Nomination thread for IF People's Choice and IF Authors' Choice awards (closed)

Would it be feasible to just list every game that was released in 2022 and allow voters to rate them relative to one another? Your favourite game is rated #1, your second favourite is rated #2 and so on. This could be done with a drag and drop mechanism for sighted voters. Any game that you haven’t played defaults to zero. In this way:

• Voters get to see all the games that were released in 2022.
• You don’t have to struggle with a subjective five-star based system where everybody has a different way of rating and the individual voter ends up rating many games with the same number of stars.
• You can see the popularity of games. (By that, I mean how many people played it.)
• You can have a rule (like in IFComp) that you must vote for a minimum of (say) 5 games to weed out all the stacked votes, where someone gets all their friends, family and work mates to vote for just their game and nothing else.
• You can have an overall best game, but you can also automatically work out the best Inform 7 game, best Adrift game, best Adventuron game and so on without people having to vote separately in numerous categories.

The only thing you’d have to work out is the fairest way to do the maths. The mathematicians and statisticians out there could advise on this. My gut feeling is that if there were 100 games released in 2022, then each voter’s top game gets 100 points, 2nd top gets 99 points and so on. The total number of points allocated to a game is divided by the total number of votes for that game. So, to take a simple example, if one game received the top vote by 5 people (and no other votes), then it would receive (5 * 100) / 5 = 100 points. If another game received the top vote by 3 people (and no other votes), then it would receive (3 * 100) / 3 = 100 points. In this simple example, it would be a draw. However, if the first game got another vote of 80 points and the second game got another vote of 60 points, then the totals would be 580 / 6 = 96 points and 360 / 4 = 90 points, so the first game is the winner between those two games.

I think this is a very fair system and gives all the superb lesser-known and independently published games a fighting chance against the better-known games from the big competitions.

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This might be a problem unique to me, but I’d struggle with this system and would probably rank fewer games. Between Spring Thing, Parser Com, and IF Comp, I played probably 130 games last year. I can go back to my IFDB reviews and scoring spreadsheet to remind me of what I scored various games at and easily come up with 1-5 or 1-10 scores, and similarly it’s pretty simple to recall my favorite game in various categories, but I’d really struggle with the fine-grained judgment needed to rank that many games against each other and I’d probably default to just putting in a couple of my top games, which I think is the opposite of the goal!

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Fair enough. You just vote for the ones you remember and I find it easier to remember that game A was better than game B, rather than going through all my notes to work out how many stars to give them.

I would play over 100 games each year, but they’re mostly old games (so not elligible for the awards) and I don’t play any of the IF Comp games (except as a tester) because I’m simply too busy at that time of year.

For any of us that play a lot of games, it’s hard to remember what games we’ve played during the year and when they were released. I’m trying to alleviate those problems and allow me to vote for all the great games that I have played and tested from all the minor comps and the independently published games that weren’t in any comps. There were some brilliant games released in 2021 and they didn’t even get a mention in the XYZZY awards.

As I’ve said elsewhere, I had not played one single game in the XYZZY awards, so I couldn’t vote for anything. That’s clearly unfair.

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To be honest, I feel confused when you say this.

You can play 100 games a year, but refuse to play any IFComp games and also refuse to play a single xyzzy nominee for the whole time they come out, and they say it’s unfair.

I just don’t understand. It’s like going to a cupcake festival and there’s a poll for best cupcake, but saying that that’s unfair because you didn’t try any cupcakes because you don’t like them and didn’t eat any.

Why not just play IFComp games after they come out when you do have time? And why not play the nominees for the XYZZY awards? You use “I didn’t play a single nominee” in your arguments the way people usually use involuntary conditions (like “I didn’t go to work because my car crashed), but it’s completely voluntary!

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Okay, I’ve updated the top post to list all current passing nominations.

I’ve also listed nominations that haven’t passed (including blatantly favoring my own suggestion at the top).

For the systems and genres, I used IFDB search and only included genres and systems that have at least 5 games, as well as categories for Other. Romance had 5 games, but none had received any ratings, and Abuse had 5 games, but 3 were by an author who doesn’t want them in competitions.

