ParserComp 2024 is now open for registration

I am pleased to announce the opening of ParserComp 2024. We have now had three successful years and are looking forward to this years edition.


  • Join ParserComp

  • Submission window opens: Sunday 28 April 2024;

  • Deadline for game submissions: end of Sunday 30 June 2024;

  • Voting opens: Monday 1 July 2024;

  • Deadline for voting: end of Sunday 31 July 2024;

  • Results published

Questions and suggestions are always welcome.


Curiosity question: I read the jam page, and wondered – would something like The Space Under the Window be classified as “Freestyle”?

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There’s a jam page?

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I believe it’s this one.


Even though the responses to text entry in Space Under the Window are unusual, it is still a text based parser game. Therefore it would be entered into the Classical category.

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Mind you, if I were doing SUTWIN today, or even ten years ago, I would have at least supported hyperlinks. Perhaps like Bigger Than You Think - Details .

But I did in in the 1990s, and it is what it is.


In one week, ParserComp 2024 will be open for submissions. Ten intrepid authors have already registered. WaHoo!

It is setup the same way as last year’s comp. I sure hope the gremlins have mercy on us this year.

I intended to have a proper dedicated site setup this year, but it’s not ready for prime time. Definitely for next year.

I’m always open for suggestions!


What do you mean by “dedicated site setup”? What’s wrong with the one you’ve got on itch?

I can’t speak for fos1, but for me I’ve been avoiding itch games recently. There’s been 3 or 4 cases in the last year of authors who host the game on itch deleting their games and trying to remove all traces of the game on the internet. In one of those cases, my review was deleted, too. It made me think a lot about whether reviews have any value, as no one really noticed or cared about it going away, which made me wonder: what is the value in a review anyway?

Since then, I just haven’t reviewed any itch games at all and a lot less games in general. If no one reads them, and the games can just disappear at any point if the itch author wants to withdraw it, then what’s the point?

But if there’s a hosted site, if other people besides the author have a copy of the games and authors are aware that they’re permanently putting something out there, then I’m happy to write a review because maybe someone in 40 years will want to know what Cargo Breach is about or what I struggled with in Carpathian Vampire.

So, I don’t know fos1’s motivation, but I strongly support it!


It’s a pity to hear that people have removed their games from itch. It seems to be a pretty stable platform and the longevity of games is more assured than those hosted on private web sites that are here today, gone tomorrow. I guess you can’t stop people removing their games or failing to renew their web site registration. It’s just a pity that they do.

If the IF Archive allowed games to be submitted by the non-owners of those games, then we could at least preserve them.

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It does! When you upload to the Archive, one of the fields you fill out is a choice between two options:

Right to use: I am the author of this file and I give permission for the IF Archive to host and distribute it.
I am not the author, but to the best of my knowledge the author is okay with this.

I don’t know what standards are used to evaluate when an entry ticking the latter option is deemed solid enough to accept, but the option is there (of course, if an author took down a game on purpose, probably to the best of one’s knowledge they wouldn’t be okay with it being hosted elsewhere).


It’s that second option that worries me. I have hundreds (if not thousands) of games that I’ve acquired after years of scouring the internet when doing historical research on old games that are not in the IF Archive, but I have no idea whether the author is okay with submitting them, hence they have not been submitted.


Yeah, the problem is that the winners of last year’s ParserComp decided to use the option to opt out of IF Archive, so they can’t be archived, and they never will be.

EDIT: Correction: two out of the three winners opted out.


Yeah, it’s tricky – though I’d think submitting decades-old games whose authors published them and never gave any sign of wanting to make unavailable, but which haven’t been archived because Internet archiving wasn’t a thing at the time they were made, is different from the situation where folks have intentionally tried to pull stuff back. Dunno if any Archive folks have thoughts on the question?

Wait, wasn’t Garry one of the winners last year? And Amanda the other?

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I posted a minor correction. Two out of the three winners opted out.

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Hang about. One of those was me, wasn’t it? I recall giving some thought to this and decided against it because I wanted players to have the full experience with a pretty web page, full instructions and ability to play online or download. I may also add a blog, hints, map, solution and disk images for 8-bit and 16-bit computers (when time permits). itch is a much better place to do this and have it all in one place. And the source code is available on my GitHub page where it’s easier (for me) to maintain.

As it is now, it takes me a day to do all the updates to multiple web sites whenever I publish or update a game. Adding another one just adds to the headache.

I will reconsider that this year, as I now include the link back to the page in my games, so that players can get the full instructions, all the extras and the latest version if there’s an update.

FWIW, I added a rule in the Text Adventure Literacy Jam this year to ensure that all submitted games can be submitted to the IF Archive. I know of one author who will not submit anything because of this, so we’ll see if it affects the total number of entries a week from now.


Well, I’m sure you had your reasons, and the other winner had reasons as well, but I hope you do decide to archive your winning entry some day.

But the point is that there’s no particular reason to think that games entered into ParserComp will be archived, especially not the winners.

So it might not make sense to review them, if, as has happened multiple times this year, the author can decide to just delete their game from itch, thereby deleting all public copies of their game, and then request that we delete their IFDB entry, including all of its reviews.

Maybe better to wait and see which games, if any, do wind up making it to the archive, rather than waste time reviewing games that the author might just delete later on.


I agree that itch provides authors more independent control. But that’s kind of the point; being community-minded requires giving up some individual control. Different internet cultures can prioritize cohesiveness or individuality. When a game is released, does the game and the discussion around it belong to the author alone or to everyone? Recently people have been emphasizing having sole control over the game, but if that’s the case, then necessarily others have less investment in it.


I feel like there was also a discussion about how the Play Online button on IFDB works, and I don’t remember the details… is it possible to have IFDB’s Play Online button go to Itch or some other external link, and have the IF Archive copy just be a backup for posterity?

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My SeedComp game “Poetic Justice” is on IFDB and has a “play on” button…