IFDB Top 100 (2015-06-26)

There are several excellent lists of interactive fiction available, such as the Top 50. I was however unable to find one that made use of the large amount of ratings on IFDB. Being a sucker for rankings, I decided to create one using an IMDb style Bayes estimator. Here it is, based on what I scraped from IFDB a few hours ago:

  1. 4.61 Counterfeit Monkey (2012) by Emily Short (50 votes)
  2. 4.60 Anchorhead (1998) by Michael Gentry (229 votes)
  3. 4.43 Lost Pig (2007) by Admiral Jota (277 votes)
  4. 4.40 Worlds Apart (1999) by Suzanne Britton (61 votes)
  5. 4.38 Violet (2008) by Jeremy Freese (222 votes)
  6. 4.36 Trinity (1986) by Brian Moriarty (62 votes)
  7. 4.35 Planetfall (1983) by Steve Meretzky (81 votes)
  8. 4.33 Hadean Lands (2014) by Andrew Plotkin (18 votes)
  9. 4.32 Spider and Web (1998) by Andrew Plotkin (186 votes)
  10. 4.32 The Mulldoon Legacy (1999) by Jon Ingold (28 votes)
  11. 4.32 Blue Lacuna (2008) by Aaron A. Reed (72 votes)
  12. 4.30 Photopia (1998) by Adam Cadre (372 votes)
  13. 4.30 Savoir-Faire (2002) by Emily Short (78 votes)
  14. 4.27 City of Secrets (2003) by Emily Short (75 votes)
  15. 4.26 Bronze (2006) by Emily Short (152 votes)
  16. 4.23 Slouching Towards Bedlam (2003) by Star Foster, Daniel Ravipinto (135 votes)
  17. 4.23 Metamorphoses (2000) by Emily Short (78 votes)
  18. 4.19 Coloratura (2013) by Lynnea Glasser (43 votes)
  19. 4.19 Suveh Nux (2007) by David Fisher (136 votes)
  20. 4.18 Enchanter (1983) by Marc Blank, Dave Lebling (62 votes)
  21. 4.17 Flexible Survival (2010) by Nuku Valente (20 votes)
  22. 4.16 Endless, Nameless (2012) by Adam Cadre (22 votes)
  23. 4.15 Make It Good (2009) by Jon Ingold (51 votes)
  24. 4.14 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1984) by Douglas Adams, Steve Meretzky (130 votes)
  25. 4.11 Eric the Unready (1993) by Bob Bates (25 votes)
  26. 4.10 Babel (1997) by Ian Finley (104 votes)
  27. 4.10 80 Days (2014) by inkle, Meg Jayanth (10 votes)
  28. 4.09 Mentula Macanus: Apocolocyntosis (2011) by One of the Bruces, Drunken Bastard (22 votes)
  29. 4.06 The Gostak (2001) by Carl Muckenhoupt (41 votes)
  30. 4.05 Varicella (1999) by Adam Cadre (85 votes)
  31. 4.05 A Mind Forever Voyaging (1985) by Steve Meretzky (69 votes)
  32. 4.04 Vespers (2005) by Jason Devlin (101 votes)
  33. 4.04 Spellbreaker (1985) by Dave Lebling (35 votes)
  34. 4.03 The Guild of Thieves (1987) by Rob Steggles (17 votes)
  35. 4.03 Adventurer’s Consumer Guide (2007) by Øyvind Thorsby (20 votes)
  36. 4.03 Jigsaw (1995) by Graham Nelson (57 votes)
  37. 4.03 The Lurking Horror (1987) by Dave Lebling (63 votes)
  38. 4.01 Leather Goddesses of Phobos (1986) by Steve Meretzky (51 votes)
  39. 4.01 All Things Devours (2004) by Half Sick of Shadows (58 votes)
  40. 4.01 Curses! (1993) by Graham Nelson (82 votes)
  41. 4.00 Bee (2012) by Emily Short (44 votes)
  42. 4.00 Augmented Fourth (2000) by Brian Uri! (44 votes)
  43. 4.00 The King of Shreds and Patches (2009) by Jimmy Maher (42 votes)
  44. 4.00 Sorcerer (1984) by Steve Meretzky (38 votes)
  45. 4.00 Stationfall (1987) by Steve Meretzky (30 votes)
  46. 4.00 Treasures of a Slaver’s Kingdom (2007) by S. John Ross (24 votes)
  47. 3.99 18 Cadence (2013) by Aaron A. Reed (13 votes)
  48. 3.98 Christminster (1995) by Gareth Rees (64 votes)
  49. 3.97 Nightfall (2008) by Eric Eve (37 votes)
