Predictions! Okay, I haven’t played all games (slightly more than half), but I’ve played most of the ones that seem contenders for top places. The highest ones in the spreadsheet that I have not played are Prince Quisborne, Last Valentine’s Day, LUNIUM, Paintball Wizard and Bali B&B.
One thing that I noticed this year is the large amount of very polished, very fun, fundamentally light-hearted parser puzzlers. I rated all of the following with an 8:
- To Sea in a Sieve
- Eat the Eldritch
- Little Match Girl 4
- Dr Ludwig and the Devil
and from what I gather, Prince Quisborne would fit this list as well, as does the middle part of Hand Me Down. I expect all of these games to do quite well! They’re good, they’re easy to like, and they’re hard to dislike (also important when the average score is the determinant). In fact, I very much expect one of these games to be the winner of the competition, and my best guess is:
Dr Ludwig and the Devil
because it is very funny, very well implemented, and probably hits the sweet spot in terms of puzzle difficulty and length. If I had to choose my own favourite among these, it would be Little Match Girl 4, because I liked the hints of darkness that are its background and the brilliantly weird world design. But any of these would be a worthy winner.
What about LAKE Adventure? It was one of my favourite games, but it’s bleak, really bleak, and I doubt that it will win. I’m happy if it does, but I expect it to be in the top 5, but not the winner. My other favourite games were Gestures Towards Divinity and Citizen Makane, but I don’t expect those to finish in the top 10, since it’s just too easy for me to imagine people disliking them. I wouldn’t mind being wrong, of course! (These are the three games that I gave a 9.)
I expect there to be very few choice games in the top 10, since the parser crop was so good this year. It would be very cursed to make any kind of prediction about my own game; ignoring that, I expect the highest ranking choice game to be Dysfluent, followed by Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head and My Pseudo-Dementia Exhbition. (But note that I have not played some of the more prominent choice games.) I’d love Tricks of light in the forest to do well, but I think it will fall behind these ones. (I gave some of these games an 8 too, but to be honest, I don’t fully remember all my scores and now they are forever lost in the database of IFComp.)