2023 REROOT Rap-up

I promise you, no Rap will be conducted in the making of this wrapup, just wanted the ‘R’. In a year where @johnnywz00 threw down a huge-ass poetry gauntlet, and the community knocked the challenge out of the park? Yeah, I’m not throwing my weak spits into that!

As predicted, the randomizer had some tricks up its sleeve this year and played me like a fiddle. Thanks so much to all the authors who poured person-years of work into these amazing games and stories. In some cases on an individual piece! I honor the inspiring passion and craft that went into all of these, regardless how they landed with me personally. If I ever came off as glib or mean, please forgive my clumsy emotional intelligence. Know that it comes from a place of honesty and affection, but gets all tangled up in the deep immersion in your works. It’s kinda all your faults, really!

My scoring distribution looked similar to but cleaner than last year, including awarding of bonuses which clocked in right at 20%. Maybe not-too-weirdly, have not conferred a 1 or 10 yet. Gotta leave room at the ends, yeah?

As last year, to prep us for the actual IFCOMP ceremony, here now are the SECOND annual…


THE BONUS BUNCH. The works that earned a bonus point for one reason or another, showing the insufficiency of even the most RIGOROUS scoring rubric. Which REROOT totally is.

  • All the Troubles Come My Way
  • Bali B&B
  • Fix Your Mother’s Printer
  • Gestures Toward Divinity
  • Kaboom!
  • Meritocracy
  • Paintball Wizard
  • Put Your Hand in the Puppet’s Head
  • Ribald Bat Lady Plunder Quest
  • Shanidar, Safe Return
  • Who Iced Mayor McFreeze?

THE BAD BOY PENALTY PEERS. Watcha gonna do when they come for you? The rebels that told me to stuff my rules, Teach, they were doin it their way, and didn’t care about my one point penalty on their permanent record.

  • Antony and Cleapatra Case IV
  • Escape Your Psychosis
  • One Knight Stand
  • The Whisperers

GEEK SQUAD, ASSEMBLE! To the works whose narratives can truly shine with just a bit more technical love. This year, including the Texture pieces from the “Playing With Matches” review sub-series. While many of them tamed or leveraged aspects of the platform, a little more work could sharpen their impact dramatically!

  • Out of Scope
    The Match Players:
  • Lonehouse
  • We All Fall Together
  • The Sculptor
  • All Hands
  • In the Details
    …and the winner: Milliways: the Restaurant at the End of the Universe

CLOCKSTOPPERS. To the works least well-served by the two-hour judging time limit, and probably shine much brighter over a longer run.

  • Milliways: the Restaurant at the End of the Universe
  • Citizen Makane
  • Put Your Hand in the Puppet’s Head
  • The Ship
  • Barcarolle in Yellow
  • Hawkstone
  • One Knight Stand
  • Death on the Stormrider
    …and the winner How Prince Quisborne the Feckless Shook His Title. Obviously.

BUZZER BEATERS. To the works that turned the 2hr review timer into a nail-biting, supercharged race to the finish.

  • Eat the Eldritch
  • The Little Match Girl 4
    …and the winner Honk!

HOLD MY BEER. To the works that shred any and all preconceptions of what IF can be and do. Transcendent or bonkers, these are unforgettable in their uniqueness.

  • Dick McButts Gets Kicked in the Nuts
    …and the winner Into the Lion’s Mouth

I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE. To works that surprised and delighted or impacted me with unorthodox narratives, conceits or twists. Or just had memorable, really well executed elements.

  • My Pseudo-Dementia Exhibition
  • Paintball Wizard
  • Lonehouse
  • Bright Brave Knight Knave
  • Fix Your Mother’s Printer
  • LAKE Adventure
  • The Whisperers
  • Shanidar, Safe Return
  • Lunium
  • Dysfluent
  • Hand Me Down
    …and the winner Kaboom!

BETA BLOCKERS. To the works that embraced the two edged sword of enlisting me as a Beta-tester. Imma unload on you during testing no doubt, but deny you that sweet, sweet REROOT moment in the sun! Just one brave game this year (which I really enjoyed and had a nifty conceit… oh, there’ll be an IFDB review eventually).

  • Hand Me Down

And to cap off the evening (morning? smoke break?), the award whose name needs no justification. No, not ‘needs no’… what’s the word I’m looking for? DEFIES! The award whose name DEFIES justification…

THE 2023 ROOTie TOOTies! (We’re just stuck with this now.) The top 5 games this year, according to JJMcC’s REROOT not necessarily in order:

  • Gestures Toward Divinity
  • The Whale’s Keeper
  • Put Your Hand in the Puppet’s Head
  • Dr. Ludwig and the Devil
  • My Pseudo-Dementia Exhibition

Honorable mention to

  • Xanthippe’s Last Night with Socrates

And if I’m honest? Objective score notwithstanding, it feels like

  • Into the Lion’s Mouth

is near this list. You guys can have your Dick McButts, this is the REROOT-approved transgressive counter-culture showpiece of 2023. The timing and audacity of this wonderful thumb in the eye just hit me so squarely, it is honestly the first game I think of when I reflect on 2023. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME, LION?

Thanks for yet another great 6 weeks one and all. Solidarity shout out to the legion of reviewers (especially all the first timers!) that came out to play. Special thanks to @manonamora for wrangling us! It made for a rich, vibrant, fun, engaging community of puckish and comtemplative insights. I have a crapton of catching up to do on those and am a little sad we won’t be pitching these things around together anymore.

Welp, guess I’m done for another year, or at least until Spring Thing. As promised, NO RAP! I am a rock. You’re welcome.


AAAWWWW YEEEAAAH! I was looking forward to your wrap-up! It’s always such a hoot!

also :green_heart: thanks