Ground Zero

Player Rating6.88/8

"#12 overall, #3 for 2007"
based on 11770 ratings since 04/19/2008
played 247,017 times (finished 16,298)

Story Difficulty8/8

"mosie through a minefield"

Play Length8/8

"Even light has to break at the rest stop"

Maturity Level7/8

"anything goes"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 18. If this were a movie, it would probably be R.

If you see a bright light, duck and cover!

Additional notes:

I should point out that this story can be very long assuming you're not dying. Years pass and your surroundings will most likely change. You may very well live a life time in the story if you're lucky. You will also experience a completely different adventure depending on how you escaped the initial nuclear strike. (Assuming you do survive it.)

As with any of my writings, the "story" comes before the "game". However, this story was written in a "game like" format. So while there isn't a complex inventory and all of that, you can technically "win" by getting one of the 4 special endings. (You'll know if you get one because you'll get an epilogue)

Player Comments

First playthrough was quite enjoyable. The choices in Ground Zero are weighted much more than most games, and the copious branching paths have made replaying it irresistible. I love the influences from Fallout and the general plausibility of the story. As for the role we assume at the center of this game, I appreciated the personality itself but longed for more choice in whether to be antisocial or more receptive of others. Overall, Ground Zero is a complete game. It's writing, especially the introduction and various endings, blend a serious tone without sacrificing reader enjoyment. There are just the right amount of questions left unanswered, and this provokes the imagination to complete the tale. More than worthy of everyone's time and appreciation, this is a story game of rare, high quality.
-- Akatosh on 1/3/2016 3:25:06 PM
The last time I left a comment on Ground Zero was a very long time ago. At that time I had only played through this storygame once, and whilst I hadn't died immediately, I wasn't exactly close to getting an epilogue. To paraphrase myself in this comment, I said that I would have liked more choice in the protagonist's actions. Looking back, I see that not only was I being unfair, but I didn't understand at all what makes this game great.

Since then, I have played through every page and discovered all the wonder and intrigue this deep, rich world has to offer. As is often the case with EndMaster's stories, it is the characters and plot which are most memorable. It is amazingly satisfying to see how your choices affect not only your own character, but other characters and even the world around you, in believable, really interesting ways. Not only that, but I was treated to a whole giant spider-web of such delicious stories, branching off in many directions, even when you think you've finished it all. Not one of these tales, on any page, did I find boring or dull. All the endings were a fun read and the epilogues provided good closure, with (most of them) giving us a glimpse into the life of your descendants. In this aspect - this incredible use of interactive fiction in its most basic form - Ground Zero is second only to Eternal.

I always find it strange when people complain about the linearity or lack of choices in an EndMaster game. Do they even know what linearity means? This thing branches like a motherfucker; it's anything but linear. I concede that there are less choices insomuch as there are probably less combinations due to lack of variables and scripting, but when you have such story-driven and meaningful choices that completely change the direction of the plot, the choices in Ground Zero are better, I would say. Yes, it means you don't control your character as much, but the protagonist is a (metaphorically) real person with his own opinions, feelings and motives. It allows for a much more complex and fascinating main character than if the player could decide every single little action.

Thank you, EndMaster, for writing such an epic tale that kept me entertained for hours on end. It was one of the first storygames I played on this website and it certainly left a fantastic impression. If it wasn't for Ground Zero, I might not have stuck around on CYS. Thank Dendrin I din't stumble upon Warrior Cats fanfic before reading this beauty.
-- 31TeV on 10/19/2014 12:06:28 PM
Very addictive reading/playing, certainly held my interest! I liked the developement of the main character as you make your choices, and the interactions with other characters were always interesting and fun to read. However dialogue could get slightly confusing; there were some points where no indication was made as to who was talking. Also, I felt that we could have had slightly more control over the storyline (one point that sticks out is the vote over who initially became the leader between Ron and Elliot, you could have given the option to actually choose rather than have a default). That aside, I enjoyed the storyline, was totally compelled to keep going to find out how everything worked out for the characters, and will definitely play through again to try all available options. Really good work!
-- lorenrhys on 3/23/2011 9:23:49 PM
It was great
-- ShadeTheKiller on 5/11/2017 1:33:26 PM
I was honestly surprised that I lived in my first try. The epilogue makes me wish I leave such a legacy when I pass away.
-- Deathkitsune68? on 5/11/2017 2:12:01 AM
This game is really worth playing and reading. I've been looking for a good chose your own story game and this was one of the top 8, So far. Give it a try, I know you'll like it.
-- Naitve Kid on 4/23/2017 5:37:41 PM
I went through the genocide route, and I feel as the amount of time, effort, and choices made on this game was so high, and insane, I was honestly made. While detail was very nice, I wish in the town of Jim's Reapers, there was a choice to stay, or at least a choice to not go roam the streets like a serial killer. The first part really inspired me for a section in my story I am currently working on. I can say one thing though, this story is anything but linear. I just wish you had a bit more control of the person on the genocide route.
-- FallingErmine on 4/15/2017 10:15:24 AM
a little bit longer and a 8
-- lob on 4/14/2017 10:07:57 PM
Perhaps the greatest game I have played this far here. Multiple story branches taking you down wildly varied paths, excellent writing, solid but not quite perfect dialog, characters who for the most part act true to their nature and not as plot devices, and more. The background characters show distinct lives and developments which can differ greatly based on what they've experienced through your choices, but tend to stay true to their cores. Humor, tension, a sense of the unknown and choices that don't always have obvious or imediate outcomes. I was never asked to "DODGE" which is a nice plus, although there was some obligatory hamfisted sex which given the setting was excusable. The classic female wish fulfillment device was also present but not over done. This was a solid work and I am glad I took the time to (I think) find all the endings.
-- kyo787 on 4/13/2017 12:25:38 AM
Interesting and relatively well written. The sex and relationship components seemed to be the standard teenage wish fulfillment common to sci-fi/fantasy, and par for the course a bit awkward and artificial. They weren't nearly as extreme as many works though, and post apocalyptic fiction almost requires a sexual component, so I didn't find those elements too detrimental. Overall an interesting read with good choices that left me wondering and wanting to find out what came next.
-- kyo787 on 4/12/2017 6:22:55 PM
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