Some (probably accidental) patterns in XYZZY best games

I’ve been going over all the past XYZZY games for a book I’m working on and I noticed some funny patterns.

For instance, three games in a row that won deal with mental illness and Christianity:
Slouching Towards Bedlam (which does include Judaism but also has the Logos).
Vespers
Blue Chairs

Four games in a row were set on islands/oceans:
Blue Lacuna
Aotearoa
Counterfeit Monkey
Coloruatura

The next one, 80 Days, had significant oceanic experiences.

This last one I’ve posted several times in several places, but I still think it’s funny:

1996 winner: Andrew Plotkin
1997 winner: Adam Cadre
1998 winner: Andrew Plotkin
1999 winner: Adam Cadre
2000 winner: Being Andrew Plotkin

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Anchorhead also has a church and a sanatorium, and ends with a coastal scene… there’s definitely something in this.

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Wasn’t there a significant detective pattern in the last IFComp, too?

And if we count in the non-IF fashion patterns like survival and zombies and planet Mars, what would be the perfect next game?

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Detectives and boats, yup!

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Someone needs to write a game called Being Adam Cadre urgently.

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And being a boat detective is a Grade A puzzle game setup, as seen in Return of the Obra Dinn. Mystery problem to solve in a self-contained space (see also islands, castles).

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The terraforming project has been sabotaged. Now the red planet is flooded. With water, life returns to long-petrified organisms, buried deep in an ancient alien sanitarium. As the lone survivor of a crashed starship – and a part-time hard-boiled detective – you’ll either solve the mystery behind the sabotage or join the undead Martians in their new aquatic cult (and you won’t like the initiation ritual). Your name: Andrewadam. Your curse: being two humans fused by a mishap with a transportation beam. Your mission: reach the planet’s highest point before the flood rises too high. Hoist sail for Olympus Mons, and watch your hunger meter!

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So good.

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There was actually a game in the Comp that crossed the streams too - Death on the Stormrider (admittedly it was an airship).

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Mental note: to win an XYZZY, I should be Andrew Plotkin and write a game titled Being Adam Cadre that works in Christianity and mental illness somehow and is set on an island. (History does suggest that being Andrew Plotkin is a fairly sound starting point for aspirations of writing award-worthy IF…)

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