Game Listing by Rating
[ * ]
[ ** ]
[ *** ]
[ **** ]
[ ***** ]
[ Reviewed but not rated ]
A guide to the meaning of these ratings
* (one star): These are the worst of games. The best one-star games are those that simply
fail to understand what adventure games are or how they work; anything
that's only pretending to be an adventure game automatically falls into this
category. The worse offenders exhibit such traits as
impossibly picky parsers, puzzles that are impossible to solve without
reading the source code, utter lack of debugging or proofreading, and
childishly offensive text.
** (two stars): This is the rating typical of the Scott Adams era. Expect a two-word
parser, minimal detail, and a limited range of commands. Don't expect a
great deal of plot. Many of these games can be an entertaining diversion,
if you don't mind the lack of sophistication.
*** (three stars): Most of the 1980's Compuserve Gamer's Forum AGT games fall here. The parser
should handle full sentences, but will probably reject most of them without
adequate explanation. Expect a consistent atmosphere with lots of descriptive
text (in many cases, too much) and a certain amount of story. Also expect
unrealistic results whenever you try anything the author didn't anticipate.
**** (four stars): This is the level typical of the 1990's. Infocom-quality parser,
prose on a level with hack novels at least, and a world with a comfortable
degree of simulation. Perhaps a few flashy programming tricks and sub-games.
Well-tested, with most weird special cases handled.
***** (five stars): Pure joy. These games are technically on par with ****, but outshine the rest
by their polished prose, intriguing stories, rich detail, goals that pull you
along, serious thematic content, and sheer playability.
If a game is reviewed but not rated, it is usually because it's odd enough
that it cannot be meaningfully compared to the mass of text adventures.