  50. 3.97 Kerkerkruip (2011) by Victor Gijsbers (36 votes)
  51. 3.97 Blighted Isle (2007) by Eric Eve (33 votes)
  52. 3.97 Gateway (1992) by Mike Verdu, Michael Lindner, et al. (25 votes)
  53. 3.96 Zork Zero (1988) by Steve Meretzky (42 votes)
  54. 3.95 Fallacy of Dawn (2001) by Robb Sherwin (16 votes)
  55. 3.95 To Hell in a Hamper (2003) by J. J. Guest (68 votes)
  56. 3.94 Suspended (1983) by Michael Berlyn (29 votes)
  57. 3.94 Gun Mute (2008) by C. E. J. Pacian (92 votes)
  58. 3.94 The Axolotl Project (2013) by Samantha Vick (10 votes)
  59. 3.94 Cyberqueen (2012) by Porpentine (25 votes)
  60. 3.93 Dual Transform (2010) by Andrew Plotkin (69 votes)
  61. 3.93 Not Just An Ordinary Ballerina (1999) by Jim Aikin (23 votes)
  62. 3.93 Shade (2000) by Andrew Plotkin (267 votes)
  63. 3.93 Arthur (1989) by Bob Bates (22 votes)
  64. 3.92 9:05 (2000) by Adam Cadre (323 votes)
  65. 3.91 Alabaster (2009) by John Cater, Rob Dubbin, et al. (80 votes)
  66. 3.90 The Shadow in the Cathedral (2009) by Ian Finley and Jon Ingold (12 votes)
  67. 3.90 Wishbringer (1985) by Brian Moriarty (69 votes)
  68. 3.89 Cryptozookeeper (2011) by Robb Sherwin (11 votes)
  69. 3.89 Exhibition (1999) by Ian Finley (20 votes)
  70. 3.89 Pytho’s Mask (2001) by Emily Short (56 votes)
  71. 3.89 Horse Master (2013) by Tom McHenry (37 votes)
  72. 3.89 You Will Select a Decision (2013) by Brendan Patrick Hennessy (28 votes)
  73. 3.89 Beyond Zork (1987) by Brian Moriarty (36 votes)
  74. 3.88 Six (2011) by Wade Clarke (27 votes)
  75. 3.88 Plundered Hearts (1987) by Amy Briggs (43 votes)
  76. 3.88 Hunger Daemon (2014) by Sean M. Shore (26 votes)
  77. 3.88 Rover’s Day Out (2009) by Jack Welch, Ben Collins-Sussman (33 votes)
  78. 3.88 Ad Verbum (2000) by Nick Montfort (97 votes)
  79. 3.87 Delightful Wallpaper (2006) by Andrew Plotkin (56 votes)
  80. 3.87 Ollie Ollie Oxen Free (2013) by Carolyn VanEseltine (16 votes)
  81. 3.87 Hunter, in Darkness (1999) by Andrew Plotkin (94 votes)
  82. 3.87 First Draft of the Revolution (2012) by Emily Short, Liza Daly, Inkle (23 votes)
  83. 3.86 Robin & Orchid (2013) by Ryan Veeder, Emily Boegheim (29 votes)
  84. 3.86 Gateway 2: Homeworld (1993) by Mike Verdu, Glen Dahlgren (14 votes)
  85. 3.86 Tales of the Traveling Swordsman (2006) by Mike Snyder (35 votes)
  86. 3.86 Rematch (2000) by Andrew D. Pontious (49 votes)
  87. 3.86 Ultra Business Tycoon III (2013) by Porpentine (27 votes)
  88. 3.86 Spellcasting 101 - Sorcerers Get All The Girls (1990) by Steve Meretzky (20 votes)
  89. 3.86 Lists and Lists (1996) by Andrew Plotkin (13 votes)
  90. 3.85 Sunset Over Savannah (1997) by Ivan Cockrum (40 votes)
  91. 3.85 Child’s Play (2006) by Stephen Granade (40 votes)
  92. 3.85 With Those We Love Alive (2014) by Porpentine, Brenda Neotenomie (26 votes)
  93. 3.85 So Far (1996) by Andrew Plotkin (59 votes)
  94. 3.85 Moments Out of Time (2001) by L. Ross Raszewski (12 votes)
  95. 3.84 Raising the Flag on Mount Yo Momma (2010) by Juhana Leinonen (11 votes)
  96. 3.84 First Things First (2001) by J. Robinson Wheeler (11 votes)
  97. 3.84 The Elysium Enigma (2006) by Eric Eve (60 votes)
  98. 3.84 LASH – Local Asynchronous Satellite Hookup (2000) by Paul O’Brian (29 votes)
  99. 3.84 Dinner Bell (2012) by Jenni Polodna (29 votes)
  100. 3.84 For a Change (1999) by Dan Schmidt (72 votes)

Edit: An automatically updated version is now kept here.


