Quality of this year's competition

I have now played about 50 of the 55 games in the competition this year, and I just have to say that I am completely blown away.

For context, I have played every past IFComp winner, every XYZZY Best Game and 80% of the nominees for best game, and every game on the IFDB 50 Best Poll (except a few like Mentula Macanus).

I can easily say that this is the best IFComp lineup since 1998. As an author, I can’t call out specific games, but there are 6-8 games in this competition that are easily of the same quality or better then the comp winners of the last decade. There are some parser games that will be remembered for a long, long time, and the non-parser games in this competition are, in my opinion, better than any previous non-parser game written.

To me, it feels like (and some have said this openly) that many authors had been working on their magnum opus for months or years, and somehow they all happened to choose this comp to release them.

With 55 games, it may take a while to find a perfect gem, but the bar for games in this competition is pretty high.

Already?? Well, I’ve played 5 and you seem to be right, it does feel like a strong year, and rating them is hard.

So far I’ve only played two games, but of them, one is a very solid middle-of-the-road piece; the other is a game I hated, but mainly for reasons other than implementation, and even though there were serious issues there, you could at least tell the author gave a cuss. So yeah, I’m very hopeful about the rest of the competition.

You deserve some kind of endurance prize…how do you manage to play so many games in a fraction of the time span allowed?

Total Time Span = Time Span Allowed + Time Span Disallowed

So your mistake so far, Hanon, has been to not also play during the Time Span Disallowed.

Think about that!


I wanted to write summaries for the authors’ board, so I played most games with a walkthrough. Also, reading is my main hobby, so I have more time; when Harry Potter 5 came out, I stayed up all night and read it in one day. I love reading and watching stories of all kinds, so I’ve read all of Shakespeare’s plays 3 times, read a bunch of the greats like Les Miserables/Don Quixote/Faust in their original languages, watched a few dozen operas; but also a lot of free, amateur stuff: most of reddit’s highest rated NoSleep entries, the SCP foundation Wiki, etc.

Interactive fiction has been the best source of good stories I’ve found in a long, long time. And I’ve especially enjoyed this competition’s crop of stories. I wish I could call out specific games, but alas, I cannot.

Really? This is my first year judging IFComp in some time, and I’m disappointed. I don’t see a lot of good games. I’ve played about half the entries, and of those, about 10% were good, another 10% decent, and the rest lousy. So far only one or two games really impressed, and none are “WOW”.

But I’ll keep playing and keep my hopes up. Maybe my standards are just too high. (or to put that another way, maybe I’m being too picky.)


I’d be interested in hearing more feedback about different games. There is a discussion going on right now about what feedback authors are hoping for. A lot of them are saying that they don’t mind hearing negative feedback, but are especially interested in negative feeback of the form ‘“This game seemed like it missed (X)” or "I’d like to see (X) if possible.’ (that was Andrew Schultz’s comment). So if you see things that you’d like people to do different next year, there’s a lot of people willing to listen.

oh yes, I’m typing up comments for each game. I’m just waiting to splash them until I’ve played everything. Is it customary to do that feedback with a forum post?

Forum post or on a blog, though there’s no expectation that you wait to play every game before you put out feedback on the ones you have played. Sending feedback privately to authors is also generally okay.