I work with students who are studying English as a second language. Many are looking for fun ways to practice their English outside of class, and some have shown an interest in interactive fiction. As I personally haven’t spent much time playing such games, I don’t have many ideas to suggest. Here’s what I’m looking for:
- A good first game that will get people “hooked”.
- Well-written, but without colorful, poetic, or college-level language. The students can understand books like Tom Sawyer just fine.
- Plot constrained to a G-rating.
- Lots of space to explore initially.
- A smart parser that understands lots of verbs, so that students don’t get frustrated too quickly by the computer’s ignorance.
I suppose Admiral Jota’s “Lost Pig” would meet those requirements well enough (except, perhaps, the one about having lots of space initially).
Or try Matt Wigdahl’s “Aotearoa”.
Or just roam the Interactive Fiction Database (ifdb.tads.org) till you find what your after. It shouldn’t take too long.
Lost Pig is good for beginners, but not the best game for learning English
Here’s a good list of recommendations: ifdb.tads.org/poll?id=memavsp06v1oc571
Out of those I-0 is a definite no-no. There’s some pretty adult content in that one. I don’t know most of them, but Glowgrass would probably be pretty good (from memory).
A Bear’s Night Out is great. I really love this game, though some might consider it a child’s game, it’s not really.
Ralph is another one I’d recommend. It has a lot of good verbs (you play as a dog). The puzzles aren’t obvious though:
ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=og54uz … jh&ratings
The Lesson of the Tortoise was fun:
There are more, but I’m knackered. Good-luck!
Ooh, just remembered an awesome one:
ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=b7zs6ocxlntb1u7c - it’s multimedia (has a few sounds and pictures), and is really fun, and pretty forgiving.
More from the list: Violet also is a bit less than G-rated, I think, and you should stay very very far away from Rendition for this purpose. Gun Mute is a shoot-em-up which will also not work. The Gostak is so hilariously inappropriate for ESL learners that you should play a few turns just to check it out. Suveh Nux probably won’t work for similar reasons (there are at least a few acronyms in it as well as some made-up words), which is a pity because otherwise it seems pretty suitable.
The Dreamhold could be a good idea. And maybe Sara Dee’s Mite, from the most recent IFComp? The map is pretty constrained, but otherwise it fits your criteria pretty well, I think .
Bronze might work. It’s a good how-to-play-IF game and is well-written. It’s a Beauty and the Beast tale as well; I don’t know if your students have familiarity with [some version of] that story.
Although “Carma” is a much more linear experience, and not traditional IF, you might want to take a look at it. At least one puzzle (you’ll know it when you see it) can be quite interesting to play in group.
Also - an Alan game called “The Chasing”. The parser could be better, but apart from that, I think it’s quite, quite fitting.