This feels very different from the actual Top 50 that Victor usually organises…

…but I like this list!

Of course, there are some oddities - “List and Lists” over “For a Change” is… curious. But hey.

(funny how Edifice failed to make the cut)

Formula used for weighted ratings:

  • (r × v + c × m) ÷ (v + m)

Where:* r = average of ratings for the work

  • v = number of ratings for the work
  • c = the mean rating on all of IFDB (3.32)
  • m = minimum amount of ratings required (9)


  • 3.32 is the mean of all individual ratings, but the mean of all work averages is 2.69.
  • 9 might not be an optimal required amount of ratings, but after some experimentation I believe it to be reasonable.
  • 3,790 of the totally listed 7,457 works have no ratings at all. Only 691 works have the required 9 ratings or more.

Distribution of all individual ratings:

Only two I’m unfamiliar with are
#20 Flexible Survival (2010): “An erotic survival game set after a bioterrorism attack.”
#95 Raising the Flag on Mount Yo Momma (2010): “Gus is a smug numbskull who doesn’t deserve to have the insult battle championship. You are here to take the title from him with the best yo momma insults there are. You just have to find them first.”

Yeah, it’s interesting that Flexible Survival scores so high, actually.

Hmmm, all the ratings were cast within the same five-day-or-so period. I guess the IFDB entry was announced at their place and they flocked over to rate it highly.

Ah well. I don’t think anything can be done about it. It does leave us with Flexible Survival being, apparently, higher rated than A Mind Forever Voyaging and Babel and Endless, Nameless and well, that does irk me a bit. But this is only a bit of fun anyway, so.

Flexible Survival is a pretty amazing achievement–lots of people try to implement a massive RPG in text but they’re the only ones who’ve done it. And people who don’t like it probably don’t play enough to rate it.

It does seem like the people who rate it highly pretty much don’t rate anything else, which is unfortunate, but it’s not like there’s an official award they’re gaming or something.

Heh, I didn’t mean to downsay FS quite that much. :slight_smile: It’s an amazing achievement, just like you said. I am just a bit uncomfortable that a rating exists where it gets to be higher rated than a bunch of other games.

Including, actually, Kerkerkruip. FS is listed higher than Kerker.

(so sad Aisle didn’t make it to this rating. Ah well).

[rant]Before anyone says it, yes, I am perfectly aware that this is a purely mechanical rating extracted from a rating system in a database where there are umpteen variables. I know it’s a curio-only list. Regardless, I’m still sad Aisle didn’t make the cut. I’m just an emotional guy[/rant]

EDIT - Hmmmm. All the information on IFDB on FS mentions RPG and erotica (closer to porn, but ah well), but it does not mention the significant fact that all of the sexual encounters are yiffy in nature. Wouldn’t it be relevant? I can add it myself, but I figured I might as well ask.

I don’t think it’s necessary to detail the erotic aspects of an erotic game in the IFDB. (Other people may disagree, of course.)

So, there’s no need to differentiate a game about consensual sex from a game about rape? Or a game that is specifically about BSDM? Or beastiality? Or scat? All of these fall neatly under “erotica”?

I mean, these days there are trigger words for everything. If there’s one place where a bit of fair warning seems reasonable is in an adult game with specialised tastes, whatever those tastes may be.

If you were certain of the answer, what did you ask the question for? Go ahead and make the change if you think it’s important.

Also - based on your examples, your definition of “trigger warning” appears to be incorrect, as a trigger warning doesn’t mean “Some people will find this content icky.” A trigger warning means “This content will be actively harmful to a significant enough subsection of the population that we are notifying that subsection of the population about the content involved.” (See geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Trigger_warning for a detailed explanation.)

If you’d like to discuss trigger warnings further, please open a new thread in General and Off-Topic, as it would be off-topic for this thread.

Like most everyone else, I have a set of assumptions, and I act on those assumptions. According to my assumptions I would have thought the IFDB page would have the information I thought was useful. I was surprised to find that it didn’t.

Rather than go ahead and add the information - which would mean disregarding the opinion of pretty much everyone else and giving priority to my assumptions alone - I stopped to think about the reason for the lack of that information. I therefore asked. Maybe no one actually knew. Maybe no one thought it was important. Maybe it’s just not policy to differentiate.

You did not see any reason for the information to be specified. Along the lines of the useful argument and exchange of ideas I thought we were having, I provided the arguments that seemed most sensible to me.

