ParserComp 2021 - Voting

Hi all,

The window for game submission ends tomorrow (June 30th) and the playing/voting period opens and remains open from 1st to 31st July!

I thought I would share ahead of time how the voting works.

The key metric, and the one which counts towards a games vote total, is “Overall Rating”. The other categories are available for voting/scoring however they are there to purely allow people to optionally score on puzzles, sounds, storyline, writing quality etc

The reason why these other metrics were not counted towards the full score of the game is that each game is individual and may not contain all of the voting/scoring elements i.e puzzles, strong story etc

The scoring method used on is a nice & clean Star system, so you rate from 1-5 Stars.

Really looking forwards to playing the games and seeing those votes come in!

Thanks everyone for your continued support!

Adam :slight_smile:


Looks neat. I like that we get to show our appreciation for different aspects of the games while keeping the focus on overall enjoyment.

And Adam, a grand tip of the sombrero-sized hat to you for getting this show on the road! I remember being excited about this back in February (I think?) when you first dropped the idea of resurrecting ParserComp. It’s been a joy in itself to watch the enthusiasm and the practical ideas grow and take shape since then. And now it’s on!

I’m really looking forward to playing the games.

It has also been really interesting to see the comments and questions about this Comp going from joyful “Wow, cool, I have this great idea for a story/game!” to puzzled “Wait, how do I interpret those rules?” to last-minute frantic “Can anyone playtest this real quick please?!”

It’s fun to be on the sidelines and cheering the entrants on.


Is it really appropriate to rank Graphics and Sound, when so much of the basis of the competition is that we’re making games that don’t rely on those things, and probably most entries will have neither? I’d suggest getting rid of those and replacing them with something like “Presentation”, which covers effort authors go to to present the text itself - the meat of the game - as well as any embellishments.

I also think “Spelling & Grammar” is redundant - grammar is close to meaningless in creative writing at the best of times, and in parser games we’re constantly expecting players to type things like “eat red”. Judges will account for both in “Writing” if they care.

EDIT: The XYZZY Award categories make a good go-to list: writing, story, setting, puzzles, NPCs, and implementation. (Innovation, technological development, and use of multimedia, not so much.) I agree with overall rating being voted on separately.



I’ve noticed myself typing EAT THE RED ELEPHANT fully when I’m really immersed in a game. Prolonging the joy…

I fully agree with the rest of your comment.


A quick refresh later… :slight_smile:



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Some explanation about Implementation, please. Do you mean sophisticated parser? Does that mean Quill games will automatically score lower than Inform/TADS ones?

Or are you talking about Feelies?

Typing X WALL when outdoors. X CEILING or X MOON when indoors (watch for windows). X NORTH or X MOUNTAIN (big, tall objects on next location).

Do people still type XYZZY?

Implementation would usually include whether objects are given individual descriptions or left to the generic “You see nothing special about X”, do all the object descriptions work, if a rock is mentioned fairly explicitly in a room description then if I were to type “examine rock” would it give me an explanation or just state “You don’t see any rock here.”

Also, don’t worry, as described earlier the only criteria that counts towards the score of the game is Overall Rating. All other ratings are to allow people to rate games for these elements without bias against other games.

If one game has sounds effects but another doesn’t then this can be rated but it won’t go against the game that doesn’t have sound effects.

Adam :+1:

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So, Coding, then. I think that I would like to reward extra effort for feelies. For examples, Zork with Pictures (Japanese version) where not only location graphics are available in-game, but it also includes booklet filled with illustrations for the objects/creatures.

This can go under Graphics, I guess, but I’m not sure.

I don’t suppose people will start including 3D STL files so people can have their own feelies. :gift:

Not directly, I mean yes if the game appears to have bugs that haven’t been removed or does something completely random then this of course boils down to coding. It’s more about depth and detail than coding, in my view.

If the room described having a pond in it, I could type EXAMINE POND and the reply might be that there is a fish swimming around a rock, so I could then type EXAMINE ROCK or EXAMINE FISH and ideally get a meaningful response.



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Every darn time! And I go “squee” when it gets a response. I even go “squiggidy” when it’s a response I hadn’t seen yet.

Best one yet: " Bless you"


The only thing that matters in the voting and win/loss is the overall 1 to 5 stars. Everything else is advisory.


I am happy for two reasons: About this COMP (yes, in capitals) is on the go and about YOU, the great master (monster).

Descending to the ground now, isn’t there a NPC tag to vote this special implementation on games?

Another tag could be difficulty. This tag should talk about difficulty in relationship with frustration (too difficult), motivation of keep playing (prizes and rewards in game), boring (too easy, obvious or repetitive)…

And finally. Implementation is about playability?
Playability concerns parser accept and understand what you write down and in parallel means that there is a logical connection between plot and story play.


I agree there’s no point in rating spelling and grammar separately from the writing, but for the opposite reason. Grammar is the rock-bottom foundation for all writing - badly constructed sentences prevent any other good quality of the writing from shining through. There are unfortunate examples in every IFComp.

This doesn’t imply a prescriptive attitude to grammar, just that you know how to follow some set of rules. For a very clear creative writing example, it seems likely that no writer ever paid closer attention to spelling and grammar than Joyce did while writing Finnegan’s Wake.


This should be right up your alley :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Magic Realms – The Sword of Kasza - Details (


To be clear, the “Join Jam” button on is only needed for people submitting games, not for playing/voting?

Yes, that’s right - you don’t need to join the jam to vote, just have an Itch account.

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