I am using the IFDB genre list because IFDB is the basis of the competition. The competition polls themselves will contain a list to a search on IFDB for games with those genres or systems. If a game you like doesn’t appear, you will need to edit that game to have the correct publication year, genre, and system.

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Inspired by Mathbrush “C64 parser game” example, I propose “Best retro IF game”. So that would include any game published to run on a retro machine such as the C64 but also Atari ST, Amiga, Spectrum, Apple II etc.

NB: By accident , I created the thread in the announcement thread instead and if a moderator moves it, the likes may be lost, so I have to do it like this, sorry. There are currently 10 likes over there:

You can find it here: Announcing a new set of Interactive Fiction Awards - #62 by Denk

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Honestly, it’d probably be best not to move it; I’ve already linked to it directly in a few places on the interwebz. Moving it might be fine, or it might break the links, I dunno. It’s getting close anyway, last I checked, it was at 12.

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If you do this, you could have 5 games which you rate (only 5, or 10, fixed number) and the best gets 5 points, the second favourite gets 4, and so on.

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I read through the discussion in the other thread, and I don’t think anyone actually wants a total ban on social media discussion. I think people just didn’t want an expectation that authors will be campaigning for their own games. More generally, I think it’s okay to have some ambiguity in the rules for now; I would propose that there is no explicit mention of campaigning/social media in the rules, and just play it by ear to see how it goes in the first cycle.

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Suggestion: split this into “Uncommon or custom parser system” and “Uncommon or custom choice-based system”.

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I think with all the scattered discussion and nuances, it needs its own discussion. I’m going to make a new poll as a separate post.

Edit:Okay, I got it running! I’m removing my suggestion above.

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Don’t distort what I said.

I certainly don’t refuse to play any games, but time is limited and I choose what I want to play when time permits. I certainly don’t like your attitude that I should be forced to play a select group of games, just so that I can vote in a contest that doesn’t include all the great games that I have played.

That’s a stupid analogy and bears no resemblance to the situation I described. It would be more accurate to say that I couldn’t vote because the bakers I like weren’t invited to contribute their cupcakes and I wasn’t able to taste the other cupcakes. This all wreaks of elitism.

I do, but that might be years after the comp and the awards.

Do you know what “I’m simply too busy” means? Maybe you don’t care for an elderly parent or have medical issues or have a stressful full-time job or contribute elsewhere to the IF community, but I do.

Bullshit. You’re misquoting me, distorting what I said and taking it out of context. What I said was " I had not played one single game in the XYZZY awards, so I couldn’t vote for anything". Whereas I played dozens of excellent games throughout 2021 and couldn’t vote for them because they weren’t nominated.

I hope others on here are more open-minded and understand the points I’m trying to make.

Just to reiterate, the main points are that:

• Every game released during the year should be eligible for votes.
• The voting system should be as simple as possible.
• The method of tallying votes should be as fair and equitable as possible so as not to favour the best-known games, as these are not necessarily the ‘best’ games.

I may be misunderstanding, but if your issue is that the games you played aren’t nominated, couldn’t you simply nominate them yourself?

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I knew someone would ask that. You’re right, but it comes down to time. Firstly you have to try and work out what games were released during the year. IFDB is far from complete, so you have to rely on many, many other resources such as competitions, game jams, itch.io, various Facebook groups, Discords, forums and so on. Can you imagine everybody doing that independently? It won’t happen. It needs to be a community effort.

If it was just a case of best game, that would be pretty easy to do, but the XYZZY awards has lots of categories and you really need to replay all the games to remind yourself of things like best puzzle and best NPC and best `<`insert category here`>`. It’s very time consuming if you want to take it seriously.

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That’s a real sticky point, unfortunately. IFComp is a decent chunk of all the games that come out in any given year, and if your schedule is such that you can’t get to them in time for the XYZZYs (which in this case opened a year after IFComp 2021 closed), then I’m not sure what changes can be made to accommodate?

Does such a method exist? The only way I can think of to address this is change to a judging panel instead of an audience vote, which has its own problems.

There’s some tradeoffs that come with an audience vote and those mostly seem to line up with the issues you have with both the XYZZYs and @mathbrush’s proposed new awards. I’m curious to see what your ideal awards setup would be like.

