Geneforge (series)

Geneforge Series Logo.gif
Series Logo
Developer(s)Spiderweb Software
Publisher(s)Spiderweb Software
Creator(s)Jeff Vogel
Platform(s)Windows, Macintosh
First releaseGeneforge
December 12, 2001
Latest releaseGeneforge 5: Overthrow
November 3, 2011

Geneforge is a series of demoware role-playing video games by Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software released for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS systems. There are five games in the series: Geneforge, Geneforge 2, Geneforge 3, Geneforge 4: Rebellion, and Geneforge 5: Overthrow. As with all Spiderweb Software titles, graphics and sound are limited because they are not the main focus of the game.


The Geneforge storylines takes place in an era resembling the medieval time period, but with the addition of some modern innovations, such as wiring, levers and buttons, alarms, glass, and other steampunk-esque tools. The games involve a group of mages called "Shapers", who dominate the game world due to their ability to create life as they see fit. The player character is cast as an apprentice Shaper in the first three games, as a neophyte rebel in the fourth, and as an unaligned amnesiac in the fifth. Crises in the game result from the Shapers' mistreatment of their creations while trying to ensure that their art does not wreak havoc on the world, versus the freedom of intelligent creations at the cost of said havoc. The player is left to determine what is the right thing to do, such as using mysterious skill canisters which may breed arrogance in the user in return for increased power.

The games are highly non-linear, with multiple goals allowing the player to join any sect, and receive one of a number of different endings (the canonical ending for each game being revealed in the following one). There is a high degree of player influence on the game world, and the existence of multiple solutions to problems. For example, one sect may give you the quest to destroy an object, while an opposing sect will charge you with its protection.

The Geneforge

The Geneforge itself is the culmination of the game world's technology, a means of genetic enhancement of living things that greatly increases their physical and magical abilities. All Geneforges thus far have taken the form of small colourful pools of semi-living chemicals, and are used through physical contact. Using the Geneforge is generally excruciating and requires protective equipment to prevent outright fatality. In the first, fourth and fifth games, the Geneforge is usable by humans (and in turn, the player), but in Geneforge 2 and Geneforge 3, it could only be used by specific intelligent creations. The first three games each climax with the player's decision to either destroy the Geneforge or to ensure its use; the Geneforge is encountered near the start of the fourth and fifth games.

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