Setting

See also the winners for Best Setting in the XYZZY Awards each year.

Changeable Locations. Descriptions of places change significantly over the course of the game, reflecting alterations of the environment or the passage of time.

  • Wishbringer, Infocom.
  • A Mind Forever Voyaging, Infocom.
  • A Change in the Weather, Andrew Plotkin. A thoroughly realized environment that changes with the time of day and the state of the weather.
  • Common Ground, Stephen Granade. Changes descriptions of items depending on your identity and viewpoint at the moment. [My Review]
  • Nothing More, Nothing Less, Gilles Duchesne. Draws different items to your attention as you move through your apartment, depending on what state the game is currently in and what your player character is attempting to accomplish. Gives the sense that the game world is full of a large number of objects while not distracting the player with red herrings. An inventive and interesting treatment.
  • Shade, Andrew Plotkin. The setting more or less is the game in this case.
  • Janitor, Peter Seebach and Kevin Lynn. Both descriptions and room exits change when a special device in the game is turned on and off. [Thanks to David Welbourn for pointing this out.]

Detailed World. The game world is treated with an unusual degree of specificity and detail.

  • Sunset Over Savannah, Ivan Cockrum. A beautifully-realized and complete game world.
  • Hunter, in Darkness, Andrew Plotkin. Scenery is described to several levels — not only all the nouns in the main room descriptions, but most of their subcomponents, and even components of components have their own descriptions.
  • She’s Got a Thing For a Spring, Brent VanFossen. Much of the pleasure of the game is in the detailed and accurate descriptions of natural scenery — animals, different types of plants, and so on.
  • The Cove, Kathleen Fischer. Features a variety of animals and other scenery all intricately described.
  • Worlds Apart, Suzanne Britton. Suzanne’s game is remarkable for the depth of the worldbuilding that goes into producing the overall effect. [My Review]

One-Room Game. The game is set in a single room. You can also use the Advanced Search page at Baf’s Guide to find more examples of these.

  • Trapped in a One-Room Dilly, Laura Knauth. Puzzle game including a large number of toys and gadgets with which to occupy your time.
  • Enlightenment, Taro Ogawa. Compact and humorously designed, with puzzles that build on repeated use of objects, but combine nicely towards a single goal. An excellent example of how to pack an entertaining game into a small space. Placed fifth in IF Comp 1998.
  • Out of the Study, Anssi Raisanen. Game which turns on your meticulously examining every object, and sub-object, and sub-sub-object…

Large World. The game world is especially generous in size, as measured by the sheer number of rooms.

  • Mulldoon Legacy, Jon Ingold. Massive puzzle-centric game, containing an eclectic array of puzzles of all sorts.
  • Once and Future, G. Kevin Wilson.
  • 1893, Peter Nepstad. Meticulously reproduces the map of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, with massive exhibits and fairgrounds.
  • Book and Volume, Nick Montfort. Presents a very large city with numerous (though sparsely occupied) shops, offices, and other settings.

Unusual Mapping of Space. Large areas are treated as single rooms, or small ones are divided into separate locations.

  • Lost New York, Neil deMause . A game about New York as it is and has been over the years. Treats entire neighborhoods as single rooms.
  • Shade, Andrew Plotkin. Game tracks your position within a single room. A good example of continuous space, where description depends on where you are in the room, but movement to interact with other objects is automatic.
  • Stone Cell, Stephen Kodat. You spend part of the game confined to a small cell, which is divided into a three-by-three grid of internal locations.
  • Small World, Andrew Pontious. Takes place on a miniature globe, where one location may be an entire segment of the globe.
  • Earth and Sky 2: Another Earth, Another Sky, Paul O’Brian. Similarly occurs on a tiny planet, divided into distinct biodomes.

Treatment of Real-Life Location. [Try also searching Baf's Guide for games in the Travel Genre.]

  • Lost New York, Neil deMause. A game about New York as it is and has been over the years.
  • 1893, Peter Nepstad. Meticulously reproduces the map of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, with massive exhibits and fairgrounds.
  • Jigsaw, Graham Nelson. Incorporates a number of real historical settings, including the Titanic and the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.
  • Fire Tower, Jacqueline Lott. Simulates a hike through real-life territory, including plants and animals one might expect to encounter on the journey. It is also interesting as a treatment of a journey: only interesting spots along the way are modeled. When the player hikes from one spot to the next the clock is advanced and a short description of his journey is provided.

Setting-less IF. The work gets rid of a spatial paradigm (rooms and movement in geographic space) in favor of some other structuring.

  • Glass, Emily Short. All action takes place in a single space; there is no room description or naming of place; no movement commands are permitted. All action focuses on conversation.