IF Comp Predictions Thread

Amidst the night fog of the city lies a quiet, almost abandoned Shop of Curiosities. If a traveler ever stopped to enter it, they might find, among aged grimoires and odds and ends of all shapes and sizes, a fortune teller machine of the kind that is usually found at fairs and penny arcades. The fortune teller itself looks like a blue, blobby jellyfish with yellow tentacles and is wearing a jeweled turban for full Wizardly effect. On the machine hangs a sign:


If that same traveler should pull the lever, this is what they might hear:

  • About 30 games will be entered into the Comp. Of those, at least half will be Glulx/Z-code, and a good amount of the rest will be classified “Other web-playable”.

  • A newcomer, or relative newcomer, will win the Comp.

  • There will be another meta-puzzle entered into the Comp. It will be worse in some respects than the Hat Mystery, but people will be able to pick up on it before the Comp ends.

  • Unrelated to the above, expect to see a common “theme” between completely unrelated games. Possible themes include the economy, Breaking and Entering, dark family secrets, and Australia.

  • Someone will enter a port of an old game they made in BASIC, and it will be shockingly charming.

  • An under-used IF genre will see, not just a lot of games, but a lot of really good games entered in the Comp. Possible genres include Superheroes, Romance, and Porno Parody.

  • Someone will enter a barely coherent tract on, not politics, but something very personal to the author. It is sure to be very moving, if anyone could ever understand it.

  • There will be at least 4 pseudonymous authors in the Comp. One will take their name from a dead person.

  • Last, but not least, an author will come from absolutely nowhere and blow people away. It might even be the same newcomer who wins the Comp.

(So, uh, what are your predictions, guys?)

I’d love to see TADS game entries be playable over the web, but it probably won’t happen this year yet.

My predictions:

  • At least three non-human protagonists
  • At least 7 games revolving around exploring abandoned places
  • The average placing of multiple-choice games will be higher than last year
  • Only 30% of the games will be by first time authors
  • The prevailing theme will be Sea Monsters
  • Less than half of the games will give a response to xyzzy
  • At least one game will involve a tedious simulation of something that is easy in real life (like making a cup of coffee or a sandwich)
  • Over 60% of the parser-based games will involve a charming response for ‘sing’
  • Despite his protestations to the contrary, ‘Comazombie’ will come back (but probably with a different name)
  • Rage over in-comp updates will reach hitherto undreamed of heights when one of the games changes genre three times during the six week voting period
  • An IF heavy-weight will enter the comp under a pseudonym, but they won’t come first
  • There’ll be at least one puzzle involving spaghetti, and two involving a duck (but not necessarily the same duck)
  • One of the game’s titles will be far creepier than intended

Joey, you may recall that making a coffee in Calm was the very first thing I did in all of IFComp 2011. Fortunately the arrival of this challenge coincided with my time of maximum energy and freshness!

  • Wade

But at least one will give 3 different responses, depending from the plot.

One entry will be in some obsolete format, like Scott Adams, Level 9, or Apple Integer BASIC.

  • At least two games will feature RPG style combat. One will be quite good.
  • There will be no Stiffy Makane games, and in fact no dick jokes at all in the entire competition.
  • Of the games which feature significant conversations between humans, more than half will pass the Bechdel test.
  • The golden banana of discord will be won by a game that attempts to make a case for electing Mitt Romney.
  • One game will suggest that the player listen to Immortal’s At the Heart of Winter as a soundtrack.
  • The golden banana winning game will not reach enough voters to turn the tide in the US election.
  • There will be no game about crime.
  • The good RPG game, the Romney game and the Immortal game are all the same game, but this is not one of the games that pass the Bechdel test.

A bold prediction!

Hey, I teach Popper.

Overspecific predictions, because otherwise what’s the fun:

  • There will be exactly one Varytale game, one in Undum, and three homebrew CYOA parser-replacement things.
  • The winner will have an average score of 8.1, +/- 0.05. (That is, less than Floatpoint, Lost Pig or Violet, but more than Rover’s Day Out, Aotearoa or Taco Fiction.)
  • The Golden Banana winner will place eleventh.
  • Three different games will employ the word “brony”. Two will use “neckbeard”.
  • There will be exactly six games with a reasonable play-time of over one hour.
  • Someone will replace their entire game with another during the update period just to make a point; this will be widely condemned as a dick move. They will then claim that the big pile of 1-votes they received proves their point.
  • There will be at least three games with major female characters depicted by male authors in a kinda-creepy way.
  • There will be exactly two games written for children.
  • At least one game will do an idea that I’ve been meaning to do for years, and they will do it totally wrong.

(Games I’ve tested should not be included in results.)

I’m continually bemused that anybody thinks of superhero IF as being underused.

The winning command in this game will be >SMITE PENNSYLVANIA.

And the message you see upon losing the game is:

  • There will be just 5 entrants.
  • An author that has already entered the Comp with an average-to-bad result will improve his writing and coding skills 300%, thus producing a game 300% better than the one he did last time.
  • Michael Gentry, Adam Cadre, Andrew Plotkin and Emily Short will all compete this year with 4 different masterpieces which will simply destroy the standards raised by their former games. They will end up (in random order) 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
  • The aforementioned author will hang him/herself on a lamp post.
  • The pic of the lamppost-hanging will be used as a cover in the next Cover Competition by Sam K. Ashwell.

Wait, is this a prediction, or a wish? [emote];)[/emote]

Because, really, who could outdo Taco Fiction?

Mediocrity is predictable. Exceptional results aren’t. Therefore, if you don’t want a wholly pessimistic prediction, you need to call some long shots.

A heart-warming tale. Sadly, I can think of at least three excellent reasons why it is impossible.

Yeah. The pic would hardly be rights-free.

In our (rather shaky) defence, it is quite possible to complete Calm without ever making a hot drink, regardless of which starting options you pick. For some reason, players will take any highly interactive section in a game and assume it must be a puzzle that they must complete…

Some more specific predictions:

  • The Golden Banana will be won by a non-parser game
  • Three authors will list their own mothers in the credits
  • Over 60% of comp veterans will place higher this year than they have in previous comps
  • 8 of the games will be written by 3 of the authors

Oh, I dunno.

  • one (fake-?) troll game will have the parser say only “WRONG!” for various errors. It will have plenty of stupid deaths, with messages like “You tried, I guess.” When the player wins, it will say “YOU MUST HAVE CHEATED!” It will also grade the player unfairly on efficiency–if the game can be done in 40 moves, but the player takes 70, the player will get 57%, or an F. A last lousy point will require including profanity in a command. This game will not out-average more earnest efforts, but it will get a higher percentage of 10’s.
  • one game will contain completely random scoring for each ending, with scores ranging from -20000 to 30000. Possibly the troll game.
  • one game will have a critical puzzle message embedded in a map the player needs to draw out
  • one game will allow the player to play Yahtzee, Parcheesi or Chutes and Ladders. Or, if the programmer is the outdoorsy type, Horseshoes.
  • two games will feature a blogger or freeware-game programmer or combination of both who lives in his mother’s basement. One as protagonist, one as antagonist.
  • three games will reference Occupy Wall Street. Two will reference global warming.
  • one game will make a joke about how May 21, 2012 was not the end of the world.
  • The Romney game will have unlockable Obama mode if you do spectacularly well or poorly. It will feature Joe Biden cleverly and subtly trolling the player-character in either case.

Think any games will feature the impending Mayan Apocalypse?

We already have one game in the IF library that at least mentions it – the Inform 6 example game Ruins.