One puzzle type I’ve always loved, and which IF is pretty unique in being able to present (since it’s not graphical), is when there’s an object or (even better) a structure that is described without giving away that it is in fact something very concrete and specific. Does anyone have games that do this to recommend?
I’m not sure if I’m able to explain it properly, but a prime example of what I mean is the Oddly-Angled Room in Zork II. It requires the player to understand what is being described, without being told outright. (And yes, it’s a notoriously bad puzzle and I agree with that – it’s the concept I love!) Or when the player finds an “everyday” item that the character in-game apparently doesn’t know about and so doesn’t recognize, like the hot air balloon that’s also in Zork II. (In the same vein, the nature of the noise in the Loud Room in Zork I is similar.)
It’s hard to convey exactly what it is I’m looking for (many games have items that you don’t understand what are immediately), but stuff like this always reminds me of Gene Wolfe, especially his Solar Cycle books that take place in the far future, when knowledge of the original nature of some structures and buildings has been lost.