ParserComp - Automatic game inclusion in IFDB?

Due to the comments in this thread, I am leaning toward having ParserComp 2024 game entries uploaded to IFDB. All of the games will certainly be reviewed as part of the judging process. The games and their reviews should be available to the IF community and should be archived.

Several comments from prominent reviewers indicated that the entries might not be worth the considerable effort to review if the games are just going to disappear once the comp is over. That would diminish interest overall.

Please share your thoughts.


Might be interesting to include a poll in the thread too (with the poll function of the forum) :thinking:


It has been a tradition for Parsercomp entries to be on IFDB, with links to their games and their reviews. Let’s keep it that way.

Edit: OK, not the IFDB pages. It’s more about storing the game files on IF Archive, which I support, though I will not insist that everyone consent to having their game files on IF Archive. In the Neo-Interactive jams, you could opt-out of having your game files uploaded onto the archive, and we should do the same for Parsercomp. And maybe for all future comps/jams hosted on itch going forward.

As I understand it, the discussion has been about whether to upload to the IF Archive, right? All ParserComp games have always been listed on IFDB.

Last year, from what I remember, there was an ‘opt out’ option for anyone who didn’t want their game uploaded to the Archive. Are you suggesting removing this ‘opt out’ option and making it a condition of ParserComp that all games will be uploaded to the Archive regardless?

I don’t personally have a problem with games being uploaded to the Archive if that’s what the suggestion is.


The question is not about listing the games on the IFDB, but uploading the game files onto the IFDB (which technically should be the IFArchive, since that’s where the game files are hosted).


You should be clear to ParserComp participants up-front whether you mean to do one or both of the following two things (I think previous comps/jams have had trouble from not being precise here):

  • Uploading the game files to the IF Archive, which means the game will by default be available online publicly forever;
  • Creating records for games at IFDB, which means a record of the existence of games, reviews of them, etc, will stay online by default; but not necessarily the playable game itself.

(I assume you probably mean both, but you should state it explicitly if so.)

IFDB does not host game files.
(I know this is confusing, because IFDB provides one of the upload interfaces to the IF Archive, and IFDB is usually the most convenient front-end for playing games hosted on the IF Archive, and the two sites have some special tight integration, and they’re both run by the IFTF. The distinction might seem pedantic, but it matters particularly from the point of view of authorial control of game distribution, which is the point of asking this question.)

It’s quite possible, indeed common, for a game to have an IFDB record, but point only to some author-controlled site like; if the author deletes their game from itch-or-wherever, the likely outcome is that IFDB retains a public record that the game once existed, and some reviews of it, but the game itself is no longer reachable from its IFDB page.

(I’m sure someone already did a write-up of this, but I can’t think where to look for it, so sorry for the rushed restatement.)

(edit: as two people already said as I was writing all this)


IFDB and IF Archive are completely different things

IFDB just contains information about the game, including the name, description, and links, and it’s a place where people can post reviews. Nobody submitting to ParserComp has ever had the option to opt out of having people talk about their game on IFDB. (That would be like having someone say that the game can’t be discussed on

IF Archive hosts the author’s actual game files. That’s only allowed with the author’s permission, because the author controls the copyright (the right to make copies of the game).

We should update the title of this thread and I think @fos1 should update the top post to make it clear that we’re talking about IF Archive and not IFDB.

All competitions should have an archival rule

IFComp’s rule says:

You retain the copyright to any games you enter, and may do whatever you wish with your work after the competition ends. That said, by entering IFComp, you grant the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (IFComp’s organizing body) the non-exclusive right to distribute, without limit, all material you submit to the competition.

Spring Thing’s rule says:

The festival version of your game must be freely available both during the festival and in perpetuity afterwards on the IF Archive. Thus, if your game is unable to be archived in perpetuity on the IF Archive, it is ineligible for the Main Festival.

Authors don’t need to lift a finger to put these games in the archive; they just need to give permission to host games in the archive. Volunteers can manually archive the games ourselves, but only if we have permission.

Most of last year’s ParserComp winners opted out of archival

Last year, there were three winners of ParserComp. Two out of the three winners checked the box to opt out of archival.

I don’t feel like I need to name names, but I can say that @Warrigal explained why he opted out of archival here:

This matters, because multiple people have decided to delete their games from Itch, and then asked us to delete reviews of their game on IFDB

Games hosted only on Itch can be deleted by the author at any time. If the author refuses to have their game archived, then the public can no longer play that game, period.

Multiple times this year, authors have written to IFDB and used our “Delete This Game” feature, saying that they’re the author and that they’ve deleted all copies of the game, and asked us to delete the IFDB listing, including its public reviews.

Each author has their own reasons for asking for deletion (for example, because the game contains personal details that they regret publicizing). Typically the author isn’t explicitly asking us to “delete the reviews,” but they’re just asking us to “delete their IFDB entry,” which just happens to include reviews.

As long as the game remains visible to the public on IF Archive, I think it doesn’t make sense to delete game listings from IFDB, but when the very last public copy of a game is deleted, it probably doesn’t make sense to host reviews of a game that effectively no longer exists.

It might not make sense to review games that are hosted only on Itch and deny permission to be archived

If you know that a game is hosted only on Itch, and that the author could delete it at any time, and that your review will then be useless (and perhaps even deleted), maybe it doesn’t make sense to post a review at all.

For ParserComp, as long as authors can opt out of archival, there’s no reason to think that any ParserComp game you review will be archived, especially the winners, since most of the winners opted out of archival.


Currently you can submit an HTML page as an entry to IFComp. This page could link to itch or self-hosting, for example.

So, as i understand it. The following rule:

by entering IFComp, you grant the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (IFComp’s organizing body) the non-exclusive right to distribute, without limit, all material you submit to the competition.

