Ground Zero

Player Rating6.88/8

"#12 overall, #3 for 2007"
based on 12026 ratings since 10/07/2007
played 255,275 times (finished 16,799)

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
This stuff is pretty linear with multitude of dead ends, but it's really good story told here (even if MC started as major asshole).
-- Laxard on 12/11/2017 3:04:00 PM
A fun and well-executed story with a lot of replay value. I realize that after 3 or 4 play-throughs I have still only just scratched the surface, but I will speak on what I experienced anyway:

The Good:
Interesting characters, particularly the protagonist. I loved that the main character had a personality (loner, asshole, techie). In some games the player character is left as a blank slate for player's decisions, but I think that is a mistake.
The pacing is excellent and the actions of the plot are interesting and fully-developed.
The decisions are important and you definitely feel that you are impacting the plot.

Needs Improvement:
The dialogue is a little too on-the-nose. Characters should very rarely say precisely what they are thinking
The descriptions are a bit lacking. I see that you were trying to move the plot along without getting bogged down, but it is important to rember to SHOW the readers what is happening, not just TELL them. Although the plot was interesting, I did not quite feel IMMERSED by it. Don't say "He built a cult of personality," show me. Don't say "the shelter fell into disrepair," show me.
I did not think the use of profanity was effective. I understand you were trying to increase the colloquial feel of the dialogue, but it felt hollow. Reducing the amount of profanity will increase the reader's response to it when it IS used.

Overall it was a great read and a fun experience. I look forward to coming back to it numerous times in the future
-- dueconsideration on 10/7/2017 10:17:55 AM
I've found two of the four endings, and it has taken me a very, very long time. I can't wait for what comes next!
-- Ethananous512 on 10/6/2017 11:32:03 PM
Played many times and got two "True Endings" it's a masterpiece
-- Noah on 9/30/2017 2:48:30 PM
very good
-- ekkiller17 on 9/15/2017 11:08:44 AM
good, very good
-- denis17 on 9/14/2017 1:13:02 PM
I can't wait for the second half
-- Christopher on 9/7/2017 1:29:03 AM
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