Is IFcomp the oldest active game competition?

I’ve taken a look at some game prizes (GDC, BAFTA, everything in this Wikipedia list) and, with most of them going back to the early 00’s or the late 90’s, it seems that IFcomp is the oldest continually running competition/festival/prize for games that I’ve been able to find.

Is this true? Is IFcomp the oldest active game competition?

I think it could be a nice point to promote IFcomp.

According to the IFTF website, yes, at least for noncommercial games.

IFComp has been running since 1995, which makes it the world’s oldest continuously operational exposition for noncommercial video games.


It may be the oldest “continuously running” competition, but it’s certainly not the oldest. The first Softworks AGT Contest was in 1986, roughly 9 years before the first IF Comp, and there were several adventure authoring contests run by computer magazines in the early to mid 1980s.

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However, I don’t think the AGT contest is currently active (can’t check the magazine ones).

No, it’s not. I was just pointing out that there were adventure writing competitions that were much older than IF Comp. None of these are still running.

It would be interesting to find which was the very first adventure writing competition. I suspect it would have been one of the ones in a computer magazine. As an example, The Rainbow had an annual adventure writing competition that ran for four years. The winners from the first year were published in The Rainbow book of adventures in 1982. That’s a long time before IF Comp. (The Rainbow was a magazine for the TRS-80 Color Computer published by Falsoft in the USA.)


I think we did a bit of research on this on the 8-bit Facebook group… the Rainbow comp was flagged up there as both a very early and very notable competition (it spawned a whole series of related books). There were a few “local micro group” competitions, but I’m not sure if we found much earlier, with a wider reach… I will check.

Edit: Yes, it was June 1982 for the first Rainbow competition. The earliest UK competition we found was a PCW magazine one from May 1983; which I’m not sure I ever managed to find any results from at the time we were talking about it (as the PCW archive wasn’t complete).

There were also a whole related category of “adventure playing” competitions too; but that’s another thread, I think. :slight_smile:

Is IFcomp the “oldest active game competition”… Well, it really depends on your definition of “game”… If you’re talking “videogame” then, probably yes. But you’re ignoring the Spiel des Jahres… apparently running since 1978. An extremely important competition in the boardgame and tabletop industry.