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I described a method earlier in this thread that I think would work really well, but no one has really commented on it yet. Maybe it’s too fair. Yes, a judging panel does have its own issues, one that I’ve experienced first hand. It is quite hard on the judges, as they have to play all the games. I believe they should play them to completion, otherwise a game may start out well, then fall to pieces and the judges won’t see that if they only play it for 5 or 10 minutes.

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Just went back through your posts to find it, and you’re talking about your ranked choice idea, right?

The XYZZYs kind of function similarly in the nomination round, in that you pick your nomination choices from a drop-down list of every single game released in the target year (as scraped from IFDB). I personally found this overwhelming due to the sheer number of games released every year, which is literal hundreds! I ended up frantically skimming the list for titles I recognized and editing and re-editing my choices as I remembered about other games I had played that I thought were deserving. If I had to rank them relative to one another I think I would have dropped the whole thing entirely, since it then turns voting into a significant time commitment.

I also don’t see how it really addresses your concerns since niche games are still unlikely to win without a publicity campaign, since there’s so many eligible games they’re going to get lost in the noise during voting. What you’re proposing would be more akin to running the XYZZYs but using what’s currently the nomination round as the actual competition.

(Also, I’m not sure IFDB can support ranked choice voting right now so this would be a big ask on the part of the organizers).

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Yeah, after thinking a bit more about this idea I’m increasingly convinced the above is 100% right - like, look what happens when people get Spotify, their music listening becomes more homogenous rather than less.

I very much get the goal here - I would love to figure out a way for weird niche stuff like Queenlash or Accelerate to get more recognition, for example! - but I think that in the context of these awards, curated categories tailored to highlighting those under-appreciated games, or, if we’re talking blue-sky ideas, judging panels with reps deeply familiar with stuff outside of what this community sees as the mainstream, could be pretty cool. And it’s maybe worth acknowledging that the whole concept @mathbrush started with is a populist “People’s Choice” awards, which would serve a specific purpose and fill a particular niche in the scene - I don’t think it’s intended to, or can, be all things to all people.

EDIT: just rereading the back and forth here, and seeing that it’s gotten a bit heated, I dunno whether it’s helpful to say I see where both Garry and Brian are coming from and the frustration is understandable but maybe not super productive to express? Like, I know the IntFic boards - and by extension the XYZZY’s for 2021, which I think were dominated by us - have some significant blind spots when it comes to stuff outside our main events which can undervalue hard work folks are doing elsewhere. But on the flip side, if over all of 2021 and the first 11 months of 2022, a player hasn’t gotten to either of the Spring Thing best in show winners, either of the top two finishers in ParserComp (or the top-placing Adventuron entry), the EctoComp winner, or any of the top eight finishers in IFComp, that seems like it reflects a lack of interest in these venues rather than a lack of time and I agree with Brian that it seems unproductive to make procedural changes in response.

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Yeah, just trying to think of a rational way to get a fairer and more balanced voting mechanism in place. To be quite honest, I don’t expect the mathbrush awards to be any different to XYZZY, except in name, but I don’t appreciate being abused for making a suggestion.

That might explain the absence of some games. IFDB is far from complete, as it relies on voluntary contributions. My voluntary contributions are already targeted at CASA.

Yes, there is a whole world of interesting things being done elsewhere, particularly in the retro and indie scenes, but also in the narrative/choice-based community.

That sounds like it’s aimed at me. In my case, I was a tester for quite a few games in Spring Thing, ECTOCOMP, ParserComp, IFComp and a couple of other jams/comps in 2021 and 2022, and a participant in ParserComp, Puny Jam and Text Adventure Literacy Jam in those years, so it’s certainly not a lack of interest. The only XYZZY nominee that I had played was the excellent ‘The Faeries of Haelstowne’ by @ChristopherMerriner, but I hadn’t finished it and the puzzle that it was nominated for must have been later in the game.

Thank you both for the thoughtful feedback.

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Yes, IFComp is a big contributor to all the IF games released in a year but is actually much less than 50%… especially if you start to look beyond the borders of specific communities and discover games that aren’t normally covered by the existing competitions and awards like the XYZZYs. There seems little point just making another set of XYZZY awards, so any comments about widening the scope and appreciating the larger IF landscape beyond IFComp, which I think Garry is trying to make here, seems to me to be valid.

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