Planning for ParserComp 2023 (2nd Quarter 2023)

  • ParserComp 2022 is complete. It was very successful with over 100 participants, nineteen entries and over 300 ratings.
  • Though very successful, the comp had issues early. Some involved comp policy and some dealt with the scoring and rating system.
  • The policy issues involved games that were not parser based. Ultimately, the games in question were allowed to be entered. The rules regarding entries will be addressed prior to next year’s comp.
  • The other main issue involved’s voting/rating system. It would not accept ratings at all for the first week. support was nonresponsive. The issue required a fair amount manipulation but was resolved within a few days.
  • The comp has a number of categories and weighting for the two different categories.’s system does not allow for any rating. It only counts ratings for each category. At the end of the ratting period, it provides a “raw” score and an overall score. It appears that both scores are somehow manipulated.
  • Based upon the rules, we had to weight the game results. The two top games were within a couple of tenths or a point different. After the weighting calculation, the 1st and 2nd place game rankings were reversed. We awarded a trophy for both games.

Moving forward for 2023:

  • I have obtained a domain name for ParserComp and set aside Linode server space for its use.
  • We will address the scoring/rating system with system like the one used with IF Comp.
  • We will address the comp rules and change them to allow the best experience for authors, participants and interested parties. Though ParserComp was initially set up for “text-based parser games”, the community has evolved. We would like to make ParserComp as inclusive as possible.

We would like to invite all interested parties to join the ParserComp Discord Server. Your feedback and critique will be greatly appreciated. All feedback will be considered seriously.

Thank you


That looks like a great plan - best wishes with it!


I didn’t follow the competition this year (sorry) but, from an outsider’s perspective, these sentences confused me. The main appeal of ParserComp to me was that it was for text-based parser games. Everything else sounds good!


I’d encourage you to look at the scoring system as well. Some people might wish to make puzzleless games, but they’d do poorly in scoring if they did so-- @DeusIrae 's Sting would have done badly in the comp for this reason. Some people might wish to make storyless games, but they’d score poorly-- @dibianca 's Grandma Bethlinda’s Remarkable Egg would have done badly for this reason. Since I think we can all agree that those were great games that did what their authors intended them to do, perhaps you should look at the scoring rubric to make sure you’re not driving away entries that don’t fit the old-school text adventure model.

** Edit: at least one game in this year’s comp suffered from the scoring system-- @parsercommander 's Gent Stickman had no writing at all. It felt wrong to rate such an innovative game so low for writing, but if it has no writing at all… ??? This system doesn’t encourage outside-the-box entries like the three games I mentioned.

** And another edit: because I clearly can’t read, I missed this:

I’ll shut up now.


(I appreciate the shout-out, Amanda!)

On scoring, I understood the line about moving to a system more like IF Comp’s as indicating that it’ll be more like a single, overall score in future years? If that’s the case, I’d definitely support the move. It was kind of cool to be able to highlight entries that did a really good job with feelies or multimedia, though – I dunno whether it’d be overcomplicating things to have a side-rating or ribbon system like in Spring Thing for things that go beyond just the overall rating? But that might be worth considering.

I also like the idea of broadening the definition to be more inclusive – to my mind this is a self-policing problem, because given the broad range of IF festivals and competitions, I’d assume authors who enter ParserComp do so because they want their work considered as a parser game. A rough guideline like “the player’s main form of interacting with the game should be typing” seems like it’d be all you’d need, and I definitely don’t think there’d need to be a disqualification process based on games not meeting that definition – I felt bad for the position that put @fos and @ChristopherMerriner into.

