Congratulations to all 2021 IFComp Participants!

Everyone who completed and entered a game deserves praise.

I have entered every year 2013-2020, only laying out this year with entering and reviewing due to a personal IRL time crunch - my deepest apologies that I couldn’t be more directly involved than I would have liked to.

Remember that IFComp is probably the largest singular annual event in our tiny game-niche, and entrants are competing against 70+ other games for attention and play time. Placing low is by no means fully indicative of the quality of your game - it solely means when this grouping of games is placed under a harsh spotlight with a deadline, this is how the rankings fell out. IFComp isn’t the sole indicator of the quality of your game. It is a contest, and many mid-pack and lower games will find their audience outside of the comp, and often go on to garner XYZZY nominations and wins.

But awards aren’t the most important thing. You completed a game under a deadline and allowed it to be judged, perhaps harshly, by the entire community. That itself is a stunning feat that not everyone can do - think of how many people say they think they can write a novel compared the amount of people who actually type THE END on the last page.

It’s quite impossible to create any piece of art that is truly reflective of the personal style of an artist and also 100% successful. Audiences differ, and as an artist, once we understand that personal works of an artist aren’t always going to reflect the personal lives and preferences of an audience, it gets a lot easier the more you do it. Hang in there.

Totally ignorable personal experience under the fold...

I have tried both methods: I have written what I thought the audience “wanted” (sometimes what we believe they want and what they actually want are completely divergent) and I have also said “screw this, I don’t care, I’m doing what I want”.

When I wrote Cannery Vale I was truly convinced I would be chased out of the community with pitchforks and torches due to the weirdness of it and sexual content. But that was the game I wanted to write. I even entered under a pseudonym just as a thread of deniability if it all went south. I did it, and that game won an XYZZY award.

That game bolstered my confidence, and I wrote [robotsexpartymurder] which is very challenging material and it was my highest-placed IFComp game. Also the game I wanted to write. It wasn’t embraced by everyone, but those who did appreciated it.

Last year I wrote The Cursèd Pickle of Shireton which was a game I wanted to write which was a sequel to another game that was really divisive due to how I structured it. The sequel was huge and difficult, but I cackled all the way through, loving every minute of it and enjoying my own jokes. It placed 36th. But that’s okay! I wouldn’t have done it differently.

To quote from an obscure musical called [title of show], “I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing then one-hundred people’s ninth favorite thing.”
Nine People's Favorite Thing - YouTube


I was a bit worried about kicking this topic this far buried in the IFComp section. But I realized this also meant that there was enough interesting dialogue that pushed it down, which is a good thing.

Thanks for keeping the authors’ forum running smoothly & adding fellow competitors quickly, even if you didn’t find time to enter anything. Important stuff got pinned and/or migrated quickly to the public forum. This was important for me because I dropped in a bit late and there were already a lot of posts, so it was that much easier to get my bearings.

Whether this specific work was due to you or another moderator, I was glad to have @nilsf’s wonderful reviews spreadsheet at the top, among other things. Seeing this sort of organization eventually pushed me to try something I’d meant to for a few years–the regression line for reviews vs. days elapsed. And I can’t speak for @cchennnn but I expect seeing it up there helped her take the nice big step of making that prediction topic.

Hope you are able to find time to do what you want for 2022!

(ETA some cool stuff I forgot that went right/quickly took for granted)