Favorite Fours From Industrious Implementors, 2G

Some IF writers write more than others. Here are my favorite four games from authors who’ve released at least half-a-dozen games to date. This list covers 2nd-generation text-adventure implementors, who published the bulk of their work from the Nineties on.

Neil deMause

  1. Neil deMause mocked school bureaucracy and campus oddities by sending the player on a quest to collect signatures to complete his enrollment in “MacWesleyan.”

  2. deMause subverted the logic and aesthetics of adventure games with “Undo’s” Dada-like trip into absurdity and self-reference.

  3. deMause took the player through New York’s history with deft prose, engaging puzzles, and time-travel in “Lost New York.”

  4. deMause toyed with the superhero genre in “The Frenetic Five vs. Sturm und Drang,” “The Frenetic Five vs. Mr. Redundancy Man,” and “The Frenetic Five vs. the Seven Deadly Dwarves” by creating hapless superhumans who must overcome mundane problems in order to defeat ridiculous supervillians.

Andrew Plotkin

  1. Andrew Plotkin moved the player through surreal alternate dimensions in “So Far,” whose haunting, symbolic nature and disorienting, non-intuitive puzzles modeled alienation.

  2. Plotkin’s espionage game, “Spider and Web,” depicted a grueling interrogation that revealed a backstory which set-up a remarkable gestalt puzzle.

  3. Plotkin constructed a harrowing journey through a claustrophobic space where the player must learn through death in “Hunter, in Darkness.”

  4. Plotkin dropped the player into a fascinating alchemical world where time and space had been fractured by an accident. Uniquely, “Hadean Lands” allowed the player-character to learn the steps of a process and repeat them with a single command.

G. Kevin Wilson

  1. G. Kevin Wilson’s playfully absurd homage to monster movies, “The Underoos That Ate New York!” was both fun and funny, if simple and sleight.

  2. Wilson’s interactive account of a marital betrayal, “The Lesson of the Tortoise,” exuded the charm and simple wisdom of Oriental folklore.

  3. In “The Sea of Night,” Wilson required us to fathom the alieness of an organic spacecraft in order to survive a shipwreck.

  4. Wilson sent the player-character from the Vietnam War to Arthur’s Avalon to the Faerie World to prevent a tragedy in “Once and Future.”

Ian Finley

  1. Ian Finley took the player to an antarctic research station in “Babel,” where the player-character learned to remember things he didn’t want to recall.

  2. Finley spooked us with an ominous TV broadcast in “All Alone,” an eerie suburban horror story.

  3. Finley channeled the player-character into a mind-numbing revelation in the bureaucratic dystopia of “Kaged.” Music and illustrations enriched the effect.

  4. In “The Shadow in the Cathedral,” Finley, with Jon Ingold, pulled the player into a world of intrigue, where clockworks are objects of worship.

Stephen Granade

  1. Stephen Granade crafted a delightful tale of an alien invasion, as seen by a boy in “Arrival, or Attack of the B-Movie Clichés.” Illustrations and sound effects enhanced the experience.

  2. Granade dove into surrealism with “Losing Your Grip,” a segmented, puzzle-heavy game about a drugged patient in a clinic.

  3. Granade created believable infant NPCs and some clever infant-motivated puzzles to go with them in “Child’s Play.”

  4. In “Fragile Shells,” Granade constructed a meticulous escape-the-room game concerning an astronaut in a dire situation.

Michael Gentry

  1. Michael Gentry unsettled players with “Little Blue Men,” a strange office story which morphed into a sci-fi horror piece.

  2. Gentry then unnerved us by providing clues to a hideous occult horror in the classic game “Anchorhead.”

  3. Gentry, with David Cornelson, had fun with “Jack Toresal and the Secret Letter,” an adventurous tale of an orphan getting entangled in politics.

  4. Gentry allowed the children to take charge in “The Lost Islands of Alabaz,” a charming story of a boy uniting a maritime kingdom.

Christopher Huang

  1. Christopher Huang tranformed players into a Victorian cleric who fell in love with young woman in “Muse: An Autumn Romance.”

  2. Huang generated a post-war mystery with a randomly-determined murderer and a detective who kept a meticulous notebook in “An Act of Murder.”

  3. Huang asked players to set-up the water-into-wine miracle in the Biblical story “Cana According to Micah.”

  4. Huang allowed a bored child to evade his aunt and uncle to play outside in the Edwardian puzzler “Sunday Afternoon.”