My last though, which maybe contradicts these earlier ones, is that while I think itch wasn’t a great platform for the competition and moving away from it will make things more manageable, having it hosted there did increase visibility and lead to some new folks encountering our community. Granted, due to the issues with itch, and the different expectations, those initial encounter sometimes weren’t as positive as they could have been – but we’re all enriched when new voices come in. So if there were some way to better engage with itch, and invite folks active there to acquaint or re-acquaint themselves with IF, that would be a great thing to do. I don’t think the burden of figuring that out should fall on the ParserComp organizers specifically, though – and whatever form that would wind up taking, I suspect it wouldn’t look much like a traditional competition – so this is just throwing the thought out there to see if it sparks any ideas.

Once again, congrats to the organizers, authors, and judges! I’ve loved having ParserComp as another way to stay connected to IF, and y’all, over the summer, so I’m really excited it will be continuing into 2023.


I’m writing a “Gent Stickman’s Ante Vitam (Postmortem sucks)” were I talk about this and more things in the game creation. By now, I will share with you what I wrote to one of my beta testers about this before votation period:

I think that at the voting time, “Gent Stickman” game will probably receive a low punctuation in the “Writing” category, as it has not words, and I will of course accept it, but my way of see that is that my game has a Writing style and a Quality level (good or bad), using images.

We all knew what the categories were before work on the games, and we took the risk to do what we wanted to do anyway, no matter if it was fully understood by others or if other people see our work in a different way than us, so no regret on that. Enjoy the lamp! : D


Anyone else getting “Invalid Invite” from Discord?

The invite code may have an expiration time limit. I’ll generate another link code and post back.

Fresh Discord invite link: ParserComp


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Thank you for all of the excellent feedback both here and on the Discord channel. I am diligently recording everything. Hopefully, as we proceed we will implement changes (or not) that will benefit the community to the best extent possible.

Fresh discord invite link: ParserComp

Invite links are only good for 7 days.

If you go to “Server Settings” and then “Invites”, you can set an invite to never expire, rather than needing to make new ones every seven days. (You can deactivate it later from that same page if it becomes a problem.)

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These all sound like positive changes to me. I appreciate the organizers’ efforts and the time that they’ve freely given.


The server is too new and/or has too few members. It will only allow 7 day invites. Custom invites are available for a fee. :wink: I guess they have to make money somehow?

This should be a permanent invite link with no expiration:

ParserComp Discord Server Invite

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An excellent attitude! But I do feel that the comp should promote creativity and experimentation like your game. There were perhaps other people who didn’t enter games because they didn’t fit in the box and didn’t have your confidence.


How about a separate entry category called “Out of the Box” for creative authors and innovation. I would really like to see how AI might fit in and possibly the new NPC conversation capability proposed for I7. ???


Separate but equal. Sounds “good”. What could be wrong? ⊙﹏⊙

Not separate but equal, a special place to promote “new and creative”.

In an educational setting it would be called gifted and talented (GT).

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Some impartial observations on ParserComp (impartial, as I don’t do competitions myself)…

ParserComp seems to have carved its own space in the competitions calendar, it has attracted a strong group of creators of interesting work, and has begun to build an audience of reviewers. By any measure, I think it has been quite successful.

Currently, ParserComp is another target to work towards, but not a exact duplication of any other competition. It is not just a second IFcomp.

At this point, ParserComp seems quite distinct, and aimed at a slightly different subset of creators than IFComp, which could be considered a strength and a quality that needs to be maintained.

ParserComp seems to be attractive to creators of puzzle-heavy IF and retro text adventures whose games might not get the chance to shine in other competitions. It seems important to continue to provide that outlet.

One of the challenge of increasing the diversity of games, to include the work in other niche sub-genres, is continuing to provide a level playing field where work is viewed in the appropriate context, is value equally, and is judged on the qualities it possesses rather than those it intentionally lacks by design.

Any competition, by its very nature, is divisive due to the act of being judged. A successful competition is always a balancing act, with some participants interested in rankings and prizes, and others who enter for feedback on their game and the ability to reach an audience. Creating additional categories, or award spaces, can help address some of the issues over comparative rankings, but it can also dilute the access to the total competition audience.


Very well said. Thank you.