Feeling like a snail already

Sheesh! People are already voting and uploading reviews to IFDB?!

I just (and I mean just, like five minutes ago) made my first selection of five games.
I’m going for the long-form parser entries first. Because I like long-form parser games, but also because I suspect these might get left behind. People might prefer to play half-hour games instead of spend 2 hours (perhaps over multiple days) on one game. (I might totally be wrong about this, but it’s my rationalisation for starting with this selection.)

  • D’Arkun
  • Ghosts Within
  • Second Wind
  • The House on Highfield Lane
  • Finding Light

PS: As for that other long-form parser game I had hoped to finish before the Comp began (Not Just An Ordinary Ballerina), I stashed my inventory and parked my PC in a central spot after solving the most obvious (as in “slightly less impossible”) bottleneck puzzles. That pretty ballerina-doll will have to wait a few weeks.


I betatested several of these games and I recommend you all of them. Add “What the heart guess of ghost” to this list.

I am going also to play parser games first.

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I playtested Heart-Ghost so I can’t vote for it. Of course I will download it and replay the finished version later on.


I’m also in the slow camp, ponderously munching my way though a random shuffle, Twine and all, at tortoise pace. No rush - we’ll win this race in the end.


Five long-form parser games already is very impressive!

So far, I have reviewed 7 games, but only one of them was in the list you just gave, and multiple of those 7 games had serious technical or accessibility issues for me (which obviously reduced the length of time I played them). I’m still sorting out my full rubric (first-time judge of any competition, not just IFComp), so reviews will come later, but the games I’ve played and rated so far are:

  • Plane Walker
  • Finding Light
  • Enveloping Darkness
  • The Best Man
  • The Dead Account
  • The Golden Heist
  • The Libonotus Cup

According to the random shuffle, my next game will be Furnicular Simulator 2021. My plan is to play all of the games except for those with content warnings that indicate I would be squicked out by playing them, or which I cannot find a way to technically run (there’s a raw Python code game in there, and I remember what happened at Spring Thing…)

The important thing is that we all have a good time judging and playing - crowning a winner is a bonus.


Play, enjoy, there is a full month to vote.

Only if you have a strong criteria could vote since beggining of tho comp.

There are some articles about vote criteria but everyone need to experience in their flesh.

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More than a full month-- 6½ weeks!

I couldn’t help myself and continued to spend my spare time the first night of the Comp playing the hacking Inform 7 code game. But I’m actually at a good stopping point there and can play some actual games today…


It’s wonderful to see such a plethora of reviews and enthusiasm surrounding the competition at this early stage! I’m away this weekend so it’ll be a while before I get a chance to play any of the entries, but well done to all the entrants and the very best of luck!


It may feel that way, but the people who start quick may seem to get the most attention and seem like an outsize sample of the general population, who just want to get their first one in the books.

Look at it this way: play one game a day and you’ll be able to judge over half of them. I’m of the opinion that judging “only” ten games is no small accomplishment. I know I’ve run out of steam when I’ve tried to judge too many at once.

It’s good to see a balance of people wanting to play the short games first and people wanting to play the long games. I forgot to see if IFComp has a “these games need votes” feature like itch, but that’d be handy, too.


I have wrote some light reviews to explain how the games are and then some people could be interested in that games, as I have some time today and I betatested several games before. Next week I will have less time.

You are right of course, play, enjoy, find what you like, then vote and perhaps write down your impressions. Taste the games, don’t test them.

I remember to play some less voted games last week of ifcomp 2020.

  • Jade

The most depressing part of being an author in IFComp is after a month where everyone has stopped reviewing and nothing is really happening. Having more reviews spread out slowly can definitely be beneficial, and those reviews will probably be more read.

I try to review things earlier because I know some authors get really stressed waiting for their first review, which is why I try to review quickly, and why this year I’m first focusing on games that traditionally don’t get many reviews (like raw code or download-only games)


I announced in a thread that I was going to play full lenght parser games, instead short games to get a bunch as last ifcomp. It’s hard to play alone after the comp time some best games, when just nobody in the earth are playing them by now…

But I really need reviews to see the sort of games presented, otherwise I have troubles to select my next game.
Then, or games will come with a more extense explaining as an intro (as almost always found in itchio), or I will need to read some reviews to select games to play.
Another last possibility is to browse afterwards ifdb looking for games, reviews and scores.
It’s easy to understand: I have a limited amount of time and want to enjoy this playing time.

  • Jade

I’ve had good intentions in previous comps… but then would end up just playing one or two games. I think one year I made it to 5 or 6 and then didn’t vote. :roll_eyes:

This year I’ve already played 16 (18 if you count the beta-testing.) Mostly shorter games, but I have the next week off and I’m looking forward to getting to some of the longer ones. (I don’t think I’m going to do reviews, but I’ll call attention to some highlights so far: Sting, Closure, And Then You Come to a House Not Unlike the Previous One, How it was then and how it was now, and the two I beta-tested, What Heart Heard Of, Ghost Guessed and At King Arthur’s Christmas Feast.)


Why not?
I’ve played around 9 (although I haven’t completed all of them, since some are long), and I feel like just playing a lot of games makes it a civic responsibility to judge. But I’m not sure I’d be a good or fair judge, so I’m vacillating.


Things are going a lot more smoothly than I thought. I was worried if I would even reach the 5-game threshhold. Luckily, some unexpected free time opened up and here we are, 8 days into the comp and I’m playing nr.5 (Second Wind).

I’m really happy about this. Every time I glance at the IFComp game-list, another blurb will catch my attention. My list of games to play is slowly creeping towards fifteen now.

We’re beta-cousins! I tested the same games.

“With great power…”


There are some articles linked since judge IFcomp page to a pages about judging.
It’s really easy to vote:

10: This game epitomizes what interactive fiction can do, perhaps breaking new ground in the process. It dazzles and delights. People interested in the form will be talking about and studying this game for years to come.
7, 8, 9: A good/great/excellent game you’re pleased to have played, and which you’d recommend to others (with three gradations of enthusiasm).
5, 6: A respectably crafted work that didn’t necessarily move you one way or another, but which you might recommend with reservations. (A 6 offered more to hold your interest than a 5 did.)
3, 4: A flawed project that doesn’t manage to live up to promise, and which you wouldn’t generally recommend playing. (A 4 has more going for it than a 3 does.)
2: A work that technically qualifies as IF, but seriously misses the mark for one reason or another (or several).
1: This work is inappropriate for the competition. Grossly buggy to the point of unplayability, perhaps, or maybe it’s not interactive fiction even by a generous definition of the term.

  • Jade

No good reason. Feeling like I’d fallen too far short of my lofty good intentions at the beginning. BS like that.

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Note that this is only a suggested rubric, not one that judges are required to use. However, it’s very helpful, and for anyone who doesn’t know how to begin assigning scores, I’d suggest referring to it.

I think some people get a feeling of inadequacy about judging others’ work, like they’re not discerning or knowledgeable enough. It helps to keep in mind that there’s a strong subjective element to judging. To do something like this, you have to trust your own feelings to some extent. It’s okay to let your score reflect the personal impression a game made on you, rather than running a calculation like “Game A was 13% buggier than Game B, but had 18% more depth of implementation, but gets √π points off for a default JUMP response” - though some people actually do that, and more power to them.


This is what’s making me nuts. I played a game with excellent writing, a great story, vivid characters, and great interactivity. But the screen layout design was absolutely awful. So bad that it completely interfered with my ability to play happily. I’m really mad at this game for making me so mad at it. So how do I score that?