deuteragonist always meets you again whatever you choose.

So I am having trouble coming up with the specific steps. I can spout out purple prose about your surroundings all day, but when it comes right down to it I don’t know what to make the player do to progress, what little details you can find, etc.

I need recommendations on similar games to help inspire me, as I’m used to regular video games. Do you have any ideas or recommendations?

If it’s your first time writing a game, I recommend writing a game that is a near-clone of a game that you like, changing only the characters and setting.

So I would turn the question to you: what kind of IF games do you like?

But you describe yourself as “completely new to the world of IF,” so much so that you might not know what you like yet. In that case, you could try playing a few of the highest rated games that appeal to you.

Take careful notes while you play, both so you can solve the puzzles and so you can reproduce designs in your own work.

See also Emily Short’s guide to writing IF, where her documentation of the creation process begins by “learning the field,” i.e. playing a bunch of games.

A little plug: in 2010 I wrote this puzzle design document (that would nowadays be called a post-mortem). It’s about an escape-the-room game so it might be of some help.

Escapade!, the game Juhana made, really is good and is the first game I thought of. Other good Escape games include Suveh Nux, enlightenment, trapped in a one-room dilly, Fragile Shells, Dual Transform and Hoosegow.

I also recommend TO HELL IN A HAMPER which is a timed escape set in the basket of a hot air balloon headed for a volcano set in Victorian times.

Thank you for the replies! I’ll start playing some of these now.