I am considering hosting a party over Zoom or the like, and I want to invite my guests to experience a couple of IF works with me. But which ones?
To my mind a work is party-suitable only if it is relatively easy to jump into, and the interactive component is non-trivial. Regarding the latter quality, if my friends think it would be reasonable or funny to enter a command into the parser, there should be a decent chance that the author has anticipated the combination, even if the only response is a wittily-phrased way of saying, “You can’t do that.” Or if it is a non-parser work, it should offer meaningful choices that impact the story.
My friends and I enjoy word games, wordplay, sci-fi, RPGs, and ribald humor in moderation. On the other hand, we would not have much fun with pornography, graphic violence, or math puzzles.
What do you suggest?
You could do a lot worse than to try Nord and Bert on a casual, wordplay-oriented audience. Yes, some of the concepts are a little more “do you like wordplay and understand parser mechanics?” than others, but I bet you could get some convivial yuks out of it.
Of course, Counterfeit Monkey is probably the example of “do anything” in a wordplay game. I might also suggest To Hell in a Hamper which is a one-room escape that’s all about finding things to do with the tools at hand. Similarly Aisle which is one-room and one move that is all about trying every interaction possible.
Possibly also check out Enlightenment.
I recommend choice-based interactive fiction for Zoom parties. Then players can take turns picking options.
When playing parser/puzzle IF in a group, it’s typical that only the most engaged player starts to lead everybody else around.
Going off the IFDB Top 100, 80 Days is the top-ranked choice game, followed by Open Sorcery, and Birdland. They’d all work great in a Zoom party.
Lost Pig has worked well for several group plays, and is especially suited for “did the author think of that?”
You Will Select a Decision would work great. Fake Soviet choose your own morality tales poorly translated into English. Very funny. You can easily let people make the choices round robin style. Once you’ve reached the end of a path it’s very easy to back up to change choice points and try something different. There are two different stories and both have paths that vary wildly.
I’ll recommend Animalia, as a) four animals in a human suit pretending to be an ordinary boy is ridiculously fun, and 2) it’s deep enough for one play-through but also rewards going through it again if people are super into it.
What a lovely collection of recommendations!
There are so many good ideas here that I am still not sure what I am going to choose, but this is certainly a wide enough selection. Thank you, all!