Proposal for a new XYZZYAward

This is a proposal for a new XYZZYAward called Best Jokes or Best Humorous Game

Basically, it’s for the funniest game, which is obvious from the title.

So what do you think?

We have always had XYZZY categories for aspects of a game, not kinds of games. A funny game may win an award for good writing, a good story, or good characters. The same is true for a tragedy, a sci-fi game, etc.

It’s true that jokes might be an aspect of any game, but it seems like that falls under “writing”.

Well… I actually don’t think it would be such a bad idea to have different categories for different kinds of games. There are some elements of science fiction and fantasy that are incomparable to anything in non-speculative fiction – worldbuilding, mainly. The same could be said for wordplay and meta-puzzly games like Shuffling Around. I don’t think there is anything comparable to meta-narrative and word-scrambling puzzles in, say, slice-of-life or serious detective IF, not to mention science fiction. And both science fiction and wordplay are very popular in IF.

I do. The purpose of the XYZZYs has generally been to reward craft, not the satisfaction of particular tastes.

Personally, I think that one of the advantages of the IF community’s relatively small size is how it makes it harder to split by genre. Mainstream books, movies and videogames are horrendously genre-bound, mostly to their detriment. Yes, there are favoured styles within IF, but I wouldn’t want to institutionalise those preferences; if the community were to shift organically away from horror, say, in favour of historical fiction, I see no good reason for the XYZZYs to motivate (or demotivate) that shift.

Worldbuilding is covered by Setting. Sure, it’s a distinct skill within a particular subset of F/SF, but there are hundreds of such specialised skills in particular genres; I don’t see why it should be picked out any more than, say, Best Romantic Misunderstanding, Best Theological Analogy or Best Use of a Greek Chorus.

There have been about ten wordplay games in the modern era. Whether that counts as ‘very popular’ or not, less than one game a year is a very, very long way from being worth an award category on its own, even if we did want to do awards-by-genre. Not that wordplay games aren’t an established tradition within IF - it’s just that any subcategory of IF is going to be pretty small. Is noir a thing in IF? Yes, absolutely. But there are still years where only 0-1 noir games get made. And so on.

Not really a serious suggestion, but it would be funny for each year’s XYZZY Awards to also have a vote on an extremely specific category (such as those above) in which to have an award for the next year.