Only gives the right to redistribute that HTML page and not the game iself.

Or am i mistaken?

So, assuming people are regretting doing that, what should they do in such cases? Will they be eternally regretting that they’re doxing themselves?

ITMT, are you putting in flags on comp entries that such-and-such games aren’t archived and therefore may not be worthwhile to review? Or be voted on?

Personally speaking, if the reason is because the game is just too buggy, I’m inclined of leaving it on the archive until a newer updated version is available.

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When the author requests deletion, we often don’t get a lot of details, but normally they don’t request deletion from the archive. They just delete the game themselves on Itch (it had never been on the archive) and then ask for the entry to be deleted on IFDB.

In these cases, I don’t expect that they’re doing it because the game is “buggy,” or, at least, they don’t seem to intend to release a new version later on.

I don’t really agree with not reviewing non-archived not making sense or simply being useless because the author could make the game unavailable or because the IFDB page could be deleted. For a few reasons:

  • just because it happened that a few listing were taken down, doesn’t mean that there will be a trend of deletion request. We shouldn’t freak out about it and stop reviewing non-archived game on the off-chance that… Also, sorry about some of those cases because we didn’t indicate it clearly for the Neo-Twiny Jam the first time around. We’ve included it on all our pages ever since, even included an opt-in IFArchive.

  • I often have thoughts now about a game I played, thoughts that I would like to share with others. Is it useless for me to write them down on the off-chance that maybe, one day in the future, the author request for the page to be deleted, when it could be enjoyed by potential players from the soon future?

  • Like with books, the internet has tons of lost media, that we only know of through references, or reviews of those works. This also happens with Commercial games that lose their license of a property (like the Deadpool Game that was pulled out not just once BUT TWICE).
    Do reviews of these work have no value because the Original Work is gone? Can’t we still learn, albeit less, about them through still available information even if we can’t experience them ourselves?

Should commercial game listing be deleted on the IFDB because it’s not archived on the IFArchive?
Who know when INK, Failbetter Games or ChoiceofGame could pull a game from their catalogue for XYZ reason… or have their whole catalogue gone one day.
(like, I know this is SUPER unlikely that would ever happen, it’s just for the sake of the point)

I mean there are games I can play myself because the setting of the game makes my uncomfortable or the gameplay makes me sick, or because I can’t buy the game, but I still get to enjoy through the words of others that game.

I’m in favour for an optional opt-in for the IFArchive, as was done last year with the ParserComp and is done by many other jams. If it moves to be hosted on a separate website from, I’d be in favour of doing it similarly to the SpringThing (where you can host on the website or give a link towards a separate service) or the IFComp (letting users submit an HTML redirect to their project).

At the end of the day, we’re voluntarily creating free games for fun, in our own free time. :v:


I think archiving games is a positive norm that we have as a community, so building that norm into ParserComp so it better aligns with the other events makes sense to me – it also seems to me that it might be helpful to have a short 2-3 sentences that explains what the Archive is and why archiving is important, even if it’s not going to provide the best player-facing gameplay experience, might help increase uptake and provide important context for folks newer to the community.

I generally shy away from saying it should be a requirement rather than something that’s strongly encouraged, though – I can see legitimate reasons why folks might be shy of permanent archival, and speaking personally I don’t have as negative a reaction to reviewing stuff that someday might no longer be available to others (it occurs to me that this is how all reviews work for theater critics…)

I also do wonder whether, separate from ParserComp, it might make sense to modify the IFDB deletion process to allow authors who want their game to go away to allow the page, and any existing reviews, to persist – I suspect that just as the range of reasons why people want to delete their games can vary, folks’ responses to that option would vary, but it might strike a middle ground in some cases.

EDIT: like, I suspect that many people have the same confusion on the IFDB/IF Archive distinction as did fos1, and when they ask IFDB to delete their game’s page, they think that would delete the game file – so confirming the intent and what deletion would affect, and what it wouldn’t, might be a good step, if it’s not already super clear.


And for movies/series too! Some have only limited releases and do not end up being sold physically/online. Or they get pulled by their distributor (looking at you WarnerBros).


Actually, I don’t have any confusion regarding the distinction between IFDB and IF Archive. IFDB is the forward facing listing that generates the most public interaction. I am on the IFDB Committee and see the daily listings of new members joining IFDB. Quite a few join daily.

Removing the IFDB listing is a defacto de-listing even if the game file(s) are still on IF Archive.


Can people who don’t want their Spring Thing games archived still submit to the Back Garden? Or is this rule mainly meant to deal with commercial games?

Yes, the Back Garden allows games that people don’t want archived or that run on web only. Brydlo, a bitsy game, is an example from this Spring Thing that is hosted only on itch.

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I guess if the ParserComp organizers wanted to compromise, they could do something similar to what Spring Thing does–have a competitive part of the event that requires archival, and another, noncompetitive part of the event that doesn’t require archival. Then reviewers who were concerned about their reviews going to waste could focus on games in the competitive part of the event.

I’m not sure it’s the best option, but maybe something to consider.


The authors of that lost media don’t tend to ask for the reviews to be deleted, though, which has happened with the Itch games.

Ditto, I’d be shocked if Choice of Games not only removed a game from their catalogue but tried to have the reviews purged.

This speaks loudly to my inner book archaeologist! There are tons of works throughout the ages that we only know of from other authors referencing them, or quoting snippets, or writing a summary.

This example:

Aeschylus - Lost Plays - Wikipedia

And especially this sentence from the article:

There are enough fragments (along with comments made by later authors and scholiasts) to produce rough synopses for some plays.


Indeed, or Aristotle’s lost chapter of the Poetics on Comedy, which inspired a novel of its own…