ParserComp 2021 - The Rules (Final Draft)

  1. To be eligible for participation in ParserComp your game must have text input, a text parser system and text output as the primary mechanism of control.

    1.1 Clicking on key words is permitted, again providing the text input/output parser is the primary method of control and the entire game cannot be traversed by clicking on words.
    1.2 Graphics are permitted i.e location, NPC, items etc
    1.3 Sound effects are permitted.
    1.4 Voice input and output are permitted to aid and support players with any physical condition which would make keyboard usage difficult or impossible. The text input & output system needs to remain in place as the primary control system.

  2. You may use your own parser engine or any of the existing parser-based authoring tools to create your game.

  3. ParserComp will be ran using and its game jam system. Therefore, participants and anyone wishing to judge/vote will need an account.

  4. The registration & submission window for ParserComp 2021 is from 1st April to 30th June 2021.
    4.1 All registrations and submissions are hidden until the voting window opens at which point all games will be available to play and vote.

  5. The judging/voting window for ParserComp 2021 is from 1st to 31st July 2021.

  6. All entries must cost nothing for judges to play. Entries may not request payment in order to play through the game, require the player to view paid advertising, or make similar commercial demands of the player.

  7. You retain the copyright to any games you enter, and may do whatever you wish with your work after the competition ends.

  8. All entries must be previously unreleased at the opening of judging. ParserComp makes a specific defintion of “unreleased” by which we mean that the game you wish to enter has never been widely distributed, sold, or made available for public play or download prior to the competition with the following exceptions:

    8.1 Open beta testing is allowed in ParserComp. This should not be used as a form of game promotion or marketing and to this end our expectation is that requesting beta-testers in any public or private forums should follow the guidelines below:
    8.1.1 The title of the post should be “Request for Beta-Testers for ParserComp Game: [Game Name]”
    8.1.2 Description of the game should be a simple overview, should not include any egregious promotional jargon, and should be 100 words or less.
    8.1.3 Description of your expectation of the beta-testers; 50 words or less.
    8.1.4 Contact details for the author.
    8.1.5 How to acquire the game for beta testing purposes only.

    8.2 There is no restriction on eligibility for entry into ParserComp regarding the length of time that a game has already been in Open Beta Test state.

    8.3 Any game previously entered into IntroComp, but which is now complete, may be entered into ParserComp.

    8.4 ParserComp considers a translation of a previously released game into the English language as a new work, therefore eligible for entry.

  9. While you are free to talk about your entries in public, please avoid suggesting to judges, directly or indirectly, how they should vote and this includes directly promoting for and inviting votes via posts or promotional material in forums or other social media.

    9.1 ParserComp reserves the right to request any post or promotional item which is deemed to break rule 9 to be removed.
    9.2 ParserComp reserves the right to disqualify any entrant who refuses to remove any post or promotional item which, at the judgement of ParserComp, is in breach of rule 9.

  10. ParserComp reserves the right to refuse entry into the competition and/or remove any existing participant if we believe (at our judgement) they are in breach of the rules or are not operating within the spirit of the rules and the competition.

  11. All games must be written in English.

  12. Adult content is permitted however it must be clearly stated as such in the game description and any accompanying documents.

  13. It is the responsibility of the game author to provide clear instructions (with download links) for any software needed to run and play the game including (but not limited to) the relevant interpreter i.e Frotz, GLULX etc Please do not assume that your audience (who will be judging and voting on your game) know what software they need and where to get it.

  14. ParserComp defines a parser game as one where the primary input method is keyboard, commands are typed in, the computer uses a parser engine to understand your command and then outputs text to screen describing the results. We acknowledge that wider definitions exist and are valid in their own right, but in the context of the competition this is our definition.

    14.1 As described in 1.1 the usage of a mouse to click on key words is allowed.

    14.2 SPEAK is allowed (producing a menu of things to say) but is ideally available alongside the more typical ASK and TELL.

  15. Walkthroughs, guides, hints and any other support documentation is not mandatory and submissions of game only are accepted. However please be aware that these documents are extremely useful to players/judges/voters. Many people have expressed the view that if these additional support documents are not provided then they are less willing to play and judge/vote on games. This is entirely their prerogative. As such we very much recommend that you consider making these support documents available as part of your submission.

  16. You are not required to submit source code along with your game, but may do so if you wish.


This is fantastic!

It might be worth pointing out, although this is implied by the rules, that entries are also necessarily bound by the publishing terms of


That’s a good point, I’ll look into that, thanks :slightly_smiling_face::+1:


Is there a strong need for rule 11?