I was not expecting an answer of this sort, I admit.

RE trigger warnings, it seems I did not completly understand what they were. Thank you for the detailed information.

EDIT - It is ok to ask questions when you’re certain of the answer, BTW. For one thing, maybe you’ll find out you weren’t right. For another, maybe you’ll engage the other person in useful discussion. Everyone does it all the time, and hardly ever with ill intent. Your admonishment seems very strange to me. I’ve had amazing discussions that started with someone asking a question they were certain of the answer to, and being answered in a completely unexpected way.

Okay, I see your perspective better now. Here’s a better explanation of my perspective.


  1. The information should be added, because games should have accurate descriptions in the IFDB.

2) The information shouldn’t be added, because there’s no need to detail the exact nature of sexual content in the IFDB.

I lean toward the latter. I’m okay with the former. I don’t have much of a horse in this race. (I haven’t played this game, and don’t play AIF in general.)

I think it’s important for value judgments to be presented in reviews, rather than the main game information. I responded to your post because including a content warning about yiffing feels like a value judgment to me.

But I may have read too much into your question, and if so, I apologize.

Apology not necessary, I think you had flashbacks of some earlier posts of mine soon after the CoC was established and you had some misgivings. It’s ok. :slight_smile: Thanks for your response.

Yes, a content warning would probably be overkill, I see your point. On the other hand it’s not just to ward off people - some people would prefer, and actively seek, all those sub-cathegories I mentioned - including, yes, yiffy, which is all the more curious because - fursuits aside - it is exclusively about fictional creatures on fictional worlds, and as such, an actual game revolving around it would be of great interest to those who’d care.

Maybe tag the game? And other games involving other unusual erotica, like the optional rape/forced sex and coprophilia in One Girl? Hmm, but if I add those tags it will probably put some people off, just as you say…

Well, actually, in the end a review is definitely the best way, I agree. If I can’t be arsed to write one myself I should stop complaining. :wink:

EDIT - It just dawned on me. It’s not a “value judgement”, is a statement of fact.

EDIT 2 - It just dawned on me. I’m spending too much time dwelling on this.

Actually, the difference between this list and the Top 50 is not that big. The median deviation of rank position when comparing all works in the latest Top 50 with this list is 10.5. As a comparison, the median deviation between the 2011 and 2015 version of the Top 50 is 9.5. Any overlap of position interval is in this example counted as zero deviation.

Lists and Lists has an average rating of 4.2 on IFDB, while For a Change has 3.9. The latter does however have more ratings and would be ranked higher if I had set m to at least 11.

The Edifice got ranked 122, with a weighted rating of 3.79.

Aisle got ranked 115, with a weighted rating of 3.80.

I’d say that the biggest difference between the Top 50 I organise and this Top 100 based on IFDB ratings is that the former counts positive votes and the latter counts positive and negative votes. A game like The Baron, which some people really like and some people really don’t see the point of, does well in the former but badly in the latter. A game about which everyone is positive but which nobody believes to be fantastic has a much better chance of getting into the latter than it has of getting into the former.

Mostly, this means that the two lists are nice complements to each other. The Top 50 gives you games that some people really recommend; the Top 100 gives you games that you can hardly go wrong with. (That’s actually how I generally see IMDB ratings. A high IMDB rating means that the movie can’t be bad, though it might not be my cup of tea. But I generally get more excited by a recommendation by someone whose sense of taste I trust.)

There’s also a bit of a social component, of course. A game with a niche audience might have a high rating on the IFDB, since only people from the niche rate it, but might not appear in the Top 50, since the niche might not participate on this forum. That could be the Flexible Survival story.

Beyond Zork and Zork Zero are the only Zorks represented, somewhat surprisingly to me. No Losing Your Grip or Change in the Weather. Agree with Victor that more polarizing games are less likely to be reflected in the IFDB ratings, which makes it surprising that The Gostak shows up at #29 (with 41 votes), as that game appears to have the highest standard deviation in the history of the IFComp (the comp page doesn’t have those stats for 1995-1998, but it’s not obvious what entry from those years would have been more polarizing).

But people who play it nowadays do so because they heard about it and are interested. Outside of a competition, it’s not something you play for longer than two minutes unless you’re keen on the precise experience it delivers. :slight_smile:

The presence of Zork Zero is truly weird, since in discussion I get the impression I am the only person in the entire world who liked Zork Zero.

Yes, even the peg puzzle. Don’t judge me.

I’m totally judging you on the peg puzzle, the tower of hanoi and the fox feed and fowl puzzles.

But I also loved it, so don’t feel lonely.

I really loved Beyond Zork with its light RPG mechanics and randomness.