Okay – the games will be released any time now, and before that happens, I’d like to again make a few predictions.
There will be between 24 and 27 games this year – a dip from recent years.
The top-ranking game will feature monkeys in a small way. The lowest-ranking game will feature monkeys in a big way.
Surprisingly, there will be no magic or wizardry of any kind in the entries this year, although several will use science as a psuedo-magic.
There will be what seems like an abnormal number of long game names – five words or more – this year. I’m thinking probably 15 of the entries (at least) will have long names. One will be so long that it’s pretty much a sentence unto itself.
Exactly one game this year will have been beta-tested by me. (Okay – this one will be true for sure.)
There will be no noticeable change in the percentage of games which have not been beta-tested.
The winning game will be from a first-time author, but the next four will be by established authors.
Very few pseudonyms this year. Discounting aliases used by people who’ve never released games before and who have not participated in the IFComp before, there will only be two anonymous or psuedonymed games by established authors.
Merk will regret, for pretty much the whole competition, being too lazy to finish an entry of his own. (Again, this is pretty much a given.)
Two games will be disqualified. One – and perhaps for the the first time ever, I’m not sure – will be because the author discusses his game publicly. The other will be due to copyright issues.
A game that includes a large hole or bottomless pit of some sort will also include some kind of car chase or racing mini-game.
One of the best games in the competition will have some glaring flaw or fatal bug that prevents most people from playing or enjoying it. “Best” is defined as… well, if the game didn’t have this issue, popular concensus is that it might have finished in the top three.
One game will involve the resurrection of dinosaurs, with inspiration clearly being Jurassic Park.
One game will involve the resurrection of people – mummies, probably, but possibly zombies. An extra point for me, though, if it turns out to involve religious themes instead.
One game will begin with a poorly-worded appology for how bad the game is. And really, it won’t be all that bad.
One or more games will have titles in the form of Verb/Verb Noun/Noun. For instance “Running and chasing the wind and the rain” or “Beat Drop Monkey Man.”
There will only be two entries for non-IF platforms (DOS, Windows, Java, HTML, etc). I know there’s a new Node-X game coming up, so that doesn’t count. One of the entries will be pretty good, with a functioning parser that accpets “all” and uses a more realistic object/parsing model. The other will be the good 'ol two-word parser variety, and most IF conveniences won’t work.
Two games will be sequels to prior works of IF, with the originals probably (but not necessarily) being written by the same two authors.
One of the authors will enter two games this year.
Two different authors will have very similar names, or will somehow be confused for each other during the voting and discussion.
There will be three Adrift entries this year, with one being fairly bad, one being passable/good, and one being really good.
There will be no Hugo entries this year.
Most games will be written in Inform 6 and 7. (Yet another no-brainer).
Not many TADS entries this year. Maybe 1 for TADS2, and one for TADS3.
Several games will have colors in the names. The Green Field, or The White Rabbit, or The Tan and Olive Summer. Rainbows don’t count.
At least one game will be co-authored by a child and an adult, basically with the adult (a parent or big bro/sis) bringing the child’s creative vision to life. The game itself won’t be great, but it’ll be hard to criticize it.
One game by more than two authors will appear. I’m thinking a group of people co-authoring a game (ala IF Whispers, but not necessarily with the same blind pass-off).
The exact title of one of the games will be “Dawn of the Monkeys.” (No, I don’t have any insider info on that. Just a wild guess.)
Something about one of the games will really irk people, make them uncomfortable, make them feel used or dirty. It’s going to be a really weird game, and as much social experiement as game.
Something good is going to happen to the author of the game that ranks 14th this year. For instance, while judging is going on, this author wins a million dollars playing scratch tickets. Or maybe he/she finds a pair of socks that have been missing for months, and it turns out the socks contain millions in rare coins.
NPC’s: A robot, a dog, a vampire, an alien, your mom, your sister’s boyfriend. Also, most of these will show up as PC’s as well (with the exception of your sister’s boyfriend, because then it would – strangely enough – be “you”).
Various Plots: A kid trying to save his farm. A sinner’s quest for redemption. A parody of pop culture. Travelling with a circus. A day in the life of somebody who’s completely boring, and without any sort of payoff at the end. Somebody just came into a pile of cash and must decide how to spend it. Trying to find a job. Trying to lose a job or get kicked out of the military. A doomsday plot (at least four of these). Trapped in the mind of a madman. Trapped in the “mind” of a robot.
Various Locations: Fort Knox. The moon. The PC’s apartment or home (quite a few of these). A computer lab. A cloning lab. A lab that defies all explanation. Shrunken and inside another person or animal. Delaware. Australia. The zoo - any zoo will do. A sinking ship. A frozen wasteland. A post-apocolyptic wasteland. A teenage wasteland. Waste Land Pharmacy. Under a bed. In the shower (with water on). Multiple historical settings, such as the Civil War or ancient Greece. On top of a very tall building. A lighthouse. Underwater. Drifting in space.
Nothing says “joke entry” like a game with no command prompt and no buttons to even click! We’ll see one of these.
A troublesome maze and a mis-designed hunger daemon will show up, but thankfully not in the same game. Or maybe we’d be better of if it was, since then two different games wouldn’t give us fits…
In two of the games, it will be possible to win in only 4 moves. In one, this is a due to a bug and is completely accidental. In the other, it’s by design. Bonus for me if the intentional one can be won in 1 or 2 moves.
Two of the games will feature strong and controvesial themes – teen pregnancy, for instance, or maybe euthenasia (sp?).
One game will be heavily political, and will make very few attempts to hide the fact. We’ll be role-playing some radical political viewpoint, and it won’t even be vague enough to avoid comparisons with the political and economic climate of the last several months. My psychic powers aren’t telling me exactly what viewpoint will be represented.
Two games will be abnormally long. We’re talking six hours or more on a fairly straightforward play-through.
Five games will be abnormally short, and they won’t even be joke entries. We’re talking ten or fifteen minutes to see and do everything.
Only one game will take place on a space ship, but two others will take place on alien worlds in which the PC was recently aboard a spaceship or intends to return to one. Two more games will mention space ships, but without any real bearing on the plot (i.e., a modern-day game where an NPC is watching Star Trek).
One author will be extremely mad at me for spoiling the premise of their game in my predictions above. It will be difficult for me to defend myself, because whichever game this is and whatever the prediction was will have been almost spot-on predicted by me. This will lead me to believe that I may indeed posess psychic powers, and for the next few months I will test this theory fruitlessly by playing the lotto and trying to read my wife’s mind.
And… that’s… all I’ve got!