IF Comp 2015 Predictions

According to the most expensive astrologers, horologists, and soothsayers, the Time of Knowing is almost upon us. There remains only a short space of precious ignorance in which to make…

Comp 2015 Predictions!

Ye who would propound perspicacious prognostications, post promptly.

(Hat-tip to Healy, 2014, 2013, 2012)

See now, how with a fine disregard for my own good name I fling these claims boldly in the smug face of the uncertain future:

This year’s settings

  • three games in space
  • three games underground
  • three games underwater
  • one courtroom
  • one zoo

This year’s NPCs

  • two games with friendly aliens, one with unfriendly aliens
  • one game with vampires, one with werewolves, one with both
  • one devious butler
  • one helpful housemaid
  • two artificial intelligences

This year’s PCs

  • one general
  • one princess
  • one parapsychologist
  • one spy
  • one mammal
  • one reptile

This year’s endings

  • in two games the best ending is when you get married
  • in one game the best ending is when you die
  • three games make it difficult to get the maximum score: in one you have to make all the possible cakes, in another you get points for cheerfulness, and in the third you lose a point for each witness you have to kill.

This year’s exciting interfaces

  • one game responds to clicks on any word on the screen
  • one game where you make choices at the top of the screen and the text scrolls downwards off the bottom

This year’s surprising coincidences

  • three games where you get attacked by wasps
  • two games where you are taught geography

This year’s with-those-we-love-alive-alikes

  • one game makes you paint your real-life toenails
  • one game makes you write haiku on your actual thighs
  • one game has an ending where you’re supposed to smash your computer screen, although only one reviewer does so

This year’s winner

  • A game set on a dairy farm where cows help you to defeat a threat to planet Earth. You are annoyed by pigeons, you have a sidekick called Hatgirl and at one point you wear a waistcoat.

Oh shoot, I forgot to get around to this. Ahem!

  • Expect at least 5 games this year to use both graphics and sound, at least three to use graphics only, and at least 2 to use sound only.
  • Some of this year’s most controversial games will be a game about the notorious Gilles de Rais, a Pinter-inspired game about an amoral butler, and a procedurally-generated dating sim.
  • Expect at least one roguelike, one Shufflecomp runoff game, and one game done in Powerpoint.

More if I can think of any.


-2015 will have 50 or more entries. Or come close to it, just to spite everyone.
-At least 5 entries will involve death of others (not counting ghosts). (considering the amount of death in last year’s entries, I think it best to play it safe here and go with a low number).
-At least one of those will involve a war.
-There will be ghosts.
-Two to three parser games will anger players. Whether because of bugs or subject matter will be revealed in time.
-Some number of hypertext (specifically twine) games will anger players.
-Porpentine and PaperBlurt will return.
-Healy Eats a Hat! will be one of the entries.

Multiple authors will release feelies as teasers. At least one of these will take the form of a poem.

I see what you did there.

  • There will be more hypertext games than parser games, but a parser game will win the comp.
  • The number of games will be greater than last year.
  • 25 % of the games can be completed in 5 minutes or less.
  • There will be three games set in a medieval fantasy land.
  • There will be a game about ISIS.
  • There will be a game about a superhero.
  • There will be three games which take place entirely at night
  • Kim Jong-Un’s face will appear in one game art.
  • at least two parser games will start at the hero’s bedroom
  • either Pluto or Venus, but not Mars, will be the location setting in one game
  • 50 % of the parser games provide a response to ‘xyzzy’ but only one to ‘plugh’
  • at least 5 games take place in one location only
  • one game will be the first one reviewed by at least 10 reviewers even if they claim to play in random order

This is not so much a prediction, but I hope that a non-parser game wins this year.

I love both kinds of games, from Infocom to Porpentine, but it would be a great symbolic act if a choice game won the IFComp. Honestly, I play old parser games (like Andy Philipp’s) with walkthroughs, making them very little different from ‘kinetic/dynamic fiction’ for me.

Although they’ve already won the XYZZY’s, so there’s that.

-one game will be completely blank, and will slowly grow via updates over the course of the judging period. It will win the golden banana of discord.

-seven games will involve religious imagery; five will involve Muslim imagery or characters.

-there will be exactly 49 games, and three judges will develop OCD by Christmas. Four will have RSI and eleven will need glasses for the first time.

-one game will involve a duck at a crucial moment. Any path not involving the duck ends in horrible death.

-there will be three political thrillers, twelve medieval fantasy adventures, one game involving a made-up language, and thirty of the games will have meta elements.

-four games will be called “Untitled”.

-seven games will begin with the protagonist waking up.

-one game will be called “IF Comp Entry”

-Every single game will involve the word “clock” - either written, spoken, used in the title, or sung.