I recently spent a while with some French IF, and wouldn’t mind doing so again, even though my French n’est pas trop courant.

If judges predominantly speak only English that would disadvantage an entry in another language, but maybe that’s something the author might understand and not care about.

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Well, for a English competition, I understand why one would want to have only works written in English. And being French, I’d prefer to submit my game to a comp where most judges speak French, so I wouldn’t submit it to the ParserComp anyway.

For our French comp, we have a similar rule, except we don’t explicitly say that works have to be written in French, only that they have to be written for a French public. This allows games like, say, The Gostak, or an educational game teaching how to speak a foreign language, for example.

That being said, it’s always great to hear someone wanting more games in French! :smiley:


OMG, I hadn’t even thought of that. An IF piece in nonsense verse might fall foul of rule 11. :laughing:

Laise beton.


It’s a very good question. :slightly_smiling_face:

I think it’s just to keep consistency. The odds are most of the people playing and voting will be English speaking but a small number will be able to read & speak French, German, Swedish etc

I know in Facebook groups there tends to be an “all posts in English please” rule, otherwise there’s five different languages where each one is only readable by 20% of the members. Obviously that’s unlikely to happen in ParserComp, but it’s the only vague comparison I can draw. :slightly_smiling_face:



An excellently clear and comprehensive set of rules - well done.


Thank you! :slightly_smiling_face::+1:


how do I participate in the judging of this competition?


Thanks for asking! :slightly_smiling_face::+1:

My plan is to make it super easy this year (my first year running it). You’ll need an account after which you can simply view the competition entries on the ParserComp itch page, click one and then click to vote.

I’ll issue more succinct instructions a little nearer the time.

Hope that helps for now.

Adam :slightly_smiling_face::v:

The way it normally works is that the competition page will magically add a Submissions tab when judging opens. Click this tab to see a list of all the submissions with titles, authors, thumbnails and very brief descriptions. You can sort these in a number of different ways.

Click on one of the games to see the individual game’s submission page. From here, you can visit the game page, rate the game and add comments (such as reviews or hint requests).

Anyone can play the games, but you will need an account to add comments or rate the games. The latter is to ensure that people can’t rate the same game twice.

When the judging period is finished, automatically determines the results based on the ratings and the rating categories used to determine the winners (this is configurable by the organiser), then automatically adds a Results tab to the competition page. Click this to see the statistics for the results. These can be viewed by overall winner or individual voting categories.

Overall, it’s a really neat system and works really well, particularly from the author’s point of view. The author can also see analytics related to number of views and downloads over time (presented in nice charts), referring urls and so on. The latter is particularly useful, because it tells you how people found your game. Obviously, most of these will be from various pages, but you can see others from Facebook, Twitter, IFDB and so on, depending on where you’ve promoted the game or where other people have given a link to your game.

As a general rule, authors can expect to see a spike when the judging period opens and a smaller spike when the results are announced.


I will most likely be playing, reviewing and voting. As such, I have a humble request: Could authors be encouraged to provide a download link for games that are possible to play in a local interpreter? It would make my job a lot easier :slight_smile:


Can you have a game entered and still review games?


Good question. I presume you mean judge or rate games. On, the answer is ‘yes’, unless there is some way for the organiser to override this, but you can’t rate your own game. (I forgot to mention this.)

Personally, I can’t see why a contributor should not be able to rate all the other games, even if they’re a beta tester. I know I want to contribute something, but I also want to play and rate the other games.


Yes! It’s in the rules :+1: Essentially I’ve written “if your game needs X interpreter to work then please provide details and a link”; it’s risky for game authors to assume their players will know what is needed and where to get it, this may lead to missed vote opportunities.



As far as I know (and I believe @Warrigal has said as much) automatically allows anyone with an account to vote for games other than their own, and I certainly am in support of this and have no interest in trying to prevent this.

Thanks :slightly_smiling_face:



Ah, I wasn’t referring to the interpreters, but links to the games themselves. I prefer to play IF locally, and not through a web browser.


Me too. If I can’t download a game file to play offline in my own choice of interpreter, with highly personalised massive font etc, I’m less likely to judge. IFComp, SpringThing and IntroComp all provide access to downloadable game files. So eg zcode files, glulx blorbs, TADS game files etc.


Same here. My personalised font is probably not as big as yours, but I too do some tinkering with the way the game looks before I start playing fo real. (Mostly fontsize combined with softer background colour. Stark, bright contrasts give me a headache.)