Hubert Janus Explains Fiction Heinous

I’m hoping to write up something more substantial about DICK MCBUTTS GETS KICKED IN THE NUTS (probably on my blog) shortly, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a video/vlog I’ve been piecing together over the course of the event.

It seemed prudent not to get involved in the forum at all this time around because I thought I’d struggle to feign a lack of familiarity with Dick McButts, but seeing people unpick the ruse (admittedly rather quicker than I expected) and keep coming back to it has made this my favourite year since I first threw my hat in the ring. I’m consistently floored by the quality of discussion in the reviews, but it’s especially impressive when they’re covering something unusual, intentionally controversial, or particularly lowbrow.

IFComp always comes at a busy time and during the judging period I’m often catching up with other work having sunk a lot of effort into making my entry in the first place, but I’m definitely going to try and be more active in the community next year (when the earlier timing might work better for me, and I, uh, won’t be trying to keep my head down while pulling off a banana heist). I’m already looking forward to IFComp 2024!

Update: I wrote that more substantial blog post: I HAVE THE BANANAAAAAAAA!!! | Damon L. Wakes


Congrats with your Banana. Bon appetit.

Will you eat it neat, or swirl it into a milkshake with some sweet-and-sour ice cream?


Congrats on winning the Banana of Discord! And fooling many of us!!
It was a fantastic entry!~


I looked you up specifically to thank you for the chaos and conversation you added to this year’s comp, and to congratulate you on successfully acquiring the dick-shaped fruit you sought.

So, banana on, sir. You and Dick McButts have made history and shall be remembered fondly (or furiously) in the years to come.


Thank you! I’m actually planning to make celebratory banana daiquiris.


Aww, thank you! It’s been wonderful (and quite reassuring) to see so many people enjoying the game. In hindsight I’m glad it didn’t simply go unnoticed as intended, even if all the attention raised the stakes quite a bit: I feel as though it would have been mildly embarrassing to make a bid for the banana and fail in front of everyone. Checking back over past banana winners I note that a standard deviation of 2.73 is not unprecedented, though I suspect it’s high for the present day (since I get the impression there are more people voting and therefore smoothing out the distribution of scores).


I think my review of this game was the first to appear on the intfiction site after comp opened… I said, “This English is so bad I’m pretty sure an author had to do this on purpose “ :joy: It was hilarious when I found out that was actually the case!


First and most importantly–err, I mean, self-indulgently,


(I had other reasons too! It seemed to have the same sort of humor as Good Grub or Elftor. I mean, those were cleaner, but consistently building people up and reversing people’s expectations, or giving them a bad choice and laughing at them a bit, etc.)

I also figured the author would be checking the intfiction forum and not posting, so I looked at the ifcomp-23 group and didn’t see any new user-handle that was too suspicious. So I figured it might be someone known who wanted to stay anonymous.

Also, if you worry about wanting to participate more–I used your blog a lot when learning Twine. And the big thing? I used SugarCube and not Harlowe! Your blog did a lot of really neat beginner stuff that helped prep me for It was more: here are the basics of what you can expect, and you deserve to expect it, no matter which flavor of twine you use. (Also, it made sense out of the code of some previous IFComp twine entries.)

So if you’re not directly participating as you like, you’re still contributing a lot. And I know even though I contribute regularly, I have spells where I lurk here when I have something to post.

We’d be glad to see more of you in person, of course, and we’re glad for all the cool stuff you write!

Also, folks, do check out the video! It’s only 14 mins (7 at double speed, which I find indispensible.) It’s worthwhile, and I like how it captures the author’s hopes and expectations as he goes through the comp.


I’ve been meaning to thank you for that, actually! While it’s not what I’d initially hoped would happen, having that first review be essentially “It’s hard to believe anyone would really write something this bad,” getting a response along the lines of “Well, I didn’t think it was that bad…” did a huge amount to get some early attention on the thing. Even if I’d originally intended for the trick to go unnoticed for significantly longer, I was also counting on it gaining a large number of votes somehow (since the fewer people played it, the more likely it was that the vast majority of them would happen to be shown one version or the other).


Haha! Congratulations on guessing right so quickly. Which Discord was this in? I thought I was keeping tabs on everywhere people were typically discussing the comp, but apparently not. I was a little surprised nobody (that I knew of) figured it out, because my guess was that it would be pretty obvious once anyone imported the game into Twine and had a serious look: using (save-game:) to track individual events without ever actually loading the data was something I did previously in Elftor, and the driving force behind Something Somewhere Some of the Time, plus there’s all the Base64-encoded stuff (which is another common feature), plus as you say the overall style of humour. Basically I felt as though my fingerprints were all over that thing.

It’s so good to know the tutorials proved useful to you! I know form the site stats that they get a lot of traffic, but the bulk of it (links on .edu pages sending me 30-40 clicks at a time) suggests its coming from schools, colleges and universities. I’m really happy to be helping there, but I hadn’t realised my work would also make a difference for people who were already well familiar with interactive fiction as well. I’ve been meaning to add to those tutorials (which ended partway through a series on how to include images) for years now, and this might be the push I need to go ahead and do that. I was also a little concerned that they might be getting less useful since Twine has changed over time (and also Chapbook seems to be emerging as a possible beginner-friendly format), so knowing that they’re helpful even when working in another story format is quite reassuring!