  • A choice-based entry will win, but it won’t have been made in Twine, and it will also win both the Miss Congeniality Award and the XYZZY for Best Game.
  • Porpentine will have a Twine entry, and will finally get in the Top 3, but won’t win.
  • There will be a medium-to-large-sized controversy regarding a fan fiction game doing better than it would normally based on its merit because a couple of diehard fans of the source material who don’t really do IF 10-1-1-1-1-1’d it after it was linked to somewhere.
  • There will be three games with particularly effective use of music.
  • There will be three games with particularly effective use of magic.
  • There will be another metapuzzle like the hat mystery.
  • The middle-placing game (or, if there is an even number of games, at least one of the two middle games) will be a short (15 minutes or less for one playthrough) parser game.
  • There will be exactly three autobiographical or partially autobiographical games, all choice-based. Two will get in the Top 20, and one will get in the lowest quarter.
  • A game mostly made in less than a week will get in the Top 20.
  • Nanobots will be involved in exactly two games.
  • There will be a game based on a song that two or more reviewers will say was better than the song itself.
  • A game other than the one based on a song will quote a song originally written by Bob Dylan but attributed to the Byrds within the game because the Byrds cover is much better known.
  • Two entries will be written by established authors using pseudonyms. It will be immediately obvious who wrote them.

  • Three of the top five ranking games will have at least one tester in common.

  • The majority of the top ten ranking games will offer beginner-friendly features.

  • One reviewer will review every game entered. A handful of reviewers will intend to review as many as possible, but only get around to reviewing one.

  • In one of the parser entries, every character will have the description “As good-looking as ever.”

  • It will be possible to complete one of the entries within five turns/clicks.

  • Four entries will feature in-game art.

  • The cover art for one entry will provoke extended discussion, and no one will be able to agree on what it is, exactly.

  • Recurring elements: natural disasters, rodents, sustainability, and fondue.

One choice-based entry will have a particularly notable magic system, which will be emulated by at least two other games after the comp.
One parser entry will use Vancian magic but put a novel twist on the idea.
One game will have what amounts to a magic system in all but name, based on a system from one of the old text adventures.
One author will retroactively claim their entry was parody/satire.

  • There will be two obviously-fanfic games. One of them will be fanfic of something I’ve only vaguely heard of, and the other will be fanfic of a XYZZY-nominated game.
  • Four games will feature audio.
  • Three games will feature zombies. In one of them, the author will have included completely tangential zombies purely to troll me.
  • Ten games will feature an AFGNCAAP, either with explicit amnesia or just with negligible personal history.
  • Zero games will begin with a dream sequence.
  • Recurring themes: drones, gentrification, soup, Africa, flooding, bears.
  • There will be two games with floating-module structures, two Sorting Hats, and zero time caves.
  • Two games will feature an idea I had years ago and never got around to turning into anything worthwhile.
  • Four of the parser games will require less than 5 verbs (not counting directions and EXAMINE) to win.

That’s funny – predicting the reviews! As I never know what I’m going to get around to doing before I actually do it, I still can’t tell you whether or not I’ll be reviewing. If I do, I’ll give a heads up in the thread for listing review blogs that I’m sure someone will start.


  • One game will parody Evangelical Christian film industry productions such as God’s Not Dead, but a substantial number of judges and reviewers will mistake the parody for the real thing.
  • One game will contain both profound crypto-Christian symbolism and clear but nuanced references to either transgenderism or alternate sexualities (please excuse me if I’m referring to that wrong, not sure exactly how). Everyone will be too confused to be offended.
  • Two games will allude to specific C.S. Lewis books or paraphrase some of his better known quotations. The aforementioned crypto-Christian game might be one of them, but not necessarily.
  • One game will contain an obvious far-right sociopoligical agenda, and two games will contain obvious far-left agendas. Everyone will be too bored to be offended.
  • Three games will be set in cheaply rebranded versions of popular and universally known entertainment franchises – the level of Star Trek, Star Wars, or The Lord of the Rings. Everyone will wonder why the authors even bothered, since fan fiction is now allowed.
  • One game with zombies in it will be one of the best games in the Comp!
  • At least one parser game will implicitly or explicitly attack choice games, and at least one choice game will implicitly or explicitly attack parser games. Everyone will be offended.

Oh, damn I knew there was something I forgot to implement.

ha ha i have never been guilty of that no sir

At least three of the entries will not be categorizable as “choice” or “parser”.

One of the entries will be based on maga’s Tlon posts, but have a zombie at the very end to trick him into playing a zombie game. The zombie will otherwise not be gratuitous.

Two games will have nearly the exact same puzzle.

The top 10 will have exactly 5 parser games.

Two of the games will clearly have used MS Paint for the cover art.

My only problem with this thread is that the games can’t possibly be as funny as the suggestions… or can they?

I used MS Paint for my cover image [emote]:P[/emote]

Erg… arg…

Well, if people wanted super graphics, IFComp doesn’t specialize in that. So, yeah.

There’s nothing to stop people from taking these suggestions and trying to implement/riff on them next year. In fact, I think I will make that projection right now, that someone in 2016 does so (well, for the individual game predictions) and puts it in the credits. Unless someone does it for Spring Thing first. That’s the more experimental comp, apparently.